Terri Hayes' Chattooga 50K race, but it was. It was a typical South Carolina weekend. Hot, Humid and Hazy. That's just what I've come to expect for this race.
I've been directing all of my training towards the July 30th running of the Foothills Trail and finishing The Pinhoti 100 Mile race later in the year. This would setup Chattooga as a great training run. Since I was scheduled for a 100 mile week I went up and ran about 20 miles on Saturday before the race from Cherry Hill up the Foothills Trail to Fish Hatchery.
I gotta admit - I was a little nervous about putting in 20 mountain miles before a tough 50K like this, but it didn't seem to phase me at all. I wanted to run both Saturday and Sunday at a solid, even pace.
I ended up finishing the race on Sunday about 35 (8:28) minutes slower than last year, but I was excited to do so with 65 miles on my legs from the previous 6 days of running. It's weird, but I actually felt better after running Chattooga this year then the previous other two. Much better as a matter of fact.
As always it was great to see my ultra running family. We all gathered around Terri for race instructions about 10 minutes before the race. Terri is well known for her long courses and this one is no different:
Winding Stairs Trail is the first section: 7 Miles
Big Bend Trail: 3 Miles
Chattooga River Section: 10 Miles
Downhill past aid station and back: 4 Miles
Chattooga River Section Again: 10 Miles
Big Bend Trail Again: 3 Miles
Total: 37 Miles
I ran a very even pace for most of the race. Hitting 9-10 min/miles on the downhills and walking some of the ups and technical areas at a 15/16 min/mile pace. I never pushed hard - just concentrated on staying steady.
I took a SCap every hour and tried to drink 40 oz. per hour. I stopped sweating (early heat exhaustion warning) for about 10 minutes near the finish so I had to walk and cool down for about 30 minutes. The heat was beating down by then and it was starting to take a toll.
Another added bonus after the race was to enjoy a hot shower in the brand new bathrooms! This made the drive home much better.
I really appreciate Terri putting on these great local ultras and thanks again to the volunteers who make it happen. Many of these folks stood out in the heat for 12 hours or more to allow us to play in the woods. I'm truly grateful.
I'm aiming for a 50K personal record at The Landsford Canal 50K on July 16h. My time to beat is 6:00:12.
Etiher way, I'm keeping my eye on the prize. July 30th - Foothills Trail 77 Mile FINISH!
Photo Credits: Susan Donnelly