It was a beautiful day! Well....let me back up to Friday morn. I got an email from my ultra pal, Kent, stating that he hoped I made a mistake in my blog cuz the race was Saturday NOT Sunday! Holy Crap!! After checking the Race homepage I realized I must be under way too much stress to have made a mistake like that!!
I rearranged my plan for food and water for that day and asked the Princess if she was available on Saturday instead of Sunday. No problem! Whew! Cancelled movie plans for Friday night, and stayed in, got my stuff put together and hit the sack early.
Woke up at 3 am, had my coffee, got dressed, stirred the Princess and off we went. A boring 3-hr drive. Steph brought her pillow and blanket, cuddled up in the front seat and was out in no time. I had to bounce around a few times, sing out loud and pinch myself to stay awake.
Made it to the race 45 mins before race time. Got my goodie bag, race number (#4---boy did I sign up early or what??) and headed back to the Jeep. It was freezing out! I had planned on wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, but luckily the race tee was a long-sleeved technical one, so that went over my shirt and kept me warm throughout the race.
Dave Tapp, the RD, made a little speech. Where was the Start line, someone asked? "See those two trees," he said, "right between them". Gotta love the laid-back atmosphere of trail running!! There was an 8-miler and a 33-mile race starting together and running along the same path for a few miles, then a split off. I was only doing the 8-miler as I have the marathon next week. My plan was to run this race very comfortably, word was there were hills, rocks, roots and little streams to get through and I didn't want to stress my legs out too much.
I ran at the back-of-the-pack and was quickly with the last two runners. The path was mostly a single track, rocky and rooty, winding through the woods, open fields, across two streams and up and down small hills. You couldn't take your eyes off the path, or you'd risk falling flat on your face! I love this stuff!! I had totally forgotten to set my garmin, and I noticed there were no mile markers, so I just went with the flow--it was such a cool feeling to not think about that--just me out there with Mother Nature and a few other crazy people, enjoying the morning fresh air!
What a blast!! We ran through two aid stations, the first had three adorable little kids with pink noses and cheeks, trying to stay warm by jumping up and down. Dad (found out later it was Jason Zimmerman there--darn, wish I said HI!) was very friendly and helpful--I grabbed some pretzels, took a swig from my water bottle and headed off. There was a bunch of downed trees on the trail that you had to climb, jump over or use the teeter-totter provided to get over. I made it across the small streams without getting wet (yay Montrails!) The second aid station I hung out a few extra minutes. A handful of sweet men were there, chatting with the runners. They told me I could continue on if I wanted and I was so tempted, but I held myself back knowing it wouldnt be a smart move for the marathon.
Finished up the last two miles winding in and out of easy-marked trails. The RD did a great job of marking the trail...every time I looked up I saw the friendly yellow ribbon to remind me I was on the right path. The last marked trail said "most difficult"---ahhh the RD has an evil side to him, I like that! That was a fun stretch! Moved aside to let some of the ultra runners through, each making a kind remark.
Ran in towards the finish line, smiled purty for the photographer and got my bling-bling from the RD. Told him how beautiful this trail was and that I plan on being back for the Ultra next year. He was very kind and gracious. This was the inaugural race, so I MUST come back each year, don't I??
Went through the Chow Tent....subway sandwiches, chili, soup, pretzels, corn chips, fig newtons, bananas and Pop was set up. I grabbed some yummies, glanced at the giveaway table (hats, shoes, visors) but didn't see my name so I mosied on to the Jeep. Steph complained of a tummy ache so I gave her my pop and headed home.
A wonderful morning was had by all!! A great big shout out to Dave Tapp, for putting together a beautiful race, very well organized, to my beautiful daughter for keeping me company, but mostly, to Kent, for making me realize the race was today!!! Whew!!