Wednesday, June 23, 2010

if i had a bag, it would be sweating !

it was SO hot, my legs were sweating !!!

first 'pylon' road trip of the year. it had been in the planning since, i think, the 'don't run boxing day' run at the captains' on december 26th. if all went according to plan, and of course it never does, i was to join the boys for a 3 day stage race in chattanooga, tennessee on the weekend of june 18, 19 and 20. as some of you may remember, the whole texas/rocky raccoon fiasco caused major complications with my stoopid feet, and so come the week to leave, i was 'on the fence', having only put in minimal mileage since february. my longest run up until then was way back on april 24th - a mere 17.9 miles. this race consisted of 3 days, averaging 20 miles per day.

on the tuesday before departure, i still wasn't sure. frantic phone call to moose. 'are you sure i can do this??' 'yes grammaw, you will be fine, you have a ton of endurance training and that will kick in once you start running.' 'but what if i get injured, my foot is still sore ya know?!' 'i think it'll be fine. worse case scenario is you're back to where you started, and then WE'LL ALL be miserable.' 'oh, okay.' so just in case, i got some american money, bought some travel insurance, arranged a drop-off and pick-up, and warned a few of my clients i 'might' be going away. at 1:23pm, i emailed the captain and told him i was 95% IN. naturally, i had to fit in one last crossfit session before i left - just in case! after much more deliberation and a talk with christine, i again emailed the captain, at 3:39pm, and informed him i was 99% in. poor captain! finally, at around 8:30 that night, i fully committed. this gave me a couple of hours to call/email clients, confirm rides, and pack. no problem!

homey, who wasn't able to join us - big sad face - was my ride to meet the guys. we stopped at country style on the way, and he managed to spill a good half of my coffee on his pants. doh! good thing they were brown ! and so, just after 9am, the 4 pylons - captain, me, cy and digger - crammed all our stuff into the pt cruiser and headed for the border.

and speaking of the border, guess which car got randomly selected to be searched . . . for god sakes! i couldn't stop laughing and the captain was having a major panic attack. they figured we were pretty harmless when told the only food we were carrying was a bunch of gels and some trail mix, and that the only sharp thing we had was a pair of toenail clippers! not sure if mr. customs guys believed me when i said i wasn't laughing at him though !!! i think the final straw was when they opened the back of the cruiser and decided it would be easier to just take our word for it than try to pull one bag out without all the others falling on the pavement! yeehaw!

we made it as far as kentucky that day, and had dinner at some grill overlooking the water. here's a shot of digger doing his best marty feldman impression while drinking a 32oz beer ! nnnice !

and imagine our surprise at discovering tv's at every booth! me and the cap quickly managed to find a station playing old flintstone reruns. this was the one where fred was pretending to be a doctor!!! hilarious!

the next day we drove to chattanooga, but not before stopping at a varsity supply store for me and digger. home of the tennessee volunteers. holy orange !! can you spot the pylon ????

the captain had rented us this amazing house in chattanooga. here's a pic of me in the bathroom of my 'princess suite'. holy crap !! it's bigger than the treehouse !! AND THERE'S A CHAIR IN MY BATHROOM !!!

so here we are at the start of stage one - a 22 mile section on lookout mountain. and i must mention at this point, at about 8 in the morning, the temperature was above 90 and the humidity was 100% - ARGH !!!!!!!!!!

digger had already stabbed himself with a branch while heading into the woods for a whiz, causing a laceration, and the captain and i were sweating just standing there. according to the beaver, cy is part camel, so he was fine !

this is a section along the powerlines heading up to an aid station. it was REALLY hot!!!! here is a pic of one of my new buddies, nick nicholson from nashville.

cool shot from the ridge

they were nice enough to give us ropes for this little out-and-back section !

waterfalls close to the finish.

it was a pretty good day in all. i finished in 5 hours and 10 minutes AND my foot was fine ! incredible ! we cooled down with a nice long soak in the creek and the cap and i indulged in a greasy burger from wendy's on the way back to the house. mmmmmmmmm !

stage two was a bit shorter - 18 miles on raccoon mountain. the day started off JUST as warm, and the sun was shining. within 5 minutes the sweat was running off my chin !

a couple shots from stage 2

i managed to stay with nick for most of the race, but he eventually pulled ahead with those long legs of his and left me to manage the 'small intestine' on my own. (this was a really cool windy trail at about the halfway mark that would have been fabulous for mountain biking.) and i guess i should have run a bit faster cuz with a mile to go, it started to pour. and thunder. and lightning. me and this girl were a couple hundred yards from the finish when a huge bolt of lightning hit, causing us to sprint to the end!!! and my 'ever-concerned' pylons were waiting for me in the cruiser - cap got a picture of me from inside the car. it was pretty funny! my time for the day was 3:48 and again, i was overjoyed !

stage 3 was 20 miles on signal mountain. and again, it was steamy hot at the start. as usual, the 'fast' pylons were long gone, and i settled into a nice easy 'dora' pace. i met up with some super nice people. one in particular, stephanie, was telling me about her life-long goal to hike the appalachian trail this year. how cool is that??? she was kind of burnt out from all the training she'd done, and wasn't in a 'happy place' at first. i got her talking, and eventually she was kicking ass on the technical sections - her speciality!! we then hooked up with a couple of characters from indiana - jim and curt ! and man could jim belch - you could hear him all over the trail !! and out of the blue, this quiet guy michael appeared at the 'end of the train'. he didn't add much to the conversation, but i'm sure he was entertained ! here's a shot of the 4 of them on one of the suspension bridges we had to cross.

one of the saweet single track sections.

the gang in front of the mushroom rock.

yet another wicked view.

at one point i think there were about 10 of us picking our way through a really 'un-runnable' section, including jon from manchester (who i'd met the day before) and tracy, a friend and running partner of steph's. now she was a riot ! anyways, they let me lead, even after i did a face-splat into the creek ! it was beautiful through this part, and it actually went fairly fast with all of us to distract each other. at the final water station, with 3.5 miles to go, our little group split up but still all managed to come in within minutes of each other. my time for the day was 5:38 and i felt it was the best run of all 3. the pylons were waiting for me at the finish, all having had a great run too.

here's a pic of me and manchester.

me, michael, tracy, manchester and steph

curt and jim soaking in the turtle pool .

me celebrating with a small sip of 'crown'.

and i just had to get this picture of our feet once we were all done !!!

so here's to yet another fab road trip with the pylons! thanks guys - that was amazing !


  1. That water in the pool looks kind of yellow................

  2. Huge congrats! Sounded like an amazing trip and race. Great that everything seemed to hold up ok.

  3. Not sure if you saw this...