Monday, March 1, 2010
Mt Cheaha 50k - A Rockin Beauty!
50k race wearing my Mountain Masochist...and thankfully my feet were happy the whole time...read on....
I just returned from my 50k race in Alabama, Mt. Cheaha. The travel getting there was beyond an ultra, delays, cancellation, plane issues...on and on. But finally, after the many hours of waiting and transferring flights...I arrived - late that is. By the time I got to my hotel room it was past midnight. By the time I got to bed, it totalled a full 2 1/2 hours sleep. For a race like Mt. Cheaha, sleep is a necessity! And you will soon know why....
So, I headed on over. The start of the race had alot of energy. My teammate Annette was bubbling with energy. I could see she was going to have a great day. I was just trying to keep awake! When the "Sweet Home Alabama" song went off, we started. And off we went.
The trail was beautiful, but very, very technical. Take your eyes off your footing and you will fall flat on your face, or butt, or legs, or hands. My hand modeling job will never exist...they are beyond desired. I had thought I broke my pinkie at one point and all I could think was "well, who needs a pinkie but for picking noses"...actually I said it out loud. I played leap frog with a man almost the whole race and he had the benefits of hearing my gibberish. Such has "g...dammit" and "gosh darn it" and "for pete's sake" and "frickin rocks" and on and on...for every fall. Oh yeah, sleep...maybe would have prevented some of those falls!
Concentration...for the elevations, the rocks, was very important. Rocks...all kinds of rocks - my, my. For the many times I slammed my feet I am surprised how awesome they held up, again, thank you to Mountain Masochist. To add to all the gibberish, I just became comical about the whole thing and was thinking of a good Dr. Seuss book that could come out of all of this: "Rocks, Rocks, Rocks, big rocks, small rocks, flat rocks, tall rocks, how many rocks can you hop before you fall. Rocks over creeks, rocks over roots, rocks over leaves, rocks under trees...lets talk about Rocks". yes, my leap frog runner had the benefits of listening to that too. Sorry man!
So, I actually started to wake up a bit as the race went on. At whatever add station (4 maybe) I was in a rush to get in and out. So I grabbed whatever and just took on down the fire road, which was a very steep downhill...and I loved it, and I flew, and I was looking for those little pink flags, and I ran, and then I heard a van which a person yelled out "excuse me runner, you are going the wrong way"....and I just had some choice words under my breath to myself. I was pretty much out of my way which probably took about 15 min. They drove me back up the hill to get me back on the trail. Awesome volunteers, didn't have to do that! Oh yeah, sleep would have probably prevented that mistake!
Ok, so I made up time and passed a few men (Annette was a flying fairy and passed me with much energy, I already checked it off that I lost her, especially after this last excursion). I eventually ended up on an asphalt road. Getting into my lala land, I of course, decide to follow some pink ribbon around some trees thinking that is where I go. And, lost again...but figured it out pretty quickly and hopped back to the road (its pink flags Jill...wake up!).
So, after many creek crossings, rolling rocks, up and down, trails on the edge of the mountain, I come to the last aid station. And only 3 miles to go...."its all downhill from here...heee heee" yells the volunteers. And a sign within a few feet from them "VERY STEEP 1 MILE CLIMB". Running along the trail which was progressively going up, I thought "This is not bad" and then I see the arrow directing me to the left and there it is...the rocky (all big boulders) climb. And yes, it was an all four limb climb for the most part. Using those arms to pull up on some portions.
After that it was an easy go...and then the finish and then thankfully done. Great atmosphere afterwards. Great representation of Montrail. My Mountain Masochist shoes served me well...my feet were in awesome shape. Crossing the water creeks, the tough rocks, my drymax socks held up AWESOME as usual. The grey and orange are incredibly strong socks, both in support and wettness - not one blister. Truly amazing.
After that, I had my traditional margarita that night which put me to bed very quickly...much needed rest.
Go figure, the flights home were smooooth sailing. Next time, I will arrive with much time to rest before hand, because that has been one of the keys to good races for me.
Until next time! All in all, Mt Cheaha 50k is a 10 in my books. LOVED EVERY FALLING, ROCKY, STREAM CROSSING bit of it. And I would do it again!
Montrail, you know how to pick the races...organization and course have all been wonderful!