Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mt Mitchell Marathon weekend - treacherous toll road, but a positive 3rd overall for women

Mt. Mitchell Marathon and Challenge:

After a long winter - this race proved to be a welcoming test of my training.

We started at the usual 7am (report at 6:45). The skies were clear; the temperature was in the 20s, and there was snow forecasted.
Because I had been reading about the adverse weather conditions, and because I was cold the weekend of the Woody Gap + Coosa adventure, I overdressed, so I was warm when I started. (I learned lessons this weekend - as I do with long races).
We started in downtown black mountain, and we progressed on pavement towards Montreat College. From there, usually we would have headed up the single track towards the toll road, which was a wide dirt road with lots of rocks, but this year, again becaues of the snow, the course went up the steep, steep paved road in Montreat College to the Toll Road.

At the first aid station, everyone quickly stopped to put on their yak traks or other traction devices. From there, the usually dirt road was covered in snow - deep snow. I was glad to have some traction devices over my shoes. The 4 wheelers had left tracks and had hardened the snow, but it was still slow going. Even with the traction devices, much of my effort was spent trying to stay vertical. The sections for feet placement were narrow, and I had to balance and keep running.

We reached the turn around point for the marathon at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Challengers kept going while we turned around. Going downhill was a welcome reprieve from the climbing. The upper section had mostly melted, so I was able to start the trek downhill with speed. I think it was pent up frustration from the slow going and balancing act to the turn around that helped the speedy downhill. Here, again - the lesson of not wearing too many layers -

After we took the toll road downhill, we hopped back on the pavement and took the trail and road back into black mountain.

23 miles later and 3 hours and 48 minutes later - I was done and had finished 3rd overall for women. i was sooo excited!!!

It was a great race, and it provided me with confidence to race longer distances.


jenn said...

OMG!! I can't believe that was you!! I've been following your blog and I had no idea that was who you were on saturday!! you RAWKED it sara!!
( I was the girl who told you#2 was 2 min in front of you) the top 3 women were completely hammering. I hate you didn't run up on her, then only reason I said anything was because you just looked REALLY stronger than she did.
YAY!! what races are you running next? I'm running terrpain mtn 50k end of march.
anyways! hope to see you at another race! Congratulations on a well run race! ( toll road was HARD to navigate! )

take care! ((HUG))

jenny nichols

Sara said...

Hey!!! Thanks for the tip. Yeah I felt so strong - that woman must have felt good too. I was cruising down hoping to catch her in part because of what you said. Thanks again...
My next race is the twisted ankle marathon in May. I would love to run the terrapin mtn 50k, but it is too far for me.
Yes, that would be great to see you!