What a weekend! I entered some new territory and ran 22 miles on the Tully Trail Saturday and got up the next morning and ran the Pisgah 50k. Technical terrain and mountain running are not my strong points and I have been working really hard to improve my skills.
The Tully trail was crazy. Some of the climbs were so steep and rocky that I found them to be even more difficult than the Wapack course. Scrolling over my Strava data it looks like the grades were 30-49% in some spots. I was definitely using my hands for some sections. Either grabbing rocks to pull myself up or using trees on the way down to slow and steady myself so I didn’t wipe out. There was a beautiful section that had us on the edge of a cliff looking down at a massive waterfall. The footing was really tricky and I was thankful for the steel cable fence preventing me from slipping off of the side.
It was extremely humid and hot. I stuck with my goal of trying to run even splits in the first and second half. Occasionally the single track would lead to wide carriage roads where I could pick up some speed. I caught up with a guy named Bob at around mile 9 and we stuck together for a while chatting up a storm. At one point there were property markers out in the woods that had the same color as the course markings and I headed the wrong way a few times. Bob was running the “Half-Ass” so 11.6 miles. I said my farewells and continued on after we hit his last aid station.
There were a lot of huge downed trees in the next section and I had to climb over many of them and one of them left me no option but to crawl under it. The humidity and heat were so intense and I was running out of water because I was squirting some on my head so I didn’t overheat. I found a feather on the ground and stuck it in my visor hoping that it would give me some trail magic.
I finally came out to another aid station. They told me that the woman behind me was hanging in but she wasn’t feeling very well. I chugged some Gatorade and asked them to pour water on me so I could cool down. One of the volunteers mentioned that I was only 7 minutes behind the guy in front of me so I ran off to go find him.
It took me a while to realize that I totally forgot to refill my water bottle. Oh crap! I was too hot and already overheating. The next section spit out onto road in the open hot sun. I spotted Brett ahead of me and slowly closed the gap. I asked him if we had another aid station and he was pretty sure that there were none left until the finish. He was also overheated and bonking and I refused to take any water from him because he had so little. I started to ascend Tully mountain. The next mile had 700 feet of elevation gain. I started to feel a little bit woozy and that is when it happened. I PUKED!!! The first time ever in a race. And the contents that came out were chewed up grapes and red Gatorade that combined looked exactly like internal organs. OMG. Poor Brett caught up just in time to see it. We both notched it down a bit and finished the ascent. We came out to the most beautiful scenic area I have seen on a course. We were on open rock looking down at Tully lake and the beautiful foliage. I wish I had my phone to take pictures!
The heat was unrelenting and we still had 3 miles left and I had not a drop to drink. We ended up on a dirt road with some houses so kept my eyes peeled for people because I wanted to ask for water. We were both in rough shape and our jaws hung open when we ran by a swimming pool. Ooh that would be nice. I was thinking of knocking on someones door to ask for a fill up when I heard something behind me. It was Bob!! He was behind us in his truck. I leaned in the window and said “DUDE!! Do you have any water?” He tossed me a bottle. Total lifesaver!!! Despite a wrong turn at the very end Brett and I crossed the finish line together. (4:44)We were only about ten minutes behind Chris who finished first. 22 miles and 3,00 feet of climb!
I was feeling a little sore and stiff the next morning. I met Tony before sun up and we headed to Pisgah for the 50k.
We got our bibs and race swag and shuffled to the start line. I found my friend Maureen and several other familiar faces.
I have to admit that Pisgah actually seemed easy after Tully. It was less technical and I was so thankful for the soft pine forest floor. I was told that we had 4,800 feet of climb but it was more gradual and the footing was better. Despite my fatigue I planned on trying to run even splits again. Don’t let anyone pass me in the second half and try to reel as many people in as possible. Slow and steady. Once again it was HOT. Someone said that it hit the 90’s. The humidity was so thick that breathing was tough and everything was sticky. My poor buddy Chris, who also ran the Tully Pisgah double, chafed so bad that his whole torso was rubbed raw. I stopped twice and washed off in a stream bed to cool down. My watch had a major malfunction and was giving the wrong mileage. Stay hydrated, hike the steeps and control the descents. It was a long day of making new friends and having strange trail conversations. During those 31 miles I discussed the topics of nude sports, civet cats that poop out coffee beans, dresses that match your bruises, what’s better? Washing with wet wipes or getting fire hosed?
After hours upon hours of hills, twists, turns, bridges, rocks and mud, the trail dumped me out onto a road. I was so hot that my vision was hazy and I saw a tall person and short person flapping their arms around. Huh? It was Tony and Maureen!! They ran the short course and were hanging out waiting for me. I thought I had 3 miles left because my watch was broken but I only had .7 miles left to the finish line! I believe my time was 6:19:32. My friend Fred Ross got some amazing shots of the day. Including me receiving a certificate for the 2017 Tully Pisgah double! First place (and only) female to finish both courses. I have bragging rights for a year and someone will have to chase down my record if they want it next year. Who knows, I might be back to do it again!! Right now, time to recuperate and get ready for TARC 50 miler on September 30th. Woohoo! Thanks for reading my blog!