Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
Birmingham,  Race Reports,  Running,  Trail Running

Memorial Day 12-Miler Race Recap

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).

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
Upcoming races on my schedule
Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
The bling

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
How absolutely wonderful is this?!

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
So many runners ready to embrace the suck

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
David giving the runners some last-minute instructions

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
Olivia is always all smiles
Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
So ready to watch her rock the Hallucination 100 in September!

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
This friend said she couldn’t be paid enough to run this course twice
Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
Climbing into the clouds

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
A splash of pretty
Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
Running through the enchanted forest

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!

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
My “Hi Daddy, I’m still alive” selfie

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
It took every ounce of strength not to jump in the lake
Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
So.Many.Hills.

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
This isn’t a trail – it’s a rock garden

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.

Southeastern Trail Series Memorial Day 12 Mile, Oak Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running, ultra running
My trusty handheld and me at the top of Shackleford Ridge

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!

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