Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cumberland Trail 50k... Not My Day...

Last year I did the Cumberland Trail 50K http://www.cumberlandtrailraces.com/CumberlandTrail50k/HOME.html and fell in love with the beautiful trails up there. I swore I'd do it again this year... so I registered for the race.

Trey and I went up the night before and stayed in Knoxville so we could visit with our friends Michelle and Alan. We would wake early the next morning to drive up to the race site some 30-40 minutes away. After the race we would head up to the Smokies for some hiking adventures and family time.

Race Morning-

The race starts in the dark and a headlamp is required for the first 40 minutes or so. I started up front with Sarah Woerner and Sally Brooking thinking I would hang onto them for a bit and hopefully on the climb that would come all too soon. We ran a good pace all the way to the base of the climb and then when we started going up.... I lost sight of them pretty quickly. I couldn't understand what was wrong with me... I had no energy, my heels were jacked up again and my overall attitude was poor. The climb is LONG and HARD and STEEP and the more elevation I gained... the slower I got. I decided at the 3rd aid station that was it for me and pulled myself out of the race. Obviously... not my day and my body was trying to tell me something.

Once arriving to the 3rd aid station I told volunteers I was quiting the race. Most of them thought I was kidding, but it didn't take them long to figure out that I wasn't kidding at all. Susan Donnelly (the race director and multiple 100 mile finisher) told me I could ride around with her and eventually we'd make our way back to the finish. This was fine with me since Trey and Xian were off to spot Elk and nowhere near the race site.

Susan and I drove from aid station to aid station along the course and it allowed me to see some of my friends running the race. It was actually fun spectating for once! I saw Sarah tearing up the course and she would eventually take the lead for a 1st place female finish. Other friends along the course were Mark Mason, Sal Coll and Wendy Oates. Eventually we made our way back to the finish where I called Trey to come get me. I was able to see the first 3 men come in before Trey got there. Once Trey arrived.... we got on the road and headed for our next adventure... The Great Smoky Mountains.

The next couple of days we spent doing some hiking... including a trip to Mount LeConte. It was so much fun to spend time with my precious family doing something we all love.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stump Jump 50K

Stump Jump 50K http://www.rockcreek.com/stumpjump/default.asp is a race right here in my own back yard... how could I pass it up? Not only is it one of the most technical and harder 50k's around... it also features some of the most breath taking views you'll ever see during an ultra distance race.

Trey and I started the race together and ran a strong pace out of the gate. We ran up on our friend Brian about 3-4 miles in and yo-yoed back and forth with him until Snooper's Rock. At Snooper's Rock I kept running the same pace, but Trey said he was going to back off. He just didn't "feel it" during the race. I kept waiting on Brian to appear again, but he did not. I rolled through the Haley Road aid station only to stop for a quick refill of water in my pack and then ran thru the Mullen's Cove aid station only to drop down to the Indian Rock House in less than a mile. I was hoping that I wouldn't need to refill again. Finally after making it back across Suck Creek Road and then to Mushroom Rock... my pack was bone dry and I was bonking hard. I stopped for a water refill and saw teammate Sal Coll volunteering. He knew I wasn't feeling well and decided to run it back in with me. That last 3 miles seemed like 10!!! Finally the finish line appeared after a short trek on some asphalt. It was so nice to be done!! Immediately upon finishing... I saw Trey. Crap... he dropped! It didn't seem to bother him though... so I was happy he wasn't upset about it. Sometimes we have days like this. It is inevitable that it happens to us all at some point. After sitting around for a bit... we saw Brian finish and he looked good. He too was surprised Trey had dropped, but knew he had not been feeling well.

I ended up nabbing 7th overall female out of a solid field of women competitors and beating my time from the previous year by 8 minutes.

After talking with fellow runners.... Dee Martin of Archer Physical Therapy http://www.archerpt.com/ took a look at the backs of my ankles and ended up taping my right one. This may sound crazy..., but I think it actually helped!

Stump Jump 50k is likely an event that I will continue to do year after year simply because it is on some of the best trails around!