Race Recap: Cumberland Plateau Stage Race: More FUN than RUN

I’ll be back in 2016 because:

  1. The tank
  2. Close to home, 2 hours 12 min., same time zone as Nashville
  3. The people
  4. It’s a Hardwin race-c’mon!

We arrived at 1:30 pm and checked in. I am beginning to love the Hardwin races. You are guaranteed adventure, hills and the potential for a bit of danger, snakes? Wild Boars? CPSR did not disappoint. After check in, we met at our cabin, me, Stacie, Kathy and Delaina. We hugged, talked, chose our rooms and dressed to run.

You had one of 3 choices for the CPSR. You could run all 3 days. You could run Saturday only. You could form a team of 3 and split up each day’s running. I chose to run Friday and Saturday.

The mess hall is where most of the action is when you are not running. This was where we met before each start and this is where you finish. It was fun finishing at the mess hall because everyone was either eating or hanging out. It was awesome to finish to the cheers of all your friends, new and old!

Day 1: Friday, 4 pm, 13 miles

We met at the mess hall at 3:30 pm to walk together to the start. John lead us in the runner’s oath. Right hand raised. . . “push myself”. . . “look out for my fellow runner”. . . “respect the land my feet run on”. We were off. I ran with Stacie for the entire 13 miles. I’m not gonna lie, this was a tough 13. I do not think my body was as prepared to run at 4 pm as it is to run in the early morning. If Stacie did not stick with me, I’m not sure I would have finished in 3h 10 min. This course was a good mix of running, mud, rolling hills, steep decants, steep ascent, sand and a gradual downhill. We did it! The Dr. Pepper at the end was SO GOOD!

dinner: spaghetti, texas toast, salad bar and chocolate cake

We left the mess hall around 9 pm after all four of us finished racing, eating and talking. I stayed up until about 11:00 pm, catching up on life, outside of running, with these ladies. We laugh A LOT. (It was hard not to smile all weekend.)

Day 2: Saturday, 8 am, 20 miles

We were up by 6:30. I woke up to the smell of coffee (seriously–image the Christmas Foldier’s commercial). Yum! I had coffee and oatmeal. We filled our packs, dressed and headed to the start.

I was not looking forward to this day because Friday didn’t feel that great. My body felt good and I knew I would be on the trail for the next 5 hours. I started out with Stacie and we hung together in the beginning, with a few ladies from yesterday.

I decided to push my pace a bit. I passed the ladies from yesterday and chose to lengthen my distance. Stacie stayed back and I ran this day by myself. I felt good. This day was tough and I loved the challenge. Some of the decants and ascents rivaled Zion 100K (I could have trained here). They were crazy steep 🙂 Man! The ascent from miles 5-6.5,  super steep! What went down, did come up! The first 11 miles were long jogs down and long hikes up.

The views from the top started around mile 11. It was also warmer up on top of the plateau. The breeze felt fantastic. I was drinking well and eating well. Miles 10-15 went by quickly. I did not really stop at any aid station, just grabbed refills and pressed on. I ditched my pack at the mile 15ish aid station. I ran the rest of the race with two bottles and one gel. This last section involved a lot of running on the sand. It was hot, we were exposed and the sun reflected off of the sand. The last mile was back in the trees and out of the sand. A gradual downhill to the slip & slide finish. I chose not to slip & slide. I finished the entire race without injury and I did not want to risk an injury, sliding into the finish.  I finished in 4 h 32 min, 2800′-DANG! LOVED EVERY MINUTE.

lunch: burgers & 2 pieces of Gail’s peanut butter bars

Day 1ate: water, heed, peanut butter crackers, sweet potatoes, peanut m-n-m’s wore: Hoka Challenger ATRs, Lululemon tank & shorts, Swiftwick socks, AK Ultimate Direction vest, trucker hat, Suunto watch

Day 2: ate: water, Gaterade, Powerade, peanut butter pretzels, peanut butter crackers, 2 choc/sea salt gels wore: Hoka Challenger ATRs, Lululemon compression shorts, Oiselle tank, Swiftwick socks, calf sleeves, AK Ultimate Direction vest, trucker hat and Suunto watch

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