My parents and a friend went with me on Friday. After picking up my packet (including a super awesome Patagonia tech shirt!). We grabbed some dinner and then went to the Haunted Caverns at Ruby Falls. That turned out to be really fun! Then it was off to the hotel to get some shut eye.
I had known from stories of others who have run this race that it can be hard to find it. I had considered doing a dry run the day before, but since I was just doing the 11-miler I was pretty relaxed and didn't think it was necessary. This of course meant that it took us a while to find the race, but we had left early enough that we still had some time to kill before the start.
It was pretty cool and rainy. I find this the perfect weather for running, but I knew it meant I'd need to be more careful. Fortunately I was just here to run for fun, so I had no plans to go all out.
I started off just focusing on keeping an easy pace. The first couple of miles felt pretty easy... nothing too technical, nothing too steep or slick. After those miles, we came across a stretch that was pretty narrow and steep. Everyone I was near was just sort of in a line climbing through it all.
When we got to the first aid station, we were for real on the side of a mountain. Even though it was cloudy and rainy, it was still just beautiful. I thought about how cool it might be to come back and hike out here sometime.
It got a little steeper and more technical for the next few miles, but I chatted with a few people around me and the time went by quickly. I even saw Melissa from Nashville. I hadn't seen her in a while, so it was nice to catch up and also find out that her husband Jeff was taking on the 50K. (I later found out he killed it.)
I started feeling pretty tired the last 2-3 miles. The mud and rain had definitely made it harder to run, and I was a little tired of going uphill. I was definitely glad I didn't try to take on the 50K when I hadn't been able to do the training I had hoped to do.
I finished the race in 2:37, and I was pleased! For my first trail race ever, I felt it was a success - especially considering all the rain and mud.
We all grabbed lunch and then went to check out the Ruby Falls cave tour (surprisingly, I had never done it even though I have lived like an hour and a half away my whole life.) It was pretty neat.
It was definitely a fun experience, and I for sure want to go back and do the 50K sometime. Maybe next year!