WOW! That was one hard course, extra long and the weather was way warmer than what we are used to running so far this year!!!
I drove down Friday with Carl and Sarah and then we met up with Mark, Wendy and her mother for dinner at Carrabba's for a pre-race meal. We all left there completely stuffed and went back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.
Race morning we all got up and prepared ourselves a small breakfast in our room. Then we jetted over to the race start. It was cool out (at least for me and Sarah... Carl didn't think it was cool at all), but I figured running in shorts and a sleeveless top would serve me well since the temperatures would climb steadily during the day. I put my Rock/Creek race hat on and I was ready to roll.
We all stood around holding our ears waiting on the race director to fire a cannon for one LOUD start. At last... the cannon fired and we were off!! We ran along an asphalt road for what seemed to be nearly 2 miles and were then dumped onto nice single track trail. My legs were thankful to see the trail.... I run trails so I don't have to pound the pavement... LOL! We then ran along the creek for quite a ways and meandered in and out of the forest until we encountered the dreadful powerline trails. Sarah and I were together for most all of the first lap of this until nature started calling for her. In between the first and second lap there were two creek crossings and a little 2 mile loop. The creek crossings were rope assisted as the creek was flowing very swiftly. As I was coming off the 2 mile loop a gal named Jenna had caught me. We crossed the creek together and then proceeded to run together for the rest of the race for the most part. I really did enjoy her company and chatting with her took my mind off of the pain my body was going through. I think we helped each other during this race in some crazy way.
Jenna and I both shared our dislike for the powerline trails and agreed that our legs were pretty much trashed. At one point I had drained my Ultimate Direction race pack for the second time and Jenna was nice enough to let me have some of her water (thanks again for that Jenna). When we arrived at the top of the last bad climb we both were desperate for water and I milled around a bit longer here for some ice to put inside my hydration pack. On my way to the next aid station... I saw Rock/Creek teammate Sal walking and I knew something must be the matter. He said he wasn't feeling well and was thinking about dropping. I told him that he had gotten this far and he miswell finish it up. Jenna had gotten ahead by a bit, but I caught up to her just after the next aid station. I didn't want to see her go since she had kept my mind off all the pain I was going through out there. Once I reeled her back in... I told her I was thankful to have caught her since I needed her company and enjoyed the chatting. Not long after this we saw my friend Sarah on the out and back segment. I was glad to see that she had made up a lot of time despite her numerous and unwanted bathroom breaks on the trail.
We ran 90% of the rest of the race together until the very end... Jenna had taken a nasty spill over some roots and went flying into the air with a "thud" onto the ground. I stopped and picked up her water bottle and said "come on... you've come this far and we are gonna finish this thing strong". She insisted that I run ahead and that she'd shake it off and be right up there. I reluctantly went on and hoped she be right behind me. The finish line seemed like it would never come. I kept thinking... this seems WAY longer than 50K. Where is the freaking finish line?!!! And finally... up a hill and around the corner was the long awaited finish line and Jenna was just behind me! I was so glad to see her and so glad to be done that I hugged her neck when she came in! We were both glad THAT race was over and not at all surprised to find out that the race was something like 3 miles long!!!
Shortly after finishing the race... I heard my name announced over the speaker. I could not understand what they said, but a man came up to me and handed me a mug that said 3rd Place Woman! WOW.... what a nice surprise! I felt like I needed to share this mug with Jenna since we had commiserated together and pulled each other through most of the race.
After settling down and taking off the shoes to let the feet air out.... I waited around for my other friends to finish. First came in Sarah, next Mark, Sal, Carl and then a very chipper Wendy. Wendy's mother had decided she'd run as much of the course as she could while we were all out there and ended up running 11 miles! WOW... no wonder Wendy is so strong and determined! She comes from a very strong woman!
Congrats to all my friends who did this race! It was tough!
(Christian is resting after the race)
(Mark takes a "shower" in the parking lot after the race)