run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bell Ringer 25K Race Report

The race was held at Montgomery Bell State Park which is about 45 minutes from Nashville. The Park was offering a package deal for room and meals the night before the race and since the race started at 7am in the morning, the decision to stay there overnight was a no brainer. The KoB and I actually managed to escape work a smidge early and got to the park before it got dark.

We checked in, got our race packets, and then headed to the buffet for an early dinner. Now, I was fully prepared for there to be VERY little on the buffet for me to eat. Particularly since it was advertised as a Pasta Buffet and I try to steer clear of gluten before long runs/races. However, I was pleasantly surprised. They had a really well stocked salad bar and delicious baked potatoes. They even had a veggie lasagna dish that was low on the pasta and high on the cheese. Since it wasn't a goal race, and I cheated and had a little bit of it. No regrets. And the best part of all.... SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM MACHINE!

This is what I do to Soft Serve Machines.

So, yeah, the food was great. The rooms? Ehhhhh... You know when you are watching an episode of Dateline and they show the motel that the "innocent" husband stops at as he was fleeing going out of town for an "impromptu" trip? Yeah, that's what the room looked like. Except it did have a great view of a lake. And it was clean. 

It was worth staying in a 1974 decorated motel room to be able to just leave 15 minutes before the race started and head to the start line, though.

My friend Liz had signed up for the race as well and so we found each other beforehand and started the race together. The race started with a long stretch on the road, which I always welcome, as it gives people a chance to get warmed up and fall naturally into their paces (after their initial take off too fast pace). After the road, the trail was still pretty wide, so it made for a really nice first few miles of the course. 

When we finally did hit the single track trails, the first thing I noticed was how nice the trails were and it dawned on me that they had actually taken the time to blow the leaves off the trail. It was amazing!!!! 

Liz and I stuck together and ran and chatted non-stop for the first 11 or so miles. (My apologies to anyone around us who had to hear us blathering on and on about radon and family Christmas plans). We were having a blast. The trails were pretty easy and we took our time and when we hit the aid station around mile 9, I couldn't believe that we had ran that far already! 

Me and Liz killing it.

And then a couple of miles later... the inevitable happened. I BONKED. And bonked hard. I started to feel it coming on and I ate a couple of fig newtons at the aid station, but at that point, it was probably too late. I started to slow down significantly. I got a little foggy headed, regretted not carrying a handheld or any food, and on one of the steep uphill hikes, my calves started to twinge like were wanting to cramp. 

I still managed to push myself and run as much as I could. But slowly. There were few people during this stretch (Liz smoked me around mile 10 or so) and it was a struggle to stay in the zone mentally and physically. 

 Yeah, it looked like this.

I finally finished and immediately ran back to my hotel room where I was just completely out of it for about 20 minutes. I tried to lay in bed (although I just could not get comfortable or concentrate on laying down) and I forced myself to eat a little popcorn and drink some water. I didn't take a shower, because I knew I didn't have the energy to blow dry my hair and there was no way I was going out in the 40 degree weather to spectate the 50K with wet hair. Eventually I started to feel a little bit better. I put on about 15 layers of clothes and headed back outside. 

When I finally recovered, I was actually pretty happy with my race. Sure, it wasn't pretty at the end, but I pushed and I never just gave up and decided to hike it in. I kept at it, and ran/shuffled whenever I could. I was also pretty encouraged by the fact that the finishing times were slower than I had thought they would be, so the trail was tougher than it felt. 

The KoB finished the 50K well and when I saw him come out of the woods, I KNEW he was 3rd male overall, so as I tried to run behind him to the finish line, I told him that and then someone else told me that I had forgotten a guy, so he wasn't. OOOPS. Sorry. (And according the results there were a couple of other guys in there. But there is no way I forgot 3 guys finishing. But it doesn't matter, anyway). 

A race pic of The KoB and the KoB's brother.

Overall, I loved the race. The aid stations could have had gels and the trails could have been marked a little better. Also, I could have done without the controversy of the park rangers giving runners lifts after they had gotten lost. But, it was the first year of the race and the fact that they blew the leaves off most of the trail was HUGE to me. 

I will definitely be back next year and I'll fuel better AND I'll run the 50K.

1 comment:

Gracie said...

Sounds like this turned out to be a positive experience after all. Your first post was like a nightmare! But for a first time race, they did some good things (maybe work on the volunteer training and scoring...).