wow. Today was a tough day racing!! I woke up at 5:30 AM very well rested. I had went to sleep at 8 PM the night before! had my pre-race oatmeal and blueberries with 2 cups of coffee, and headed on down the road to kingsport.
I arrived at bays mtn park about 7:15AM ( kinda on the early side) but that helps me with all my little pre-race preparations and mojo. I am VERY routine in getting my gear ready. I had decided to wear my nathan racing vest, and carry an anthropod hand held instead of my nathan pack. I was VERY torn about that decision because I really enjoy the security of a hydration pack:o) but I knew that this race was going to be fast and that I needed to not have all that weight to lug around. I was also very torn about which shoes to wear for this course but I decided upon my inov-8 talons and inov-8 gaiters instead of my brooks cascadia 4s ( which I LOVE LOVE LOVE I can't say enough GOOD things about the cascadia line) but for my first time running in the talons on technical terrain and for the distance I covered, I can say.. happily, my feet aren't sore... plantar fascia is HAPPY.. and I had NO trouble with rocks, roots or stumbling around in the talons.. haha RESPONSIVE SHOES.. it has tweaked my interest enough to want to try to roclites and mudrocs in that line..
I also wore my garmin for the first time since I was on vacation at the beach. ( am I boring yall yet?) I had gotten a SUUNTO Observer for my birthday, so I had just been wear that every time I went out to run and haven't really worried myself with my pace for awhile.. but the garmin was very useful today because I was always extremely curious about where I was on the course.
sprayed myself down with ben's deet, and slathered on toms blister shield and I was good to go! About the time I had finished all my race prep.. Rick and Tammy Grey pulled in! It was so great to get to visit with them and discuss the race, other upcoming races, shoes, gear.. Rick was doing a great job making me UN- nervous by jokingly pointing out that I was nervous.. I swear having such support and positive people around you like that before a race is spoiling me to death.. I have been so used to years of being by myself at a race, not knowing really anyone else, making small talk with strangers.. so the security of running races with my trail buddies has been such an added bonus for me. Then beth and JJ came YAY! THEN I saw my good friend Gill furr ( who I hadn't raced with in 2 yrs!) I was SOO happy to see him and Jim Bowers both. family reunion there in the parking lot. the gang was all assembled. the clock was nearing start time so we ambled on to the wolf habitat to start the race.
mark skelton the RD gave some quick directions and we were off! I felt great the first section going to the fire tower. It has alot of climbing on that section, but I knew if I could make it past the fire tower I had a LONG section of rolling hills/decline. The 2 leading females I stayed with until a steep uphill section then, I decided to let them go on because they were running up the steep inclines, I was only 2 miles into the race and decided that even though I felt good, I needed to conserve some. Then i ran ALOT of the race back and forth with Anna Kennedy. Anna is such an awesome person! I really enjoyed running with her today. She is one tough gal! I will get into her story towards the finish. but it was kinda taking a toll on me mentally to have let molly and allison go on ahead and then to be going back and forth with Anna. She is a strong runner and fast and I knew if I had to actually RACE anna.. I'd lose because her leg turn over is so much better than mine. so I was kinda at a low point trying to figure out HOW I was going to get through this race and do well.
After all the service road section I FINALLY got to turn onto some single track on Indian pipes trail and I LOVE that section it's SOO much fun to run.. I felt awesome on this part of the trail. it really didn't matter if I was in the middle of a race or what, it felt more like playing back in the woods when I was a little girl. Very fun section of trail. My mood was somewhat lifted and when I turned onto pretty ridge trail, I was feeling pretty good about how I was running, and decided to just enjoy myself and not worry so much about the race(I had already felt like I had blown it any ways)
THEN.. I ran upon allison and molly.. so I passed them KNOWING that i was going to have to haul it or they would catch me on the lake road coming up.. I knew I at least had to TRY!! THEN I passed anna who I noticed had fallen.. but was in good spirits laughing and talking.. running strong..
so by the end of pretty ridge trail, I was in the lead!! You would of thought this would of motivated me to get my hind end in gear. I tried, but on the lake road here come allison and molly..they blew by me, then going up the hill at mile 10 another girl passed me( she seemed very cool and I gave her a BIG high 5 at the finish for kicking so much butt!) so all the air was let out of my balloon. I was mad at myself for not trying harder.. I just was very non-competitive.. or very tired.. maybe both...I was struggling a little.. drinking water. eating.. (I had taken motrin and a S! cap at mile 8.) I think I was just really starting to get tired.. and Anna caught me but we were running together just trying to pace off each other .. but at mile 12 on lake side trail she let me pass.. I felt like ANY moment though she'd come running down the trail and pass me since we were so close to the end..
SO I just tried to focus on finishing and was at the dam and running back through the animal habitats before I knew it. I finished in 2:31:29. I was 4th overall female and ended up winning my age group.
Anna finished a couple minutes behind me as soon as she finished did I realize that she had dislocated her shoulder when she fell and she got someone to help her pop it back into place! I had ran with her all that time and she never complained! kuddos to her for finishing hard and never giving up!! what a tough runner!!
some observations about today: I still have alot to learn about trail racing.. I think I have the hydrating and eating part down fairly well. I think I just need to get tougher.. I should of ran harder rather than giving up my race positions so easily. Need more trail training runs. so I can get stronger!! meaner!! :o)I just had so much extreme highs and lows during the course of this race, and my focus wasn't what it should of been. So i can chalk that one up to experience!