Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mystery Mountain Trail Marathon

On October 9th I lined up for my second Mystery Mountain Marathon Trail Race. This race was 1 week post Stump Jump 50k for me and I wasn't sure how the legs would fare, but eh... what the heck... it's always fun to run on Fort Mountain. The trail and views alone were worth the hour drive there!

Like I said before... I didn't know what to expect out of myself since obviously my body would not be functioning at 100% with a 50k just one week earlier... so I decided to run at a comfortable pace and reaccess somewhere around the half way point. The race starts going around a small lake and allows for runners to jockey for their spot before hitting the true single track trail. I settled in nicely here and found myself running very steady and breathing wasn't too labored. With the exception of a few hills here and there... I was able to keep this same steady pace up until about mile 12. Here you are greeted by a manned aid station and a hideous power line trail that seems like you are going straight to the moon. I would jog and walk until jogging wasn't feasible anymore before finally reaching the top! Once at the top... I was happy to be able to bomb down the technical downhill which would drop us back onto the beautiful single track again.

Somewhere around the halfway point I decided that I would pick up the pace a bit and hold strong until the next big climb. The next climb was far more technical and much longer than that first climb up the power line. It seems like it was 3 miles or so. I remembered the climb from 2008 and knew that it was just best to suck it up and keep moving no matter what. Here I would catch a couple of guys and chat till the top. One of the guys (Jeremy Orr) actually was from Ringgold, GA and lived in Atlanta currently. What a small world. Turns out we knew some of the same people. I would run the rest of the race with him until hitting the lake on the return to the finish line.

Once we passed the last aid station after the descent of the power line I mustered up enough strength to push the pace a bit and bring it on in. I couldn't have been happier to see that finish line! If you are looking for a marathon distance race to test your endurance and push yourself to the next level... sign-up for this one. It will not disappoint!

1st female and 25th overall with a time of 5:19

*course was actually over a mile longer than the 2008 course

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Stump Jump 50k

October 1st I lined up for one of my favorite local races... The Stump Jump 50k Trail Race. It is hard to pass up since we run on these trails for training runs all the time. They are also some of the most beautiful trails in the area that provide many scenic overlooks that you can glance over and see as you are running. Spectacular views of the Gorge and Tennessee River will make most anyone running the race appreciate all that Chattanooga has to offer.

Today I would run with my friend Michael Emerling. We had run the trails on the 50k route many times in preparation for the race along with a few of our running companions. Ramping up for the race we encountered heat, humidity, downed trees and bees! All of these seem to play a factor on race day... so we felt as if we were prepared for whatever the day might bring.

The first half of the race went pretty well and we were able to build a nice cushion as we were ahead of our goal time. We really wanted to break 6 hours and up until around mile 20-21 we were on target for around a 5:40. Of course I knew that once we returned to Mushroom Rock that we would have to run the dreaded gravel loop which always seems to suck the life out of me mentally and physically. This is where much time was lost, but we were able to cross the finish line in 5:59. Good enough for us and Michael was stoked as it was his first 50k distance race EVER!

Congrats to Michael on a strong race! It was really nice having someone out there to share the pain with!

6th female and 66th overall out of 374 runners with a time of 5:59