Sunday, May 24

scenic city trail marathon report

Now that the countdown to Tahoe gets closer, it's time to indulge in some longer runs. Up till now, I've done a few 2.5-3 hr runs with my ankle reacting favorably. Fingers crossed it would go the distance in the marathon.

A little about the race... This is the 3rd year we've held it, although it was in a different location the first year (Possum Creek Gorge segment of the Cumberland Trail - gorgeous trail, but more of a scramble than run in some places and aid stations weren't easy to set up). Now it's at Raccoon Mountain, a favorite mountain bike spot for me; it's definitely weird to run somewhere that you love to bike - just not the same experience :) But a great location for a race. The half'ers did 1 loop, while those running the full did 2. Can I tell you that I'm just not a fan of multiple loop courses? It messes with your brain... Oh you're at the finish line. but HA, you have to go out and do another loop!

OK, back to race day.
I started near the front to get a decent position going onto the singletrack (there was a few minutes of road running to spread people out before dipping into the woods). Once on the trail, it was your typical early race backup.... a long line of runners ahead and behind. A few people chose to pass, but most just hung out as the pack naturally disintegrated.

There's really not that much to say about the next few hours... my heart rate was too high for the first 45 min or so and it was hard to get it down, but that seems to be the norm for me. The terrain is pretty varied. 90% hardpacked singletrack I'd say, with a few real rocky areas. In general though, it is very runnable. You wind through open areas with grasses to your shoulder, pine forests, hardwoods, blooming mountain laurel, with the occasional view of the Tennessee River Gorge. It seems at most points you're either going up or down, but most of the climbs were relatively short. The first half was much more social - twice as many folks were running the half, so there were plenty of people around to chat with. I ran with a guy from Steamboat for awhile - and he knew my uncle. Small world!

After the rock sidewalk by the dam, the 2 distances split up - the second loop was pretty quiet and all but void of people. I turned on the Shuffle to jam a bit (a little Disturbed always makes the hillclimbs a bit easier!) After the final aid station (manned by teammates Wendi & Jamie Dial - always nice to have familiar faces cheering you on), we had about 2 miles to go. Thank god... my body was feeling it. I had tripped earlier, causing a muscle cramp in my right calf that never seemed to fully let go. My left ankle was hurting - same spot as the previous "injury" that was never diagnosed, and the top of that foot seemed to want to cramp up too (weird spot!) I was persevering the pain.. when out of nowhere a girl with too much late race energy passed by me. Dang! There was only a mile to go, but at this point I had nothing in the reserves to chase with.

The race ended with me officially in 6th* place in the women's field, with a time of 4:27:09 (a trail marathon PR!) (*or should I say 7th... Jaclyn and a group of guys took a wrong turn to the finish, causing her to be DQ'd. She led start to finish and would surely have been our winner...). After crossing the finish line, my body seemed to know it was quitting time. I sat down, stuck my foot in a bag of ice (thanks to stephanie & dawson for warm clothes needed to combat my resulting shivers), then had my calves worked on by Dee at Archer Physical Therapy. Then refueling time with yummy grilled Boca burgers at the post-race cookout.

Of course we had re-fueling #2 that night at the Terminal - their Oatmeal Stout does wonders for sore bodies :) We also caught up with a few people in town for the race from Boulder. It was great to get an insiders view of the trail running community there... and more contacts for my next visit west!

Race day gear:
Patagonia top & shorts
Smartwool socks
Vasque Velocity shoes
Nathan hydration vest
Nuun, Cliff Shot Bloks, Hammer Gel & Endurolytes
Fresh oranges... mmmm!

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Anonymous Eric said...

Congrats on the PR. Amanda and I had fun visiting the 'noog. Give us a holler anytime you're Boulder.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Lorna said...

Congrats on the race and nice job on the race report.

8:14 AM  

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