Pine Mountain 40 (12-8-13) … A First Time for Everything…

Pine Mountain 40 Mile

 So I came back from the TransRockies super geared up about running crazy races.  I was totally obsessed and wanted to find a 50 miler to do STAT.  However, I really couldn’t find one that was convenient (i.e., driving distance) and right away (because I must do everything immediately!).  Mostly because most people don’t want to run 50 miles in the August heat in the South.  There were plenty to be had in the fall and winter, but I was impatient and didn’t want to wait. (cue Paula Cole in the background…”I don’t wanna wait…” – on a side note, I went to see Paula Cole once in high school.  She played at the local water park.  She was a lovely singer, but didn’t shave her pits which kind of sullied the show.  Totally random… OK back to running…)

Screenshot 2014-01-19 18.37.30 And then I just didn’t end up signing up for anything at all.  But then my friend Alex talked me into signing up for the Pine Mountain 40.  I had always thought I would do it one day because 1) It’s put on by GUTS and GUTS is awesome!; 2) It’s close to home; and 3) 40 miles seems like a logical step before 50 miles, right???

OK so running 40 miles or 50 miles is not logical at all. I know. I know.

OK so running 40 miles or 50 miles is not logical at all. I know. I know.

However, I never signed up because I knew it was at FDR State Park and I knew that trail was pretty technical.  And in December, a rainy December, it was totally covered in wet leaves.  So rocks and roots hidden by slippery leaves.  That just seemed like it would be miserable to traipse about for 40 miles of slippery leaves which lay upon rocks and roots galore….particularly with clumsiness…

So anyways…yeah, when Alex said he was doing it, for some reason I decided I would do it too.  I never did find that suitable 50 miler and was itching to do something crazy – so this should be plenty crazy, right?

We haven't even reached my underground garage of crazy me!

We haven’t even reached my underground garage of crazy yet…trust me!

Leading up to the race, I didn’t quite get to train as I had planned… or much at all.  I ran the Darkside 50k in Peachtree City on November 10, 2013 – I was supposed to run Rock ‘n Roll Savannah, but we had so much going on at work…it was just bad timing to trek down there.  Darkside was run on pavement, and I ran it pretty quickly.  Afterwards work continued to be crazy.  We had so many mediations and depositions and other madness.  There was just no time.  So I did no running the next week.  Then in the next couple weeks I ran maybe three times.  I lifted here and there.  But surely no sort of 40 mile training.

Darkside was fun and had cookies!  Yay!

Darkside was fun and had cookies! Yay!

I checked in with Alex the week before the race.  Turns out post NYC Marathon he had taken on a similar training – or should I say non-training – schedule as me post Darkside.  He bailed.

Some other friends – Deborah and Brennan decided to sign up last minute, so I was still assured of some company.  I’m typically a loner when it comes to running, but 40 miles with no headphones is  a long way alone!  And you know what they say – misery loves company!

Screenshot 2014-01-19 21.11.23

The race was on Sunday.  The whole week I wrestled with whether to run or not.  I had to cancel the hotel by Friday so the decision had to be made by then.  The weather report looked crappy – rain…but 40s/50s.  So doable.  Debate some more, debate some more.

Friday came and I sat on the bed expressing my internal torment to my husband.  I told him, I didn’t train properly, it was going to rain, the whole thing was a bad idea and I thought I would just back out.  And, in true Pooky fashion, he looked at me and said, “Why wouldn’t you run it?  It’s only 40 miles.  You’ll do just fine.  You should definitely do it.”  So I decided I’d suck it up and do it.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 21.13.41

Later, when I said, “But what if I hurt myself and then I can’t run for a while…” And his face went white and panic set about. I could see him remembering a time when I hurt my back and didn’t run for months.  A time when I was a cranky, horrible monster.  Then he panicked.  And you could tell he regretted giving me his usual motivational speech…but it was too late.

Nuff said.

Nuff said.

Saturday came and I packed up my crap.  We headed down to Pine Mountain in the afternoon.  Stopped in the cute little downtown and discovered a cupcake shop that was simply amazing.  Best cupcakes I’ve bought from a bakery in a very long time.  Soft and wonderfully delicious.  If you’re down there, get you some.  You’ll thank me.  So we bought what she had left in cupcakes and cookies (it was closing time) and meandered on.  We went to Lodge and checked in.  They had a big Christmas lights display at Calloway Gardens (and I LOVE Christmas lights) but the only time left to see it was at 9-10pm.  I hemmed and hawed whether we should go or I should rest.  Finally I pissed around so much that it was sold out.  Problem solved.

Pooky got me some great pre-race goodies too!  My phone died so I didn't get any pics of the awesome sweet treats though.

Pooky got me some great pre-race goodies too! My phone died so I didn’t get any pics of the awesome sweet treats though.

We indulged in lots of free apple cider and cookies at the hotel.  The hotel was super nice, and I wish we had time to explore and hang out.  Dinner time came and we both decided we were exhausted and didn’t want to go out…I did my usual thorough googling of the area’s offered cuisine.  We found a pizza shop that got good enough reviews and ordered a feast of pizza and potato wedges.  Then I gorged on pizza, potatoes, cupcakes and cookies.  Suffice it to say that I was OVER carb loaded.

I tried to sleep but I was SO restless (…could it be the carbs…).  I thought about bringing some Benadryl, but  didn’t.  I had a headache and just didn’t feel good.  And the front desk had no sort of Tylenol, Advil or anything else.  Sigh.  And I basically didn’t sleep the whole night.  Come about 4AM I finally fell asleep for about an hour.  After that, I just gave up and got up.  I looked out the window.  Looked cold and rainy.  I decided to bail.  But I couldn’t.  It was too late. I could see everyone else Facebooking about getting ready.  It was go time.

I layered up, lubed up, and choked down some Purely Elizabeth granola with almond milk  and a banana.  I woke up the husband to give me a ride, and we were off into the misty, rainy darkness.  He dropped me off near the front since of course I was late…A quick trip to the bathroom was of course the priority.  And there was no line!  Woo hoo!

Obligatory pre-race hotel picture.

Obligatory pre-race hotel picture.

It was actually not that bad when I got out there.  Much warmer than expected and only lightly misting.  I saw Brennan and Deborah and Matthew and started to get excited.

We climbed the steps up to the road and I looked around for friends. I found Deborah and yelled and yelled for Brennan, but couldn’t find him…but low and behold Pooky suddenly popped up out of nowhere, and that was a very welcome site before take off!

It was pretty dark!

It was pretty dark!


Off into the darkness we want, headlamps a bobbing.  Into the woods and winding around the trail in the darkness was pretty awesome.  I tried to stay with Deborah and company but ended up alone for a bit.  I just super duper focused and tried not to trip in the dark.  However the sun came up quickly, and I got warmed up fast.  Shed some layers and just kept on keeping on.  I was really tired due to lack of sleep, but overall felt pretty good.

Deborah on the move!

Deborah on the move!

Not too far in, Brennan caught up to us, and we kept trucking on together.  We chit chatted about everything and the time passed pretty quick.  We kept a pretty leisurely pace (which would bite us in the ass later) and enjoyed the trail.

The aid stations were well stocked and full of awesome volunteers who were always a welcome site.  Early on I got an extreme craving for nachos.  When I expressed this at an aid station, one volunteer reached into her purse and pulled out some gluten free tortilla chips and gave them to me!  So sweet!

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Brennan and I had a great “coach” and cheering squad….an older gentleman that Brennan knew.  He was at each aid station and would tell us how on or off pace we were and offer encouragement.  Not to mention Snickers.  Yes he gave me a Snickers mid race 😉

Aid station still smiling ;)

Aid station still smiling 😉

I texted Pooky every now and again with my whereabouts.  He told me he would see me at Mile 22, at the TV Tower.  I texted him that I had a couple more hours – meaning a couple more hours to Mile 22.  However, next time I had a text from Pooky it read “until you finish?  Awesome, you’re doing great” lol.  Talk about an overconfident husband.  If only…

At some point it started raining pretty hard.  It was super slippery with all the leaves and there were lots of rocks and roots to keep us on our toes.  Somehow I did manage not to fall.  Amazing!

However, in our chit chat, Brennan noticed I had decided to wear my wedding band.  He was like, um, you better watch because your fingers will swell. I said, “nah, its fine.  I wear it all the time on long runs.”  Then I went to wiggle it to show him.  At this point I noticed my fingers were WAY swelled and the ring was VERY stuck.  We  tugged and tugged and I freaked out.  Eventually we got it off.  Aaaah that felt so much better.  Thanks for the wisdom running buddy.

Brennan - all smiles!

Brennan – all smiles!

Brennan and I pushed on.  When we got to Rocky Point which was like 17 miles in we realized we were meandering pretty slow and may not make the 6 hour cut off at Mile 22.  Eeeeeek!  I’ve never run this race before; I’ve never run 40 miles before; and I’ve never been so close to a cut off before.  Never!  So naturally, I started to freak out.  And then I told myself, there’s only one way to fix this….so I put my head down and pushed on.

Me and Brennan chugging it into Mile 22 cutoff!

Me and Brennan chugging it into Mile 22 cutoff!

I got to TV Tower, Mile 22, with minutes to spare.  They tried to feed me, and I wasn’t  feeling anything.  But then someone offered me a grilled cheese sandwich. I haven’t eaten a grilled cheese in eons.  Eons.  And this was on regular old white bread with regular old fake orange cheese.  For some reason it sounded good.  It was promised to be hot and salty.  And omg it was.  This grilled cheese sandwich was the most amazing thing I had ever eaten.  It was magical.  It was spiritual.  This grilled cheese sandwich was a religious experience.  And it was all I could think about for the next 10 or more miles.

Yay for the awesome aid stations!

Yay for the awesome aid stations! I guess this is the only pose I have.

At this point my only goal was to make it to mile 28.5.  That was when the sweepers were unleashed.  I knew Jason Rogers was sweeping, and I felt comfort in knowing that I could run with someone I knew.  I figured I could just keep telling myself that I just had to stay one foot in front of him, and I’d be ok.

Beautiful day to be in the woods!

Beautiful day to be in the woods!

I got to 28.5 aid station and Pooky was there!  Yay!  I was so happy to see a familiar face.  By this time I had lost Brennan (he had to drop out) and Deborah (little did I know she was right behind me).  However, Pooky was in full blown “Dance Mom” mode.  He was dead set on helping me finish.  When I got to the aid station my pack was finally empty and I needed to refill with water…which is an ordeal – getting it off, getting it open, filling it, etc… And Pooky was admonishing me, to hurry, that I didn’t have time…he kept me moving and he meant business!

Jason was there, preparing to sweep with a few others.  He told me that I had some time… so off I went!  I just kept thinking they were one step behind me and so I high tailed it best I could…

Trying to get my supplies as fast as fast can be!

Trying to get my supplies as fast as fast can be!

The aid stations were every three miles after this.  I was a little woozy and mostly just pissed at myself that I was going so slow and barely staying ahead of the cut off.  The race cut off was 10.5 hours.  And it looked like I wasn’t going to make it.  I have to admit, I thought I’d run the race in 8.5 or 9 or maybe even 9.5 hrs.  But 10.5, or not finishing, that never even crossed my mind…until now.  I spent a good 10 miles or so of the race, at various points, yelling at myself and scolding myself.  I don’t know why I trucked it so slow.  I was super tired, but my body felt fine.  I think I was just being overly cautious on the rocks and leaves and roots and such.  I guess.  Who knows.  I guess there is a first time for everything and this was my first time to be barely barely making it…and I sure didn’t like it.

Pooky met me at every aid station until the end.  Poor thing.  It was cold and rainy.  And it had to be so boring.  But he met me with great “Dance Mom” zeal at each spot.  Yelling at me and not letting me slack.  If this were a pageant of some sort, he would’ve been ready with the vaseline for my teeth, hairspray for my undo and lipstick for the touch up at each stop.

When I saw him at the Buzzard’s Roost road crossing (about 2 miles from the finish) …at this point I knew I was going to make it.  I passed two guys taking a picture with one of their wives (or sisters?) and kids.  It was so cute.  I started to get emotional thinking about the long day and the fact that I had done something that seemed kind of impossible earlier.

Almost there!

Almost there!

I rounded the corner and could hear the camp.  I knew I was getting close.  I looked at my watch.  It looked like I wasn’t going to make it under 10.5 hrs.  They were still letting people finish for some time afterwards, but I made a promise to myself that I would not accept one of the coveted fleeces unless I crossed the line in 10.5 hrs or under (not to say there is anything wrong with doing so – a finish is a finish – but I had already worked this out with myself and a promise is a promise).

photo 1

I could hear the camp for sometime.  Eventually I could faintly see it.  It was almost dark by now.  I sped up and ran in as fast as I could.  I spotted the clock in the distance.  10:27 !!!!  I made it in under the wire.  Pooky was there cheering me through.  Lots of people were there cheering me through.  I really have to hand it to all the volunteers and fast runners who stuck around for us slow pokes (to put it in perspective, the winning woman ran it in 6.5 hrs… FOUR hours faster than me!!!!).  I loved it!!!  And totally totally appreciated it! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Trail runners rock.  Supporters of trail runners rock.  They are just good people.

photo 3

Victory is mine!

It was SUCH a good feeling when I crossed that line.  Indescribable.


I headed inside and went to get my fleece.  Molly was handing them out, and I had met her at the Six Hours of Dauset Trail race.  She came in second behind me (not even sweating or tired) and then went out for an “extra” cool down loop of six miles afterwards.  But then again, she runs 100 milers.  What can I say, she’s a beast.

They were out of size small, but were sweet enough to order more and have it shipped right to me!  More awesomeness!

I changed my clothes and got my chocolate almond milk.  I went outside and saw that Deborah had finished too.  Yay!!!!  Was so glad to see her smiling face come through.

Deborah and MDD

Deborah and MDD.  MDD is a beast.  She finished, had time to take a nap, then see me and Deborah finish lol.

We chit chatted with a few people, I changed (OMG it felt good to get out of those cold wet clothes) and then we were on our way.

It was an epic, awesome day.  First, it was a humbling experience.  This was my first time at this race and at this distance, and I almost didn’t make it to either the starting line or the finish line.  However, I’m so lucky to have such an awesome supportive husband…and friends and family…who encourage me to do these crazy things I love to do.  Every time I want to give up on myself before I’ve even started, Pooky won’t let me.  And each time I run one of these crazy races, it reminds me how awesome and amazing my husband, friends and family are….and how ridiculously lucky I am to have them in this unreal life of mine.  What I learned is, that while it was disappointing at the time to be barely making the cut-offs, what would have been most disappointing was if I hadn’t even gone out there and tried today.  If I had quit before I even toed the line.  Luckily, my friends and hubby won’t let me get away with that 😉 You never know if you don’t try…so if I have anything to tell you from this – it’s go out and try!!!  A slow finish or a DNF (*did not finish) is way better than a DNS (*did not start) in my book!

We headed home and I racked my brain for what I wanted as a celebratory meal. Exhausted and worn out, we decided to eat in the house.  No sleep, 40 miles, 10.5 hrs by foot and 1.5 hrs by car later, I cooked us dinner.  Mac n cheese from a box and crossiants from a tube… with a can of green beans for good, healthy measure 😉

It was an amazing fake food meal, and I loved every artificial morsel.  Promptly thereafter, I fell dead asleep.  And what a glorious sleep it was.  Time to dream about the next crazy adventure to conquer….

Happy Trails until next time guys 😉

Superheroes v. Villains 5k (10-19-13)

Superheroes v. Villains 5k

(10-19-13…was like three months ago…I know!  I know!  Bad blogger, bad blogger!  But, better late than never, right?!)

So while trolling the internet for races (don’t tell my boss, but that’s basically all I do interspersed with some Facebook and Amazon) I happened upon this race.  The race was for a good cause – it was to honor the memory of Mat DuVall, owner of Required* Fitness and to raise money to benefit a scholarship in his honor.  Also, the premise of the race was that you either dressed up as a superhero or villain!  For a good cause and an excuse to dress up like a superhero or villain?  I am SO in.

This is true.

This is true.

I circulated the race around to all the usual suspects, begging someone to come along.  I couldn’t go to a superhero themed family friendly race alone – lest I look like some sort of odd ball creeper.  Luckily Swim Bike Mom, the Expert and Kids all signed on!   Yay! I could tag along as the third, large child that they never wanted.

This would not be the first time I tried to tagalong as the third Swim Bike Kid.  Here I'm trying to blend in with real life Swim Bike Kid Stella on Tybee Island.

This would not be the first time I tried to tagalong as the third Swim Bike Kid. Here I’m trying to blend in with real life Swim Bike Kid Stella on Tybee Island.

Swim Bike Mom is a great Mom to even her fake, fully grown children as evidenced by the fact that she fed me a nutritious cereal breakfast before the race.

Swim Bike Mom is a great Mom to even her fake, fully grown children as evidenced by the fact that she fed me a nutritious cereal breakfast before the race.

After signing up, I further inspected the website.  It appeared that the prize for overall male and overall female finishers was an all expenses paid trip to Universal Studios with all the fixings.  Then I saw that the first superhero and first villain got courtside tickets to the Hawks game of their choice.  When Pooky heard this he freaked out.  Being a super NBA fan (and even bigger LeBron James fan), he was hell bent on me winning these tickets.  So somehow, out of all the races I was doing and had done this year, this local community 5k had become my “A” race.  Me, the girl who likes to run long and slow and leisurely through the mountains, preferably where candy and potato chips are provided at the aid stations.  But there would be none of that at a road 5k.  Especially a road 5k I was expected to run fast.  Sigh.

Road runners are just a different breed.  A fast breed ;)

Road runners are just a different breed. A fast breed 😉

Figuring that far less people would sign up as “villains” than superheroes, I emailed the race director and asked to switch to villain.  Figured that would help my chances of winning my man the tickets.

Fast forward to last night.  Friday. Before the race.  About 6pm. And I have no costume.  Shoot.  I had plenty of good ideas but none seemed to lend themselves to running (think Bane, Dark Vader, Storm Trooper, Magneto)…masks would suffocate me and long capes would trip me.  Hmmmmm…

I really really really wanted to be Bane...but I really really really also like to freely breathe and eat pizza

I really really really wanted to be Bane…but I really really really also like to freely breathe and eat pizza

I eventually decided that I was tired and didn’t want to deal with it, and that I would skip it.  Then after Courtney finished my long awaited and MUCH needed massage, I thought, well let me just go look for a costume (mostly because Pooky wasn’t due home until a couple hours later and I was in fear that I would eat everything in sight in the house while I waited for him).

I went to Party City.  I was horrified at the selection.  When asking the woman for a Darth Vader costume, she gave me something that had a short skirt, hooker boots, and this cutesy hat thing. Um, I don’t know if you’ve seen Star Wars lady, but Darth Vader don’t wear no skirt.  Sigh.

Completely absurd.

Completely absurd.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 16.25.48

This is what was offered me. What the **** is on her head?!

I went on to Atlantic Station, Target, and Walmart..  Nothing, nothing nothing.  I was exhausted and about to say screw it again.  Then I thought about it, and I really wanted to do the race, and it was rare that I had a chance to see the Swim Bike Family, so I went back to Atlantic Station.  They had a little boys’ Darth Vader costume which was just a shirt with a cape and a mask.  I smooshed myself into the shirt…now Darth Vader is wearing three quarter length sleeves 😉  It would do.  They even had a lightsaver and it was only nine bucks so I got it too.  In my mind I could totally carry it while running.  Pooky offered to fashion a “holster” for it, but I didn’t have much faith in that idea and passed.

Race morning came and I donned my get up.  Got to the race and met the Swim Bike Family who looked as cute as could be.  About 10 minutes prior to the start it started raining.  I decided at this point it was probably a bad idea to run in a mask holding a lightsaver in the rain.  So I stashed them under a table and went for my usual multi-bathroom trip routine.

I had an awkward family photo of me with the whole SBM family which was hilarious but now I can't find it.  So this ridiculous pic of me and SBM will have to do.

I had an awkward family photo of me with the whole SBM family which was hilarious but now I can’t find it. So this ridiculous pic of me and SBM will have to do.

Got to the start and there was a guy at the front holding a sign that said “8 minute miles and faster.”  So I thought, well I’m going for faster so let me give it a try.  A guy dressed like Johnny Depp in those pirate movies was next to me and apparently planned to run in his boots.  Good luck with that.  He asked me if I was fast.  And I said, fast for me.  He told me that the front line was only for “fast people.” I told him, don’t worry, I’ll be fast enough.



And we were off like that!  Right at the start there was one girl who went out ahead of me.  She was wearing no costume – only a sports bra and shorts (despite the fact that I was freezing my vader legs off in the 60 degree / rain temps) and she clearly came here not to pretend to be a superhero or villain but to kick butt and win (incidentally, that’s what she did!)

She probably read this book before the race ;)  Just kidding!  I could use to be a bit more serious myself...then maybe I would've won myself a sweet vacation like her...

She probably read this book before the race 😉 Just kidding! I could use to be a bit more serious myself…then maybe I would’ve won myself a sweet vacation like her…

I was ok with her passing me and staying ahead because she wasn’t dressed up.  She was going pretty fast and my legs were still heavy with the hills of Mystery Mountain from last week’s marathon, so I let her go.  She could have the trip – however, my man wanted those courtside seats so I just needed to be the fastest villain.  No problem, right?

Who could say no to this face?  It's tickets he wants, it's tickets he gets!

Who could say no to this face? It’s tickets he wants, it’s tickets he gets!

However, right out of the gate, there is another lady Darth Vader right next to me!?!? What??!?!  Grumble, grumble, grumble.  She stayed with me for a bit, but she was out of site within a mile or so.  Shewwwww…. Thank goodness.  I didn’t want to have to fight to the finish for this.  Also I would’ve been really p.o.’d that I went to such lengths to dress like a villain to improve my chances when the only girl near me was also dressed as a villain!

I am the villain of the story ;)

I am the villain of the story 😉

Only because I love you, I offer you these hideous race photos to enjoy.

Only because I love you, I offer you these hideous race photos to enjoy.  See the other Darth?

WHAT am I doing??? WHAT?

WHAT am I doing??? WHAT?

So I have to admit something – I really wanted to run this sub-20 minutes.  I know, I know, a ridiculous pipe dream for a lazy long distance runner who’s been doing a marathon or more each month since February and who spends the rest of the time eating tortilla chips and granola and watching Fringe on Netflix.  But after the fast half at Atlanta 13.1 Marathon, I really thought I could do it.

Well, first mile was slightly under 6:30.   Next mile had a hill in it and I started to get tired.  And hungry. And thirsty.  I think my body is too used to getting to eat and drink lots on runs, but sorry body, this is no long distance trail race. Sigh.  I think I clocked the second mile pretty close to 6:30 too, but I’m not sure.

Me, after the first 6:30 mile.

Me, after the first 6:30 mile.

I looked behind me and didn’t see any girls in sight – neither superhero nor villain nor civilian.  This gave me relief because my lungs were burning and I was really ready to slack off.  So I did.

I guess I was happy that I could now slack off?  More time for skipping?  These pictures of mine...weirder every time...

I guess I was happy that I could now slack off? More time for skipping? These pictures of mine…weirder every time…

I came around the 3 mile mark and thought I could sneak in under 21.  I didn’t but pulled out a respectable 21:02 for the race, 2nd overall female, 9th overall.  Not bad for a sloth of a trail runner out on the mean streets for a 5k.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 17.29.29

Actually its neck and neck with gluttony.

I must have it!

I must have it!

I was pretty sure that I had got the courtside seats at this point, but didn’t want to jinx it until it was official.  I was winded, so I sat down on the curb and drank my water while I waited to take a picture of the Swim Bike Couple finishing together on their anniversary!  (this is so awesomely cute I can’t stand it)…however, despite my best efforts I didn’t get a picture of this : (  Hopefully the race guy did.

OK somebody got a picture.  Look how cute!  Happy Anniversary!

OK somebody got a picture. Look how cute! Happy Anniversary!

Afterwards, we went and retrieved the Swim Bike Kids from the daycare (they seriously had child drop off for this race – how cool is that?) Then we set the Swim Bike Kids forth for their kids run.  So cute to watch them in action.  Stella totally takes after Aunt Liz – she was smiling and pumping her arms and upon finishing said, “The race was too short.”  Love it. Love it. Love it.

Ready to zooooom!

Ready to zooooom!

I was loitering around when I noticed the awards were happening so I ran over just in time.  Got my courtside seats!  I would not let my man down!  However, they say which game you get the seats for is subject to first come, first serve, out of the four winners.  So I instantly emailed the woman from my phone from the awards table in hopes of scoring Pooky the courtside Heat tickets in January.  His birthday is right around that time so it would be totally awesome.

I did it!

I did it!

I was going to say goodbye to the Swim Bike Family when they called my name again!  Apparently I also got the age group award?!  Random!  And it was $20 cash in an envelope and a car wash.  Awesome.  I never have cash in my wallet and my car is always filthy so this made my day.  It also included a gift certificate for the Rib Shack.  Anybody want it?  😉

…you know, these 5k things aren’t so bad afterall 😉

And although this post was 3 months late, it’s totally relevant because tomorrow we use the tickets I won!

Til we meet again (or until I’m not too lazy to write a report) … Happy Trails!

mepodium2 mepodiumdarth

Six Hours of Dauset Trails (9-14-13)

6 Hours of Dauset Trails

So in the mountain bike world, timed races are popular.  Six hours, eight hours, twelve hours, whatever.  Same goes in the ultra running world.  There have been plenty this summer in Georgia – Hot to Trot, Merrils Mile etc. I missed both due to TransRockies trainging and them just not fitting in the plan.  The deal with these are that you run a loop – usually about a mile – as many times as you can in the prescribed period of time.  So really more of a mental challenge than anything else as you’ll be going round and round and round the same piece of dirt for hours.



Anyways, Mountain Goat Adventures decided to put on 6 Hours of Dauset Trails this year as an inaugural event.  In talking with my friend Elizabeth (she has a blog too – go read it!) this summer, who was training for the event as her first foray into the ultra or endurance running world, I was intrigued.  It was set up a bit differently.  It was almost a 6 mile loop that was run as many times as possible in 6 hours.  What sold me on the whole thing is that you could set up your own little “pit” stop at the start/finish area complete with your own supplies and snacks.  I don’t know why but I loved that idea…that and they were offering a free Mountain Goat Adventures mesh tote bag for the first so many to sign up… so a few weeks before the TransRockies, I decided to sign up.

When I got done with the TransRockies, immediately upon getting back, I was already spazzing about what was next.  Honestly I really really wanted to tackle a 50 miler, feeling that I had the mileage I needed in after training for and running the TransRockies and thinking that any course I picked out here would pale in comparison to what I had run in the Rockies.

Luckily I had this race on the schedule already to kind of quell my looming insanity and give me something to focus on. I trained a little with a really chill week following the TransRockies, and a twenty miler the next weekend, and then a down week, then it was race time again already!  Yay!

Figuring after this race I had some time off again, I signed up for a ten day yoga detox at the Kashi Ashram.  It was a cool thing they did seasonally where you do a lot of yoga and eat super duper clean for ten days – to kind of reset. And after the eating debacle that was the TransRockies and beyond…um, I needed it.  However, Day 1 fell on race day.  Hmmmm…this was going to be interesting. I decided I’d follow as closely as I could and actually did great considering.

Yeah this is definitely how it went down at the TransRockies.  Six days of running and eating to excess.

Yeah this is definitely how it went down at the TransRockies. Six days of running and eating to excess.

The night before I finished my pre-detox meeting at about 8.  Pooky & I proceeded to our favorite pizza dive Camelis and feasted like it was going out of style. Monster slices and French fries all around.  We went home, and I packed up for the race brining coconut water, some plan potatoes, and bananas. I brought some Huma gels and nuun too but didn’t really use too much.  Oh and salt pills.  Thank god for salt pills.

I was tasked with bringing a card table and chairs for Elizabeth and I to set our stuff up on.  However, I didn’t go to the storage unit to get said table and chairs until the night before the race at about 9:30pm.  I come to find its missing.  Hmmm.  Where did it possibly go?  The mystery remains unsolved so if you find my black card table, please let me know.  I felt so bad and quickly sent Elizabeth a message and luckily she had one to bring.  Sigh. Crisis averted.

The next day I made myself some oatmeal and fruit and decided to wear this super cute pink tie dye tank top that my cousin had just happened to mail me the day before.  Awesomeness.  Also despite the fact that we had a “pit stop” set up at the start/finish, I still wore my hydration vest.  It had still been pretty hot out, and I wanted to consistently hydrate.

I got to the race and set up with Elizabeth.  She really had nice dedicated friends and family, which was good, because it also made me appear to have friends and family since I was a squatter at their table.  Her friend Kimberly as well as her parents and little niece joined us.  Everyone sat up and we waited.

Look at our aid station!!!

Look at our aid station!!!

Kimberly was a great crew chief and the signs were awesome!

Kimberly was a great crew chief and the signs were awesome!

I ended up seeing trail running buddy Alex as well who also had a large entourage and really fancy set up.  I had no idea what I planned on doing with this race – it was either going to be a “just finish” day or a balls to the wall type day, but I hadn’t decided yet.  I started off with Alex and his friend who was a 100 miler and we chatted about her races and about the Rock Creek 50 miler and such.  I thought I would hang with them for a while, but I was feeling good and although this was a timed race and I should probably pace myself, I decided that I’d go with the usual Liz plan – use it or lose it.  So I said my goodbyes and told them I’d see them when they passed me later.  And I took off.  Well what qualifies as “taking off” for me.

2013-09-14 16.17.55

The race was at Dauset Trails in Jackson.  I run there every June for Xterra’s finale and always enjoy it.  However, this race was on a different set of trails there down by the lake.  It was really pretty – a little rocky and rooty but nothing major and nice rolling hills.  Or at least this is the way I remember it over a month later 😉

Pre-race jazz hands!

Pre-race jazz hands!

There was also a relay going on and there was really no way to tell who was doing what, so I wasn’t sure how well I was or wasn’t doing.  After a the first lap someone told me I was the first girl.  Hmmm…. Did I want to really try to race this?  I stopped at my table briefly and ate some banana and said hello to Elizabeth’s family and set back off.

Here I come!

Here I come!

Still felt good.  It was getting pretty hot though, and I kept trying to eat and drink as much as I could and take in salt pills.   At some point in the second lap I was joined by another girl who I decided was the one beating me and so I raced her.  Or at least in my head.  I don’t know if she knew I was racing her.  We stopped at the one aid station and I heard her tell them she was a broke college student.  I decided that it was ok if she beat me because I had to have about 12-15 years on her.  Oh that just sounds awful out loud.  But on I marched.

Lap three I was still feeling pretty good and making good time.  I’d managed to run each lap around an hour or slightly less or slightly more.  Another girl caught up to us and now I was racing both of them.  I didn’t really stop at my aid table except to gulp down bananas since I was still racing the girls in my mind.  Potatoes tasted awful for some reason so I stuck with bananas.

Screenshot 2013-10-27 16.14.17

I tripped on a root at the beginning of lap three and luckily that was my only fall.  It was hot and I could feel the salt on my skin.  I knew I was dehydrated and just kept chugging and tried to get in what I could.

Somewhere on loop 3 or 4 I was really truly racing these other two girls.  Like neck and neck.  I finally made my move and never saw them again.  I would come to find out later that one was running the relay.  Grumble.  She did thank me for pushing her and I thanked her back because honestly I probably would’ve slacked otherwise.

About a halfway in lap 4 I got a horrible horrible leg cramp. I haven’t had a leg cramp like that since my first marathon where I did not fuel properly at all.  It hurt like the bejesus.  It was insane. I thought, well this is it, I fought a good fight, but I’m going to have to phone it in at this point.  And I really thought I had a shot at winning.  Blasted.  I ate and chugged some extra salt pills and rubbed at it and walked as quick as I could.  Some ladies passed and asked if I was ok.  I told them I was fine just walking off a cramp and gimped on.  Sigh.

This was a ridiculously humid summer.  Ridiculously.

This was a ridiculously humid summer. Ridiculously.

After a few minutes, I told myself, well this is either going to be an uber painful and long walk in or an equally painful but shorter run in.  So I started gimping.  And I gimped a little faster.  And a little faster.  Until finally I was running again and at an ok speed.  It still hurt like heck, but I got back into stride.  By the end of the lap I had run it out or the salt pills had kicked in.  Thank goodness.

I went out for my fifth lap just feeling the toll of the day.  It was super hot and humid by then. I had run fairly fast for me for over four hours.  I was crampy.  But I was getting this thing done.  Yes I was.

So I went as fast as I could at this point, mostly to just get it over with.  When I got to the top of the hill towards the end, I looked at the little boy who sat there each lap and told him, “I have never been so happy to see you.”  He seemed to like that.  I barreled down the hill and into the finish area.

5 laps at 5:06.  They taunted me over the loud speaker – aren’t you going to go out for a sixth lap???  No way.  Not at this point.  I’m done.

Yay! I'm done!

Yay! I’m done!

A few minutes after I came in a girl wearing rec specs (yes rec specs like we wore in gym class in the 90s) finished and went out for another lap. I was kind of nervous she would beat me…but we saw her turn around and come back after like 20 minutes on the course.

Screenshot 2013-10-27 16.10.22

Alex’s 100 miler friend finished a few minutes after me and asked me if I wanted to do an extra lap as a cool down.  I told her thanks but no thanks.  Crazy ultra runners 😉

I went to our table and found that Elizabeth had decided she’d just do four laps as the heat and humidity had also gotten to her.  Me and Kimberly walked to the finish area and waited for her.  She put in an awesome race on a tough day in tough conditions.  Her first day out as an ultra runner or endurance runner or whatever you want to call it was a smashing success.  This was only her second trail race!  Madness.  She would go on to finish her first 50k just a few weeks later and rocked it.  Yay!

Elizabeth Triumphant!

Elizabeth Triumphant!

After more milling about I changed and looked at these iPads they had with the results (how neat!).  It appeared that I had won the women’s and came in 2nd over all with only one dude beating me!  I didn’t want to get too excited until it was official.

As I was milling about I met some nice ladies who were Swim Bike Mom fans and knew I was the Goat. That was fun and exciting.  Although I’m not a good blogger so I forgot to get a picture.

The awards came and I did win overall female.  Yay!  I was pretty pumped.  They give you this cool podium shirt showing a little Goat in 1st place to wear!  They gave me a small and then I debated about size eventually trading it in for a bigger one which worked out much better.

Second place is missing because she is off running more laps ;)

Second place is missing because she is off running more laps 😉

I headed home starving and at according to my detox rules despite just having run nearly 30 miles.  Beans, rice and sweet potatoes and greens plain.  Sigh. I did eat a ton of it though.

When the results were finally posted I did confirm that I was first female and second overall – only one dude beat me!  How sad for the dudes out there that day. But how cool for me!  Official time was 5:06 for 5 laps.  The laps were supposedly about 5.82 miles long, but there really was no consensus on it.  So not sure on distance, but I like to think close to 30 miles.  So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

LOVE the shirt!

LOVE the shirt!

Hopefully I survive the detox!

Happy Trails!

Red Top Roaster 2013 – August 3, 2013

Well it’s taper time.  And of course I’m going nuts.  One week from today I will be leaving on an airplane headed to Colorado to start a journey that has been over a year in the making.  But we’ll get to that.  Now on to today.

 So the appropriate thing to do when in the midst of a taper, only ten days away from a six day stage race that is 120 miles long and has nearly 25,000 feet of elevation gain … is … run a hot, hilly race!

I told Tim the race director I would volunteer for this race a long time ago.  And I really enjoyed the race last time I ran it.  Plus, Swim Bike Mom friend Elizabeth was going and running her first trail race.  And Isabel from the Running Teacher was volunteering…and it’s rare for the goat to be at a race where I know not one – but two people – so off I went!

I hasn’t been a very hot summer by Atlanta standards, but it has been helluva humid.  I am SO over the humidity.  So over it.  Saturday it was forecasted to be hot, so the Red Top Roaster would live up to its name.

I got up at 5AM and packed my essentials – a couple Naked Coconut waters (pineapple for before and mango/peach for after!) along with a Huma gel and some Muesli for breakfast.

This stuff is super good soaked in some homemade almond/cashew milk - I tried it the traditional way with OJ and didn't like it...Best part of this pic is Pooky's Chips a Hoy in the background!

This stuff is super good soaked in some homemade almond/cashew milk – I tried it the traditional way with OJ and didn’t like it…Best part of this pic is Pooky’s Chips a Hoy in the background!

I got there about 6:30 AM and after an emergency port-a-potty break, started to work check-in.

Elizabeth showed up and took some action shots of me at check-in!

Working hard, or hardly working?

Working hard, or hardly working?

I wasn’t feeling hungry, so I just had my pineapple coconut water and one Huma gel.  I figured I didn’t really need much fuel for a measly 15k after all the long running I had been doing.

2013-08-04 12.52.17

I was relieved of my check-in duties with a little less than 30 minutes to go time.  I stood in a really long port-a-potty line, jogged around a bit, ate my gel and got ready to go.

I stood towards the front and looked for some of the girls I usually chase.  I saw one, who I usually finish about the same time with.  And I saw a girl I met the week before at our group run.  So I decided I’d chase after them as long as I could.

And next thing you know, we were off!  I chased after the first couple girls for a while.  My legs felt great but my lungs felt wretched and I was huffing and puffing.  Hmmmm this is a bad sign seeing as I’ll be at altitude in ten days.  Yikes.  And I was soon regretting that my interval and speed work had dropped off in the last month or so.  Awesome.  More panic to add to the crazy taper time.

I kept moving and passed two of the girls I had been chasing, one of which is usually finishing right around me.  I thought she was on my tail for some time.  Eventually I looked back and realized I was alone save for a couple of dudes.

I remembered this course a lot less tough.  Perhaps I was in better shape (or different shape) and I guess we ran different trails on Red Top the week before, and this is why this felt so different.

But there was a guy next to me who usually works check-in too and encouraged me telling me to just relax but keep pushing. So I did just that.  Every time my lungs screamed and I couldn’t stand the huffing and puffing, I just focused on the fact that my legs felt fresh and awesome and didn’t mind the hills.

Through the first three miles, I could see signs for miles 7, 8 and 9.  So I unfortunately knew that I would have to face those same hills in the last 5k.  Blasted.

At the first aid station, about 3 miles in or so, I was pretty tired and thought I might just take it easy on the way in.  However, some of the volunteers told me I was the third place girl.  Blasted again.  Why did they have to go and tell me that???  I’m too competitive to give up then.  So I trucked on and tried to keep my current pace as to not lose my third place spot.

The next three miles came and went and I saw the Running Teacher volunteering.  She snapped a pic too!  Thanks and thanks for the much needed encouragement!


I pushed on despite my lungs hating me.  It was starting to get hot, so aid stations became places to dump water on the head.  Ahhhhh.  The weight I’ve gained in the last year was not making the heat any more comortable.

I know I'm not fat!  But my thighs are rubbing together and it super sucks in the heat.  Super sucks.

I know I’m not fat! But my thighs are rubbing together and it super sucks in the heat. Super sucks.

About a mile and a half from the finish, I spotted a girl!  Hey, another girl!  She must be number 2.  I was pretty far off, and I said, I’m not going to catch her.  And I just kept trucking on.

I was pretty slow up the hills, but ran the downhills fast and as fast can be.  There was one guy who we kept going back and forth passing each other who noted my speediness on the downhills.  This is a rarity for me, but these trails were less technical so I just went for it.  Plus, one of the best ways to gain an advantage in races is that as soon as you get to the top of a hill you just keep going as fast as you can. Most people get to the top of the hill and take a minute.  And that’s where you can get them.  Don’t take a minute, just push on as hard as you can.  If it’s a level or downhill, you’ll naturally recover even pushing it down the hill.

Before I knew it, the girl in green was right in my sights.  It was maybe a mile out.  I thought maybe I should hang back and wait until closer to the end to surge and pass.  But that’s not really my style, so I thought, let me pass her now and if she catches up with me – fine.  Let the best woman (or goat) win!  (don’t you love the fake drama I’m injecting into this race for 2nd place in a totally random small local trail race)!

I don't really.  It was really this exciting.  Really.

I don’t really. It was really this exciting. Really.

Well I passed her and just kept going as fast as I could and tried not to look back.  I heard someone coming up on me and kept pushing.  Turns out it was a dude, so I was ok.  About a third of a mile out, it turned to pavement. I looked back.  Not a lady runner anywhere in sight.  And I have to admit, at this point I was tired, and over it, so I just trotted it in.  Let me tell you, that last .3 miles was SO long.  It never seemed to end!

I finally rounded the corner and was done.  2nd place female.  22nd overall.  1:22:44.  Yay!  I didn’t even have a chance of getting the first place woman.  1:14:42.  Zoom!  But I saw her before the race.  And she is fit.  And there is just no other way to put it.  I mean when you see me, you’re probably like, oh, she looks pretty fit, but she also likes a pizza and a candy bar every now and again.  But this lady, you’re just like wow.  She’s fit.  And she has never even heard of a pizza or a candy bar.  Sigh.  One day I will have that kind of discipline.  One day.  But today’s not that day.  But I digress.

Afterwards I went for a little run a round and did an extra mile or so.  I forgot to hit the Garmin, but it’s ok.  I went inside afterwards and got myself a new State Parks Pass and changed my clothes (that blasted disgusting humidity, I was literally pouring sweat on the floor of the visitor’s center…I had to stand off to the side where they had a little carpet so I wouldn’t sully the floor completely).

I meandered over where I saw the awards had started.  Opps. I missed my award.  But Tim stopped things and  gave me my award. I got all sorts of stuff!!  Including a case of beer and a case of Cliff bars and an Inov8 shoe certificate!  Wowzers!

2013-08-04 12.42.12

The office will be happy about this one.

The office will be happy about this one.

I then out of the side of my eye saw Elizabeth coming in to finish her first trail race!  And under 2 hours!  I ran down and snapped a finish photo!

Yay!!!  And...another trail runner is officially indoctrinated in...bahahaha!

Yay!!! And…another trail runner is officially indoctrinated in…bahahaha!

Afterwards we B.S.ed for a while.  I also saw that Matt from Zulu Racing was there.  He was first in his age group and 4th overall with a speedy 1:12:19.  Yay Matt!  Too bad we both didn’t get the number one spots like Troop Trot!

2013-08-03 10.15.09

This post would be no good without the jazz hands.

This post would be no good without the jazz hands.

We then chit chatted with Matt, his wife and their ridiculously cute new puppy.  Oh, and also discussed the awesome race Matt puts on – Hill Country Trail Race at Serenbe.  It’s November 23rd. I’ll be there, Jamaican Sensation will be there, and so should you!  (See last year’s race report here).

Zulu racing rocks!

Zulu racing rocks!

OK so I need to work on a pre-TransRockies post…so yeah, time to go. Happy trails til we meet again!

2013-08-03 10.16.41

Second place.  First one to lose. But exciting none-the-less to this goat.

Second place. First one to lose. But exciting none-the-less to this goat.

Guest Post: The Pittsburgh Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay

Guest Post: The Pittsburgh Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay May 5, 2013

By Uncle Goat – Joe George 😉 

Hello there!  Thought everyone might need some weekend inspiration and motivation, so I’ve got a little guest post for you today!

As you may or may not know, I started running more or less about 18 years ago…my little brother was a runner too.  And there was one more runner in the family, my dad’s older brother, our Uncle Joe!

Me and Uncle Joe rockin the Laurel Highlands Sr. High Alumni Cross Country Race!

Me and Uncle Joe rockin the Laurel Highlands Sr. High Alumni Cross Country Race!

And me, and my brother, and my Uncle Joe, well, we’ve kept on running over the years.  And we’re our own little running family.

The running Georges (minus Little E!) Beth, Uncle Joe, Pooky & Me!

The running Georges (minus Little E!) Beth, Uncle Joe, Pooky & Me!   We all won that day too!

And Uncle Joe – he’s 66 years old now – he’s still going … and according to his 2:09 half marathon performance at the 2013 Pittsburgh Half Marathon… he’s still going strong and is truly a Runner of Steel!

From the Goat:  And...the rest of the running family (again, minus Little E)...Beth Ann, Darren, Phil & Uncle Joe!

From the Goat: And…the rest of the running family (again, minus Little E)…Beth Ann, Darren, Phil & Uncle Joe!

In honor of this awesome performance – I asked him to write a little guest post about his experience at the race!  I mean, if he’s still running – and running pretty fast – at 66, then you have no excuse – right?  And from the looks of it, it turns out that not only running fast runs in the family but also stellar blogging lol.  Enjoy – and big congrats to Uncle Joe and everyone else who ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this year!

Pittsburgh Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay Marathon  May 5, 2013

 ……….as I approached the Half Marathon finish line, I looked to my far right noticing out of the corner of my eye a lone runner sprinting, and after thinking a moment I realized, hey the winner of the mens Marathon running twice my distance beat me to the finish…..He did have a six minute head start. LOL

It all started two hours, nine minutes and fourteen seconds ago there I stood in singlet and shorts anxiously waiting my turn to tour 13.1 miles of Pittsburgh’s bridges and neighborhood.  This morning in Southwestern Pennsylvania presented near perfect weather conditions.  Sunny, dry, low humidity and temperature in the breezy 50’s.

You could feel an air of excitement, caution (with tightened security) and reverence to our running brothers and sisters of the Boston tragedy.  A moment of silence along with shirts, wrist bands and the accommodation of 37 Boston runners who were unable to finish the April 22nd race.

My strategy for the race was to run mile splits at a comfortable hard pace.  Last year I went out too fast struggling the last few miles.  My training for the past four months had been erratic so I was unsure about what pace I could hold.  I estimated around a ten minute pace which came close to the 9:52 that I averaged besting my time from last year by two minutes.

As in previous Marathon years Patrice Matamoros with her team and many volunteers pulled this one off successfully in light of the Boston bombing.

The Half Marathon course is mostly flat with a few short rolling hills with five inclines coming from the five bridges to be crossed.  The Marathon course as well crosses five bridges with one steep climb up into the Oakland neighborhood and again with a few short rolling hills and a lot of flat area.  Along the  course bands provided entertainment and motivation along with many spectators throughout the thirteen Pittsburgh neighborhoods.  Race organizers provided fluids, gels and medical facilities along the route.  The amenities (fruit, fluids, sweets) continued at the finish.  Point State Park was used as a reunion area and finish line festival area providing many recovery aids.

From the Goat:  Uncle Joe looking great and rockin' his medal after a stellar half!!!

From the Goat: Uncle Joe looking great and rockin’ his medal after a stellar half!!!

There was a record setting 22,143 finishers in all distances.  As a result organizers had wave start with corrals A,B,C,D,E to ease congestion the first three miles.  James Kirwa from Kenya won the mens Marathon race in a time of 2:13:37.  Mary Akor from California won the womens Marathon race in a time of 2:37:35.

On a sad note one of our fellow runners  23 year old Kyle Johnson collapsed at mile 12 and later was pronounced dead at a local hospital of “a inherited abnormality of the coronary artery system”.  Race director Patrice Matamoros said its a loss for the entire Marathon family, our hearts and prayers go out to his family.

I missed wishing friends good luck because of the large crowd and corral assignments.  I did see two of my fellow runners by chance at the finish line festival, then using texting and facebook to hand out accolades to my other race friends.

The ideal weather conditions presented many racers with the opportunity to achieve a personal best time.  One of my friends Laura bested her 2012 Marathon time by 15 minutes.  Following the pack mentality she fell in with a pacer group that pulled her along.

Pittsburgh area is known as the city of bridges(446).  Its location is where  three rivers converge.  The Allegheny and Monongahela flow together forming the Ohio..  One of the pictures posted was taken in the Mon Wharf parking area showing the Monongahela river in the background.  The medal given to all finishers honors Pittsburgh’s past by having the logo “Runner of Steel” engraving (picture posted).

From the Goat: I am SO jealous.  Runner of Steel??? Best medal ever!

From the Goat: I am SO jealous. Runner of Steel??? Best medal ever!

I would highly recommend Pittsburgh as a class one destination Marathon and Half Marathon race.  I myself have run both and am already thinking about next years event.

Can’t wait till 2014!!!

 uncle joe shirt