from Traci’s Journal
BLISTER IN THE SUN MARATHON:
I have a friend/RD who has asked me to come run his race for several years…Blister in the Sun Marathon. It’s in Tennessee, which is a short drive from where I live. I finally had a free August and thought it would be a good training run. My running partner Jeff and I decided to go down and run it. I had predetermined that I would run 8:15 to 8:30 pace for the marathon, as this was a training run. Jeff was going to run it how he felt and test his marathon fitness.
We picked up our bibs and skirt/shorts (instead of a shirt) the day before at a local running store. My favorite thing about this race are the personalized bibs! The RD individually draws and colors them (with the help of his lovely wife) and tailors them to each individual. There was a runner named Olaf, who got a bib with Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen on it. There was a couple who had bibs that said “Ankle-bitten” with a guy lying on his back being pulled by a dogleash which trailed off the side of his bib. His wife/girlfriend’s bib said “Ankle-biter” and had a dog running on it with the leash trailing off the side of her bib. They were cool individually or could be put side by side to match them together like a puzzle, connected by the leash…so cool and creative.
I received the MOST AWESOME AND THE COOOLEST BIB I HAVE EVER HAD! He drew a sun (star?) holding a record…because I have the 48-Hour record. Too cool!
As I said, this was a training run, and I apparently packed as such (in other words not very carefully). I had forgotten my water bottle and my ipod. This was billed (with a little exaggeration) as a hot, hilly race where you would die from the heat. When the race started, I realized I had forgotten to turn on my Garmin, so I had no idea how fast I was going (again…I guess not taking this race too seriously). I started running with some friends of mine: Josh, the RD, Meredith, Francesca, and others at a pace that could have been correct. I told myself I didn’t care about placement (although I couldn’t help but notice that one girl took off hard ahead of our group)…”run your pace, I told myself.” So, I decided to settle in with my friends until my watch came up. I enjoyed catching up with Meredith while running, and somehow ended up discussing things that irritate us. I had to laugh, because did/do the same thing…when something came up in conversation that got us fired up, we temporarily picked up the pace. About 1.5 miles in, my watch finally came up. I asked Meredith to let me know when 2 miles was so that I could start my watch at an easy mileage for easy addition later. When we got to the 2 mile mark, we were right around 8:00 min/mile pace. Because I had forgotten my ipod, the pace was enjoyable, and the conversation was great, I just kept running with the group.
I gave Josh a bunch of crap because he said there would be water every 1-2 miles. We got to the first spot for water and it wasn’t there yet. We got to the 4th spot for water and there wasn’t any there either. I told him it was no wonder he said people would die from the heat at his race…there was no water! It was a total joke. He offered me some water out of his bottle, which I took and told him that he should run with me the whole way and be my water boy. We laughed. There was water set up at 4 places on the 5.25 mile loop by the 2nd lap (2 on the first lap), so there was really no need for concern. A couple of volunteers hadn’t shown last minute and had caused the initial water delay, but it was quickly remedied. I never worried about water, but it was fun to chat with Josh and dish crap back and forth as usual.
We had 5 loops to do. For at least 3, Josh, Meredith, and I were mostly together. My running partner, Jeff was ahead a bit and we would say good job as we passed each other. That is one nice thing about loop courses…there are always people around to talk to, so it never gets lonely. At some point, the girl in first started to have hip issues and dropped back, putting Meredith and I in the lead. Neither of us was chomping at the bit. So, we just kept running about 8:00 pace. By the last lap, she had dropped back a bit. I realized that I could get my 20th marathon win, putting me on a world list for marathon wins. So, I think I may have negative-split, running a 3:29. It was a fun day. The pace felt easy and it was nice to run a low-key race and see so many people along the way.We received jars of jalapeños, staying with the HOT theme of the race.
I ran in Altra One2.5, my favorite Altra for marathon distance or less. I wore my favorite running skirts skirt, drymax socks, and took 2 or 3 Hammer gels during the run, followed up with some Recoverite. I greatly appreciate my sponsors for helping me make my training and racing that much easier!
YETI SNAKEBITE 50K:
So, I like to do races as training runs sometimes, because it adds variety to training, and gives you a chance to go to new places. I was super excited about this race in part because of the name. I love races with cool names or cool medals…I always have. I recently saw a downhill marathon called “Jack and Jill Marathon”…that is hilarious…I have to run that one sometime, just because. Anyway, the RD for the Yeti Snakebite 50k, Jason Green (a friend of Joe Fejes), was super nice and welcoming. Plus, the course sounded fun. My husband came with me, along with my running partner Jeff, and two friends from my running group, Thad and Julie.
We picked up packets race morning and got the low-down on the race. Jason was hilarious in his pre-race instructions…love the short/sweet/fun race info! We got started down a parking lot for about 1/4 mile before turning on some sweet single track…roots…before the sun was fully up…uh oh…thankfully I didn’t fall (at least at that time). Jeff and I decided to run together for the race which was a nice change. We usually race separately, but neither of us was racing. We got lost briefly, missing a marking about 3.5 miles into the race.
The course had a lot of variety: roots, rocks, stairs, a little minor bush-wacking, hills, a bridge, and a tiny bit of road (at the start/finish). I really liked the 1st 1/2 of the loop, as it was along the river and was really scenic. The second 1/2 of the loop was more in the woods with longer climbs and longer downhills. Jeff and I ran together and talked. On the 2nd loop, my running partner had to make a pit stop, so I slowed my pace so he could more easily catch back up. While he was gone, I bit it on a rock, managing to fall and injure all 4 of my extremities (large gash on my left elbow, cut on my right hand, and bloodied both knees)…when I fall…I do it right! It wasn’t long after the fall that my running partner caught back up and joked that he can’t leave me alone for a minute. We continued to run the loop and have fun. Each loop was supposed to be 10.3-ish miles. We consistently came around 1:35-ish each loop. Loop 3 was no different. Now, I signed up for this race for the Georgia heat. Instead, we got totally poured on, which was a blast! I love running in the rain…it always makes me feel like a little kid, running and jumping in the puddles and getting muddy.
We ran loop 3 and caught up with the only girl who had been ahead of me. She was running the 50 miler and told me I was in good shape…that there were only like 3 guys ahead of me. I told her I was impressed. She was running the 50 miler and had gone out in a good clip. We talked for a few minutes and then ran ahead for the second 1/2 of the loop. We came upon my friends Thad and Julie and talked to them briefly before heading to finish it out. We ended up finishing in 4:47, in 2nd and 3rd overall. I had to laugh because this race was a hoot! We got a bottle of beer for a finsher’s medal that has a unicorn on it and says “22 ounces of magic”. Jeff won a skateboard for 2nd overall and I got a wood-carved bottle opener with a Yeti on it. The bib said “Snake Bite on Ya’ Ass” and the shirt said “Our races are magical”.
I ran in Altra Superior 2.0’s, my favorite trail shoe ever. I one of my darker colored running skirts (knowing I would fall and you wouldn’t see the dirt as much), drymax socks, and took 5 Hammer gels during the run, followed up with some Recoverite. I greatly appreciate my sponsors for helping me make my training and racing that much easier!
August was a fun month of training with friends in TN and GA!