What a great day! Picked up Brian (middle in the pic) at 7am and headed north to the Norris watershed park trails.
Started out in about 37 degree temperatures and cloudy skies. When we set out for the trail head we imediately had to consult the course map and would continue doing so throughout the first lap (sorry Brian!).
The course we were to follow is the course for the KTC's Norris Dam Hard Trail Race being held on September 5th this year. This race is part of KTC's Tread'n Trodden Trails race series. I highly recommend any race in this series for anyone into trail running - whether a beginner or seasoned veteran!
The First 15.5 mile lap of our day was completed in about 3:52 or so. We had a lot of map checking, rocks in shoes, bathroom breaks, food breaks etc... making it a lengthy lap. We got back to the car/aid station to re-supply. At this point I was in a bit of a funk; a mental low point of thoughts like 'why am I doing this' or 'this/that hurts' or 'maybe I'm not cut out for this', where every step seemed like a daunting task...
The funks I have gotten into on these distance runs are getting shorter, but I think they need not exist. I realize that the common belief is, as long distance runners, that we go through prescribed mental highs and lows. I don't think that we need to buy into this. I don't think these things just happen. I think we experience our thought and I also think we can be much more aware of this as we go, to not be merely reactionary, but rather to completely own our experience in every moment.
...so back to the run:
Just as we were ready to head out for lap #2, Jack showed up (left in pic)! He had raced the previous day at the Mt Cheeha 50k and placed 22nd overall for a time of 5:42! Jack decided to hang around and be support for Brian and I throughout our second lap. It was great to have him out there for us. Thanks, Jack!
Lap two was pretty tough. The hardest part of the course is in the last few miles. In fact the real climbing doesn't start on that course until late in the lap. Which makes for a very physically and mentally tough end. Brian was a great pacer and was working hard to get us in under 8hrs.
In the end we hit the car at 8 hrs exactly! We had a great time out there. Brian is a great runner and it was fun having him there! My wife and friends Dick and Penny also came out for the end. What a great feeling to be so well supported. Thanks guys!
My New balance 875 shoes and technical clothing, provided by Mark at New Balance of Knoxville preformed flawlessly! Those shoes have a ton of traction! Thanks Mark!
As always please check out portlight.org to see all of their on-going work toward making lives better. They are the focus of my efforts.
Next race is Oak Mountain 50k March 20th! ...Stay tuned!