This is all about Sweet H20. Here is the race description...
"Sweetwater Creek State Park offers winding, moderately difficult trails in and around the park, following the lovely rapids of Sweetwater Creek, and venturing past Civil War-era textile mill ruins. This 50k crosses the Sweetwater Creek twice - you WILL get wet. (but that's the extra fun part!) The race will be open for 9 hours allowing for plenty of time for course completion. An intermediate cutoff of 4.5 hours at mile 17 will be enforced for runner safety."
Confederate Soldiers Start the Race With a Bang!
We hit the trail head after about 9 minutes and I'm out of breath, but moving quick through the forest. A few runners take off past me and we quickly run upon this drainage ditch around mile 2. As you can see there are two ropes on each side of the ditch. Rappel yourself down, cross the river, and then pull yourself up on the other side. What a great way to begin an ultra - I loved it!
Pictures will not do justice to these climbs. There are about 4-5 rolling & sun exposed climbs that let you see the next one in the distance. Here is a picture looking at the final climb after going up and down about four of these. It cant be overwhelming to look at it too long...
I took a deep breath and reminded myself one step at a time. I was pouring sweat at this point and my head was getting very dizzy. I knew that I was hot and very hungry. Something bad was about to happen, but I wasn't sure what. All that I knew to do was take two Scaps and keep moving. I drank my last bit of water to swallow them and I worked my way up the final climb to the top.
I was about to pass out at the top. I felt worse than I have every felt during a race. My head was on fire, dizzy, weak and I dashed towards some trees to vomit. And then one more time. I had one more mile to get to the aid station which had food. I ran hard since I just wanted to eat and had all of that water off my stomach.
One minute after getting sick I reached the hard earned TOTW...You could look out in all directions and see great views of the towns below. I didn't care - I wanted to eat and eat a LOT! I made it to the next aid station in about 10 minutes and ate well. Chocolate chip cookies, oranges, PB & Jelly sandwiches, jelly beans, and Gatorade. I felt like a new man & ready to run!
After leaving TOTW the trail takes you back down to the river, but it's not quiet that easy. There are three more massive & exposed climbs to conquer before you see the water again.
So now that I'm out of the river there are about 12 miles to go as I'm now 20 miles into the race. I chased down two Advil with a 5 Hr. Energy and got back on my way. The drugs kicked in after about 15 minutes and I was feeling fantastic. I enjoyed the next five miles as they rolled along the river with some incredible scenery. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and it had turned into a great run.