Terri Hayes (Race Director) put on a two day option of running it on either Saturday, Sunday (or both) and runners enjoyed a spectacular day of clear blue skies with high temps in the upper 70's. This was a nice change to her older schedule when the race was held later in June. The cooler temps were appreciated by everyone. So were her great volunteers and homemade banana bread!
This was my 4th time running Chattooga and I've been up and down the course on several training runs so there was no worries of getting off course. As I've been improving my fitness over the past month I was a little concerned about some of the tough climbs and terrain.
My GPS ended up showing about 5,300 FT of climb over about 31 miles. At least 10 of these miles were along very technical trails littered by rocks and spidery systems of tree roots.
This is by no means an easy race, but if you're looking for a relatively safe and user friendly run to test yourself with, it's hard to beat this one.
The views along the river more than made up for it though.
This ended up to be a typical "steady" training run for me with nothing too out of the ordinary to speak of. I hit what is becoming my new normal low point around mile 15 in the race and thought that I would probably have to drop at the next aid station. I'm not sure what this has been happening over the last month, but it seems to be consistent so I'm just going to plan around it for the next race.
Scott H. was nice enough to hang around with me for most of the run and we enjoyed some scenic miles together along the river.
On the return trip to the finish around mile 27 we decided that it was just warm enough to jump in. The water was a bit breath taking at first, but was just perfect after about 15 minutes. We both noticed that our feet hurt for about a mile afterwards due to them going numb in the cold water.
I started feeling much stronger around mile 28 and felt like I could have easily kept running into the evening and night. This was very encouraging after battling through some tough runs over the past months.
I ended up with a 8:49 finishing time which was about 1:15 off my best time, but I messed around a lot on the trail enjoying myself. No regrets as I'm keeping my eye on the prize for my two 100's in the fall.
Here is the run data if you're interested:
Thanks to Tiana for the pictures & support.