Monthly Archives: April 2014

Race Recap: Scenic City Trail Marathon and 1/2 Marathon

Cutoff Times
We have had significant problems in past with the fast runners catching and passing the back of the pack. In order to resolve this problem we must strictly enforce the following cutoff times. If you cannot maintain a 12 minute per mile pace for the first 12 miles, please do not sign up for this race.

I did not read this precursor before the race, and I am not a comfortable 12:00 min/mile trail runner. I am most comfortable at 13:00 min/mile. I did know that there was a 5 hour 30 min time limit on the course (not sure why I was not able to compute the math). I just thought, “Trail marathon? Sounds fun. Chattanooga? It’s close. Just ran 50 miles? I don’t have to do any extra training. So. . . here it goes. . .

The temp at the start of the race was 58 degrees. The high on race day was 83 degrees. I knew it would be warm, but there was no humidity and a cool breeze from time to time. It was hotter than I expected and that might have been a factor, toward the end of the race. But again, it is how you choose to think about it. I was not worried about the temp or hydration or what to wear. I told myself that the temp would not feel overwhelming and that I could run well in any temp.

How did my new stuff fare? I was very happy with my new tank and shorts from Oiselle. Both will continue to be favorites for  many more miles to come. (Check out Oiselle and contact me with questions on size or style.) I loved my Amphipod handheld. I would not use it for a road race, but I will use it for my trail runs. My Nike Kiger’s were good. I have been sold on them for my training runs. This is the first time I have worn them for a race and for a distance over 14 miles.

There are two things that I like a lot about the races sponsored by Rock/Creek, the aid stations are well spaced/plentiful and the hamburgers at the end are awesome! There were 98 runners in the marathon, 17 women, 81 men. There were 193 people running the 1/2 marathon. So, about 300 people running together on single track for at least 12 miles. Only 300 people running St. Jude Nashville, would be glorious. 300 people on single track trail, needing to maintain, at least, a 12 minute mile means, find your spot, don’t trip, don’t stop and don’t slow down. Your pace will be set by the crowd.

My concern in this race was not, “will I be able to pass the slow runners/walkers”, but “how long can I run at this speed?” HA!! That kind of made it fun. There was barely any walking for the first 12 miles. Once the 1/2 marathoners split from the full marathoners, it became more of what I am used to. I am used to having space, quiet out on the trail in races. You can run with others, if you want, but you can also ‘find your spot’ without anyone to talk to. As one of my training partners, Kathy, can attest to, you DO NOT want to be in front of, or behind, a “negative Nelly”. It will suck the life out of every mile. I was in front of a woman early who proceeded to tell me all the “difficult” (in her perception) parts that I needed to be ready for in the miles ahead. Thank goodness, I was able to shake her.

I really liked the course. It was not flat. There were moderate climbs. There were also some great, long descents that were not too steep and very runnable. I looked forward to these places. I also did not think the course was that technical. It was not muddy or wet at all. There were no rivers to wade, mud walls to scale or ropes to climb down. It was pretty cut and dry. I loved the cool tree covered trail and I enjoyed the moments without the trees, near some awesome rock formations.

I’m not sure that I did my nutrition well. Toward the end, I did not want any more food and my stomach was a bit unsettled. I ate the food at the aid stations, and I had two gels of my own. I do not think that I ate enough. I only took in one 20 oz serving of Perpetuem. I think I should have had more, at least one more serving. I also drank Heed the entire time. I may have only had one 20 oz serving of water. I was well hydrated, but I do not know if I had enough sodium. In hind sight, two more gels and one more serving of Perpetuem might have helped my stomach, toward the end. I will also comment that I did wear my fuel belt, because I knew the temp would be in the 80s. My fuel belt holds two (10 oz) bottles. If I needed it, I would have a total of 36 oz of liquid. There were two spots between aid stations that were 5 miles apart. I did need my handheld, plus one 10 oz bottle for these times. If it were cooler, I would have been fine with just one 16 oz handheld.

The finish did not come soon enough. I really did not have too many walk breaks in the first half of the race. In the second half, I had more time on my own and more walk breaks and I STILL finished with an average pace of 11:55. I finished in 5 hours 12 minutes. I was the last female to finish. 🙂 I was thrilled to have this average pace for 26.2 miles. To put it in perspective, for those of you who run 50K’s or follow my finishing times via this blog, I would have had 5 miles to go in a 50K and could have finished that in about 1 more hour and 10 minutes. This was the fastest race that I have ever run on the trail. Definitely, the fastest starting pace to any race I have run. I knew this would be fast ahead of time, and I am glad I went along for the ride.

Friends!! I finished this race in first place in my age category. I was the only woman in my age category, but I get a prize!! I think that I am proud to have this race in my history because it was tough and I gave it a go. AND, because I joined 16 other women to run this heavily male dominated set of competitors. 🙂

(SIGH) I am happy. I am happy to have run a 50K, with a PR the second week of March. I am happy to have run a 50 mile race at the end of March, and this race at the end of April. This is a dream for me. I love these opportunities to experience the sensations of trail running. I love the opportunity to be every bit of who God has for me to be. Just contented. . . As always, thanks for following me. I hope that a tiny bit of my passion, stirs in you a desire to do more than you think you can. YOU can do the things you dream of doing.


50 miler: The After

So, it has been approximately 27 days, since my 50 mile race. Really, Who’s counting?! ME! Who’s dying to do another?! ME!!

The Monday following the race was my most sore, most tight muscle day. My biggest trouble zone was my left piriformis. After a few days of the pigeon pose, I was good. After Monday, I was scouring the Internet for ANOTHER 50-miler. I cannot believe that I was so intent on another. The good news is there was not another one so close, because it was my adrenaline talking. I DO want to run another 50, but my endocrine system needs to get back to normal, after the training and racing.

The first week after: I took off for 2 solid days after my race. I focused on resting, napping, drinking plenty of water and eating well. For the rest of that week, I went to the gym and rode the stationary bike and did only upper body free weights, every other day.

The second week after: I ran a total of 35.7 miles (long run was 13.2 on the trail). I went to the gym 4 days, and I still only did upper body weights. I rode the stationary bike for 2 of those 4 gym days.

The third week after: I ran a total of 38.5 miles (long run was 13.2 on the trail). Went to the gym twice and went back to my old leg routine. Oh, and I signed up for a trail marathon!

The fourth week: TAPER!! My total mileage this week before my marathon on Saturday was 14.5. I went to the gym only one day. Part of mile running miles this week were on the track. I missed it. I ran 3 x 1 mile repeats (7:48, 7:58, 7:58).

I will be running the Scenic City Marathon in Chattanooga put on by Rock/Creek. We will be running on Raccoon Mountain in Chatty. I think the thing that I like about the Rock/Creek races is that they usually have plenty of aid stations!! This will be nice because I will be testing out my new handheld water bottle. I bought an amphipod hydraform handheld, in 16 oz.  I think I will also bring my fuel belt, just in case. In case Todd Lee is reading this, I will be wearing my new Oiselle Winona tank. Girls!! This is so soft. Worth giving it a try. Oiselle describes it with a “micro cashmere feel”. I agree. I am also wearing my new favorite shorts by Oiselle. Their “roga” shorts. For the first time too, my new Nike Kiger’s. Trail runners need to check these out. I ditched my Hoka’s after a few months of wear. I’m planning on relying heavily on Scenic City’s aid station fare, less for me to carry. 🙂

Okay, you know to look for my race recap. 🙂 I cannot wait to tell you how the Kiger’s do and how I like my handheld. I love to answer questions and I love to read your comments! Have a great weekend runners and racers: Caitlin, Jeremy, Jennifer, Todd, Kay, Stacie, Amy, Ryan, Judith, Reuben, me, to name several.


Lake Martin 100 Race Recap, Part 2: “The Guts”

Moving toward race day from Black Warrior on February 15, 2014 was an interesting one. I ran that race and set a PR for my 50K time by almost an hour. From that day, I went into a ‘funk’ for about two weeks. So much negative fear that my running partner, Kathy, almost had to say, “enough”.

I just did not think I could run 50 miles. I did not know what was going to happen, but I did not think I would finish. I started to get annoyed by myself.  So, I said, “enough”. From that point on, I was not going to put anymore negative words into my head. This was not a “la la la, only say nice things”. It was more like, “You WILL finish. You WILL finish.” In addition to the specific words of affirmation, I visualized myself at the finish, running in, over and over. The truth was that I was completely prepared, and I needed to communicate that to my head. I had to close my eyes each day and see myself running across the finish line, after 50 miles. The power of positive affirmation and visualization cannot be matched.

March 29, 2014: Lightening and thunder at 4:30 am. I was up at 4:45 am, making coffee, drinking water and eating a bagel with peanut butter and honey. The rain was steady, as we drove to the start. Excited, ready and chatty, time to start! The race started without a lot of fan fare at 6:30 am.

There were two aid stations set up on the course. We would run two 25 mile loops. Within those 25 mile loops, you would hit each aid station twice. So, each 25 miles had 4 aid stops. (Imagine a four leafed clover, with two dots across from one another in the middle.) The first leg went from miles 0-8.5. The second section went from miles 8.5 to 13.0. The third section went from miles 13-18, and the final section went from miles 18-25. (These are all approximate. I may be off by a mile or two per station.)

Any first time 50 mile runner knows to walk the hills, especially in the beginning. The description of this race was “rolling” hills. There were some “rolling” hills, but there were plenty of hills that were at least 250-400 feet up. This would not be bad for a 5 mile run. For a 50 mile run, this is tough. Now, add mud and creek crossings. The weather was perfect. It was in the 60s with cloud cover and brief period of rain. The mud was the worst on sections one and four. The most runnable section and my favorite section was section four. The aid stations were staffed with great people and great food, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, dark chocolate m & m’s, salt and vinegar chips, gels, granola bars, water and Heed.

My goal was to keep a smile on my face and to keep moving, Relentless Forward Progress, right?  This did not get tough until miles 34-42. My lower back was hurting. My legs were hurting. I was complaining about the mud. I told myself to keep moving forward and stop complaining about the mud. I could not wait to get to the last aid station stop before the finish line. I was planning on taking my vest off and putting on my fuel belt. I reached mile 42.5, put my fuel belt on and took off. It was a whole different feel. My back felt better. My legs felt better and I ran almost all of the last 7.5. I wish I would have put my fuel belt on sooner. There were tears coming here and there, when I thought of my family being at the end. I ran up the hills and I ran down the hills for this last 7.5 miles. It was a great feeling to cross the line. 🙂

To me, 50 miles is not harder than 50K. It is just different. This year, I completed my third 50K. I have been running trails now for 3 years. Black Warrior taught that I do not have to start out slow anymore for 50K. Now, 50 miles took me back to my first 50K. I knew that I had to start out slow, if I wanted to finish well. I finished well. It took me 12 hours and 36 minutes.

I’m starting to think about my next 50 mile race. How can I change my time with out speeding up too much? For my next, I will not stay as long at each aid station. Guys, think about it, if I stayed at each aid station 5 minutes, that equals 40 minutes. It does not mean do not stop, but I could plan on only stopping at 1/2 the stations for 5 minutes. Also, I could have run more hills in the beginning. I was running up hills in the end. It felt good to run uphill. If I had the energy and power to do that for miles 43-50, then, I could have done more in the first 43 miles. I also want to work out this whole “vest/pack thing”. I am going to experiment in a 50K with a hand held and a fuel belt.

Overall this was a great race. I cannot say enough about the trail running community. I love these small races. They bring out some GREAT people, volunteers, race directors and runners. I would run Lake Martin again, and I would recommend this race!

I would love to answer your questions! I would also love to hear your comments, your races, your fears.




Lake Martin 100 Race Recap, Part I: Food and Facts

Here are the food and the facts. I will talk more about race itself in Part 2.

Hardest stretch: miles 34-42

Changed from AK Ultimate Direction pack to my fuel belt for the last 7 miles. I should have done that A LOT sooner.

Changed shoes and socks at mile 32, felt nice.

During the race I ate:

  • two large tortillas with nutella
  • 4-5 gels (this is a lot less than usual)
  • 4 (18 oz.) servings of Hammer Perpetuem (at approximately 300 calories per 18 oz.)
  • 2 (20 oz.) bottles of Hammer Heed
  • 6 (20 oz.) containers of water (you are supposed to drink the same amount of water and perpetuem, when you drink the perpetuem.)
  • 1 whole peanut butter and jelly
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate m & m’s
  • 1 kind bar
  • 4 ibuprofen
  • 8 Hammer endurolyte capsules

After the race I ate:

  • 2 quesadilla triangles
  • 1 cup of salty potato chips
  • 3 chocolate chip cookies
  • 1/2 can of diet coke
  • 3 pieces of pizza
  • 2 bread sticks
  • ice cream
  • 2 ibuprofen

I was not anymore sore than running a 50K

I was sore in different places, top of feet, shoulders, arms and chest

My favorite fact? My SUUNTO AMBIT 2 went the entire time without running out of battery power, AND it had 48% power left, when I was finished. If you are an avid trail racer or want to continue running trails, for the most part, the watch is worth EVERY penny. I love, love, love it. You will not be disappointed.

I wore my Oiselle duds! I had on a Oiselle sport’s bra, Oiselle shorts and a Oiselle tank.

I had on my Swiftwick socks the entire time.

I wore my Montrail Bajadas for miles 0-32. I changed to my Hoka Kailua‘s for miles 32-50.