on saturday brad, riley, and i loaded up and made the trip out to bryson city for the tsali frosty foot race. i'm so horrible about signing up for these random races that are kind of close to home, but not really close enough to drive the morning of, and i was very grateful that brad came with! i don't like to feel like i take over his whole weekend [pretty much his only time off], but it calmed my nerves to have him there.
we got into bryson city around 7pm and checked into our motel. we stayed at the ridgetop motel at the suggestion of microtel bryson city [the host hotel, but it was booked by the time i called]. they matched the discounted race rate that microtel was offering and it was only 9.99 extra to bring riley. it was an older motel, but it was clean and we appreciated being able to bring riley and also the owner told us not to worry if we needed to stay a little longer than the normal check out because he knew we were racing.
after we checked in we headed out the the nantahala brewing company. we watched the football games on their big screen and brad tried a bunch of their beers. he was really impressed with the flavors and i just loved the whole feel of the place. it was super outdoorsy/natural and you can even bring your dog [always a huge selling point for me if you haven't already noticed!].
sunday we got up around 7 and brad drove me out to tsali [about 15 minutes from the hotel]. he dropped me off and i picked up my packet then gave him all the extra stuff i didn't need. he headed back to the hotel to lay around and i got ready to run!
black jack 5K that i did in december [which resulted in me running this race in the first place].
after a short run up that paved street you can see in the pic, we hit the trails. words can not even do justice to describing how wonderful these trails were! they were a little muddy from all the rain we've had, but they were totally manageable. and the views!! i only stopped to take one picture, but i thought it was a pretty good one, just to give you an idea.
here's the elevation chart [which can i just mention how PROUD i am that after having my garmin for almost 2 years i figured out how to upload my data]:
nathan quickdraw handheld and it worked really well. i filled it with water and refilled it at every aid station. i also drank 2 cups of whatever sport drink was available at each station.
in addition, i had 3 gu's along the course, at miles 6, 11, and 15. that seemed to work pretty well for me, although i noticed a couple of times that i felt 'empty hungry' like i needed some solid food.
this race was a mental one for me, but any time i started to feel down or think negatively i just reminded myself that i GET to do this. God ALLOWS me to do this. and it was just what i needed. in the past month 2 past classmates of mine have passed away in car accidents. such terrible tragedies that are hard to wrap your head around. it's a somber reminder that nothing is promised to us in this life and we need to soak up every minute, so i tried to do that.
i mostly ran alone during this race, however i followed a group of 4 women for much of the middle. we ended up talking at one of the aid stations and two of them were actually in the pace group i ran with for my first half! such a small world! one of them is trying to get accepted to pace the biltmore marathon in march, how great would that be!?
it was a long race and it hurt. i had to stop several times to attempt to stretch out my hips, they were what gave me the most trouble. as with any new race distance, my goal is just to finish with a smile on my face. so when i rolled in and saw my boys there waiting on me, i did just that. one of the volunteers even made a comment to me when she was giving me a water about still smiling and that's one of the best compliments she could have given me!
there was a lot of great food after the race, a local cafe, The Green Sage, even had chili for all the runners. i was really excited about that because i love their food, but after the race i just couldn't stomach the thought of eating it. do you ever get like that post race? i've been doing it more and more lately. nothing sounds good and sometimes just the thought of eating upsets my stomach. it usually goes away after about an hour or two, but it's weird.
this was right before we loaded up the car to head back to asheville. i'm pretty dang proud of myself for running this race and really like that i can always look back on my 30th birthday and know that i accomplished something to remember!
when we got home i MADE myself take an ice bath. i didn't even wash the mud off before getting in.
then i showered and got ready so we could go eat and see zero dark thirty [it was great, and jessica chastain was wonderful]. check out our sweet shirts from the race:
date: january 12th and 13th (50K on saturday, 30K and 8K on sunday)
race organizer: foot rx asheville
race day pick up? yes or you could pick up the night before at the host hotel
start time: 8:30 (30K)
did race start on time? yes
adequate restrooms? yes, i think there were 3-4 port-o-potties
aid stations: 3, stocked with water, sports drink, GU chomps and roctane, bonk breaker bars
course spectator support: i actually saw more people than i thought i would considering it was a trail race
course terrain: technical, single track. several tough inclines but mostly rolling
shirts: 30K runners received Mountain Hard Wear half zip technical shirts (each distance got something different)
would i race again? absolutely
any complaints? my only complaint is that the finish line is right in the middle of the post race area. i literally was dodging children and adults to finish. it would have helped to have it roped off. i know that most everyone was finished already, but it sucked a little.
what you need to know: you'll definitely need a hydration plan for this race, most runners carried their own (handhelds, belts or backpacks), parking is a little difficult so get there in time to park and take care of whatever you need). sign up early!!! the 8K and 30K sell out, i was only allowed to sign up because someone else dropped out!