What’s this? A timely race report? Give this girl a gold star!
On Saturday I ran the Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 miler at Oak Mountain and had an absolute blast! Remember how much fun I had at the Chicago Marathon? This was its trail equivalent. It was a three hour-long runner’s high (or actual high—there were some Dave Matthews fans hidden somewhere along the course still enjoying themselves).
Keeping with this theme for a sec, let me tell y’all about the most memorable part of the race. I met Chris Turner on the course (hey buddy!) and he was wearing a kilt. A kilt. A man-skirt. So naturally, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and we spent some time discussing the benefits of a kilt, where one can acquire a kilt, and whether to compression short-up or free ball. I decided that we need kilts for the BUTS to wear test. With shorts. Anyway.
As I mentioned on Friday, this race was going to be my longest run time and distance-wise since Mississippi 50—so that, plus the climbs in 90-degree weather made me a bit nervous. But like last week, my only goal was to take it easy and finish happy and healthy.
I got to Oak Mountain early to help David and Marye Jo Tosch set up. I heart these two. They put on the best races and are the sweetest couple around. Plus, I always enjoy listening to their adventures running ultras and volunteering in Colorado.
The race started on the Yellow Trail with some small(ish) climbs to warm us up for the hellish hike up to Shackleford Ridge. I hung with fellow Resolute Runner Olivia for a bit and talked about her training for her first 100, then stuck my headphones in and powered up the White Trail.
The first three miles of climbs felt surprisingly great—I was singing along to Fun., making friends, then passing them as the White Trail started devouring its prey one by one. If I had a dollar for every runner who registered for the 12-miler, then got on the course and decided that one round of hell was more than enough, I’d be a rich girl. Oak Mountain held an Xterra race last weekend that included a half marathon, so it seemed like a lot of runners thought this race would be similar in difficulty level. Not quite, kiddos. If I were a “bless your heart” kind of girl, I would have been doling them out left and right. Instead, I got sadistic pleasure in their surprise and suffering and cheerfully told them that it was only May—this is an easy Tosch race. I’m a bitch.
Once the course flattened out at the top of the ridge and then dropped downhill, it was all a blur. I haven’t really run Oak Mountain much in the summertime, so all of the trails looked different and lush with flowers and fairy tale-like. I could have run that winding single track all day.
I made it back to the Start/Finish aid station feeling like a million bucks. I got to talk to my BUTS buddies Greg, Drew, and Sachiko for a moment, but unlike other races, I actually grabbed fuel and water and left instead of loitering too long or deciding that I was finished. One step closer to becoming an aid station ninja!
The second loop was what I was initially worried about, because I knew it’d be hotter, there’d be fewer runners to chat with, and I’d be more tired. While the three miles of hills were definitely a lot more challenging, I never felt like I had to stop to rest or take a nap or pass out. Whenever the going got tough, I would rock out to John Mayer and Matt Nathanson and Backstreet Boys. Yes, I am a teenybopper.
After having another great time at the top of the ridge and tearing down the Yellow/White Connector successfully without breaking all of my bones, I was ready to blaze through the last 1.5 miles. And then I got back onto the final hills of the Yellow Trail. And the heat and my 10+ miles already run at a fast(er) pace hit me square in the face. Or, as Drew eloquently said later on, “Alabama summer put its foot square up my ass.” I went from being happy as a clam to thinking I would puke/pass out/fall off the hill to my death. I kept pushing though—if I was going to pass out, I might as well do it dramatically at the finish line where friends could cart off my sweaty, smelly body.
No worries though—I finished smiling and in one piece.
Looking back, I think a large part of the race going well as due to fuel/hydration. I made sure to drink like a camel the day before and ate clean, vegetarian noms. During the race I carried my half water half Gatorade concoction in my handheld, ate my trusty chips and Coke at the aid station, and took a Gu after the final climb on White to give me enough energy to finish strong. Post-race, Mountain Dew saved me from seeing stars. All-around win that I’ll replicate for the next race.
So, if you’re still reading this, I am sitting here with zero soreness, ready to lace up my shoes and tackle my next training plan. This girl is BACK!