I started out pretty conservatively; at least, I meant to. Ran with Sam the first mile or two before she started picking off people. It was good to chat with her - it's been awhile! I took a fall pretty early on too (mile 2 or so). Landed on my left knee (drew some blood that I noticed after the race) and hands (water bottle), but hopped up and kept the pace going. 1st aid station at mile 4.75 (42:00 minutes) and there was finally a break in the long cascade of runners ahead/behind me. I skipped the first water stop and kept going on a straight path up to the radio tower. 2-3 runners ahead of me and a couple a little behind me. Up until this point, the course was gently rolling, with maybe only one section to power hike. I had heard the first 3-4 miles were the toughest and that was accurate. The 2nd half was certainly easier.
So I took my Gu and kept a steady pace as Marty passed me and continued motoring on ahead. A sharp left at the tower and a nice downhill headed towards Johnson Lake (pretty much completely dried up, but I bet would have been beautiful). I was running with a group of people thru here. One obviously knew the course and frequently called out obstacles: root, rock, horse (manure). Another had a watch that beeped every 2-3 steps. I didn't want to let him pass and I wasn't up for speeding up, so I listened to that on and off for 3-4 miles. Ugh. Not ideal for being out in the woods on a trail run. My breathing wasn't labored at all and I felt good. Still surprised at myself for my hill running thru here, even with a short break or three. There was one real water crossing. Can't remember exactly where on the course, but after landing on the first rock with my left foot (and thankful it was Not slippery), I put my right foot right in - maybe ankle deep. After 1-2 minutes - I thought nothing more of it.
Little uphill (power hiked just a bit) to aid station 2 at mile 8.11; 1:11:00 overall.
Filled my water bottle and off into the sun for a section, before heading for the last 4 miles. I ran near/with this one girl for most of miles 8-12. Her 1st trail race (run?) and didn't want to be out there alone as it was just us for a couple of miles. She was pretty strong and stayed right behind me. We started seeing people ahead of us, including Marty, whom we eventually caught up to. I had three good rock incidents that I almost fell at, and all three hurt much worse than the fall. The last one at ~mile 12 almost made me stop. We ran along the winding path, up and down (mostly downs).
So I ran thru Aid Station 3 at 11.53 miles in 1:44:30, and Marty tucked in behind me. Didn't think at this point under 2 hours was likely, but I had No idea of distances for any of the race - just that there was water/Gatorade at around 4, 8 and 11. Still moving well with another mile or two to go and I get a side stitch. Ran thru it and had another guy behind me pushing me along all the way to the finish. I did not want to get passed at this point, so after one short hike for the both of us, we knew the finish wasn't to far (2 minutes said the volunteer). Once I saw the finish thru the trees, I ramped it up and cruised thru the line in 2:03:43. Marty was right behind me. Sam finished just under 2 hours, Kathryn in at 2:30 and Jason finished with his wife Beth (finishing her 1st Trail 1/2) in 2:56 or so!! Byron - ? but I am sure faster than any of us by a decent amount! Talked to all of them at the finish and it was nice hanging out (and being the only one of us who stayed without being raffle winner - Blah!). Byron gave some advice on ultras, Sam boosted my confidence about the difficulty of the Chattooga 50k (not sure how to compare that to other 50k's out there). Always good seeing the others.
So I feel good about registering for the Harbison 50k in January where I'll see some familiar faces. Time to start ramping up the mileage!
PS-Good luck to Team DNR in the HOPE Relay (42miles) in Greenville today!
|Kathrin finishing. Read her race report: HERE!|
|State Park Entrance|
|Marty, Kathrin and Me|