|Start line at Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, TN|
This is the third year I've done this race, and I was on team Ultra Stupid with Brad, Craig, Chris, Matt, and Noland. In 2010, I was on team Franklin Thunder, which was an ultra team and of the almost same composition as this team (Brad, Craig, Todd, Chris, Andy and me, with Noland driving). In 2011, I was on team The Village People with Andrea, Heather, Sarah, Ashley, Casey, Bryan, Jon, Amanda, Sarah, Zac, and one other whose name I can't remember.
Our start time was 8:30am, so we left Franklin Friday morning and got there early enough to go through the safety briefing and get to the start line. The sun was shining and it was only a bit chilly, and it was going to be a perfect day.
|Exchange at Leg 8 - getting the baton|
My 1st leg was #8, 5.9 miles, started at 2:24pm. Time 47:47, pace 8:07.
My 2nd leg was #14, 5.7 miles, started at 7:22pm. Time 47:27, pace 8:17.
My 3rd leg was #20, 3.06 miles, started at 12:21am. Time 25:21, pace 8:17.
My 4th leg was #25, 5.23 miles, started at 3:18am. Time 46:39, pace 8:55.
My 5th leg was #29, 5.15 miles, started at 6:43am. Time 45:30, pace 8:50.
My 6th (FINAL!) leg was #33, 8.9 miles, at 10:03am. Time 1:21:29, pace 9:11.
Total mileage was 33.94, and average pace was 8:40. Total run time was 04:54:22.
Total mileage was 196.6, and average pace was 9:00. Total run time was 29:33:58.
Results: 96/233 Teams. 7/16 Ultra Teams. 6/10 Men's Ultra. 2/5 Men's Submasters Ultra.
Fastest finishing time: 22:09:00. Our finishing time: 29:33:58. Slowest finishing time: 36:47:35.
|I look like my mom in this picture.|
I tried to relax between legs but still got out of the van at nearly every exchange. That was probably the best decision I made, because my legs never really felt ridiculously tired at any point. Oh, it was hard, but it wasn't too hard.
#8 was in the daylight. #14, #20, and #24 were in the dark, but I could always see someone in front of me. For leg 4, the one at 3am, I caught up to a few people about half a mile in and ran with them for 2 miles even though it was (for me) a slower pace. I didn't want to run alone, so I hung back. When I got sick of running slow, I went on ahead but for most of the time could hear at least the girl chatting behind me. It motivated me to keep going, so I did.
|Sunrise at Exchange 28, Page High School|
#29 was probably the hardest for me, so I took it a little easier by running a mile/walking a minute/running to the mile marker/walking a minute and repeating until the finish (and enjoying the sunrise). I knew that leg 6 would hurt but would be easier because Anna and Valerie would be there to run with me.
Leg 6 went by super fast because I had company. Anna was running and Val was on her bike, and both made the miles go by quickly. It is a hard leg regardless, but as the 6th of 6 and with a marathon already in my legs, every hill was higher and every downhill was flatter. Still, we pushed through. We started running a mile/walking 1 or 2 min, and then when we hit a significant-looking hill, we walked a minute/ran a minute. After that, for the downhill, we just ran, and then we saw the 1-mile-to-go sign, and then we just kept going. I was so grateful those ladies were there with me. Also, my teammates were at the about-halfway point with some water. Val was carrying gatorade for me, but the water was just what I needed then and well-accepted.
When I finally finished, it took me at least 10 minutes to change from my dirty running clothes into something clean and dry. I was just utterly exhausted. But once I got some clean clothes on and some real food in my, it was much easier to stay awake until the end of leg #36 and the finish! We finished at 2:04pm, about 29:30 after we started
|Done! Brad, Matt, and Noland|
Chris, me, and Craig
We got some pizza and I got a Diet Coke at the finish line, and then I waited for a much-appreciated massage. By the time that was done, I was ready to do another leg. Or maybe crash for the rest of the day! The weather was perfect, I packed everything I needed and didn't overpack, my body and mind were strong, I liked the team I was on, and I wasn't dead at the end. I think I might do it again next year :-)
Honestly, though, I felt great, all things considered. Good enough to go out to Percy Warner Park today for a (very slow) 5-mile hike.