Aid Stations – Very well stocked this year. Almost every station had some sort of real food (including my favorite, grilled cheese). Every station had Tailwind and Gingerale (several even had gingerale chews).
Race Director – Funny and very friendly.
Course Markings – Well marked with ribbons and blinking lights for turns. None of the ribbons or signs had reflective strips in them so they were harder to spot at night.
Gain – It’s all there, all 33,000+ feet
Mileage – 106 to 108 (depending on the source you read). It’s all there too. You definitely won’t get shorted on miles.
Technicality of the trail – First and last 30 miles semi technical, I would advise not playing soccer with the rocks. Rest of the trail is fairly nontechnical.
Original Goal – Finish in 27 hours
Modified Goal – Just finish the damn thing!
Finish Time – 31h 18m, good for 2nd female and 20th overall
The Buckle – It’s HUGE!!
Calories – About 150/hour
Hydration – Nathan Vapor Airess
Shoes – Altra Superior
Socks – Feetures light cushion low cut
Sunglasses – Julbo Venture
Post Race – Hammer Recoverite and Tissue Rejuvenator
Always a bridesmaid and never the bride….. or this is how it seems to always go with the strange and twisted love affair I have with the dragon lurking in the Georgia Mountains.
I had been watching the weather for a couple of weeks and was happy the storms had been taken out of the forecast for the race weekend and the temperature looked reasonable. Last year it was upper 80’s and very high humidity. The positive of a noon start time is you get a full night’s sleep before the race; the down side of a noon start time is you have to wait around all morning. I did meet up with Julie, Steven and Rob in the parking lot a couple of hours before the start. Not living in Texas I don’t get an opportunity to see my teammates very often, so I was excited for the chance to visit and catch up.
There was well over a hundred runners starting the hundo this year compared to about 80 that started
last year. The gun went off and we all took off knowing it would be at least 24 hours before we would return. A decent size group took off at pretty good clip; I figured there would either be some really fast time this year, or there were going to be a lot of people blowing up. As we all started up the first big climb I found myself the leader of a group of nine guys. I asked but no one wanted to pass so I just held my steady comfortable pace. My garmin decided to not pick up satellite signal so I turned it off and was running strictly by feel, which oddly was actually pretty nice.
As our group of ten went through the next couple of climbs and aid stations we gradually got more spaced out. Even though my brain advised against it, about mile 22 my left foot thought it would try to start a soccer match with a rock on the trail. As you can probably guess this match did not end in my foot’s favor. My second toe, on my left foot, was now throbbing and it felt like someone was sticking a knife into the toe every step, especially on the downhill sections. At this point I became very glad I had decided to bring my poles (I seriously contemplated leaving them at start), since they served to
PC – Deborah Williams
PC – Deborah Williams
help brake going downhill and relieved some pressure off my foot.
I found myself running with Dave, who had also run Bigfoot 200 last year. Reminiscing and chatting about Bigfoot and how marked and organized the race was <insert sarcastic eye roll> helped to pass the time as we made our way around the course. One thing I have never understood is why your body always picks the most inconvenient times to start screaming at you that is has to go pee, and it has to go immediately. Naturally this occurred when I was on the road section, with cars driving and houses all around. As I looked around I started really wishing I was a guy and could just turn away from the road, face the mountain and pee. But no, of course it can’t be that easy for a girl, we have to find some place to squat. I didn’t figure squatting in the middle of the road would be real well received, so that wasn’t really an option. This urgent thought occupied my mind for the next 3 miles until I found a tree close to the road in someone’s yard and figured it was there or down my leg…. I chose the tree.
I hit the turn-around about 1 am, an hour after I had hoped to hit it. At this point I knew the race wasn’t going as I had hoped and my original goal of a 27 hour finish was modified to just keep going and finish at whatever time you can manage to finish. After a wonderfully delicious grilled cheese, soup and liberal amounts of numbing cream applied to my foot, I headed back out. During the Deep Gap loop I started running off and on with a guy named Mike.
A couple of times Mike went ahead and I figured I wouldn’t see him again and then a few miles later he would come up behind me after he made a wrong turn and being privileged with bonus miles. Around mile 75 we stayed on the same pace and ran the rest of the race together. One of the many things I love about trail running, and the community, is how two people that don’t know each other at all can become good friends during a race. I think all trail runners, whether they know the other runner or not, share this special kindred spirit that allows runners to instantly feel comfortable with others and allows these friendships to form. Even though there were long sections where nothing was said it was nice just having company and knowing someone else was there.
I remember from last year the last section seeming much longer coming home than it did going out. This year did not disappoint, not only did it seem longer coming home it also seemed to have a LOT more uphill coming home than downhill going out. The big climb going out also seemed a lot more technical going down than it did coming up…. And my body was convinced somehow that downhill section l had grown at least a mile longer over night too.
I am not a pavement fan, but I’m not going to lie, I was so incredibly happy to finally get to it, I knew, at that point, the finish was only a half mile away. My buddy Mike was nice enough to let me go
ahead of him at the finish line, but in reality we finished at the same time.
The race didn’t go as I had originally planned, but that’s
ok. I am thankful I had the opportunity and privilege to have been out there running, to have had a great friend to come out and crew me and to have my TROT teammates at the race. During the race I was
thinking I must have been crazy to have wanted to come do this race again and there is no way I would come back a third time. Post race I am now feeling I have a score with the dragon to settle ……..