Monday, September 26, 2016

Race Report: GEORGIA JEWEL 100 (DNF, 87 Miles)

Bitter & Sweet at the same time.

Bitter-sweet to title this post.

I did not finish what I started, nor get my coveted buckle, but it's hard to feel down about the hardest thing you've ever done. 

I ran 87 miles in 26 hours and 45 minutes on the Pinhoti Trail in my home state of Georgia. The high temperature was 91 degrees.

Congratulations to the finishers of the 2016 Georgia Jewel 100 mile footrace.

All six of them: a 75% Did-Not-Finish (DNF) rate. It was that hard. 

While running to the 51.8 mile turnaround,  I was greeted by the eventual 100 mile winner, Steven Carr (Huntsville, AL), making his way back.

Keown Falls Observation Deck
He said: "I'm spent..." And he still had a 45 mile night-time wilderness run ahead of him.

The Georgia Jewel 100, 50 & 35 mile races occurred the same weekend as IRONMAN Chattanooga which was 30 minutes to the north.

That event had a 25% DNF rate and a 15% DNS rate.

Over 1,100 people who signed up did not reach the finish line. I can relate.

As Georgia Jewel 50 MILE finisher Udo Bill Wooten said, "You can't spell Pinhoti without the word hot!"

Sixty-one runners finished the 50 miler. Ninety-one signed up. A 33% DNF/DNS rate.

The 35 mile race had a 26% unfinished business rate.

In spite of the heat and the toll that it took upon us, The 2016 Georgia Jewel was an awesome event.

Monday, September 5, 2016

TUPELO MARATHON 2016 Race Report

Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!
Skull and Crossbones Medal.

Long sleeve tie-dyed, winter shirt.

5 a.m. start-time on Labor Day Weekend.

Air-conditioned finish line inside arena.

Dressing room showers & free BBQ.

These amenities await the finisher of the Tupelo Marathon. 

Not to mention an annual dose of running on the hallowed ground where the King of Rock n' Roll was born.  

I left Madison, Alabama @ 1:16 p.m. on Labor Day Saturday headed to Trails & Treads for packet pick-up between 1 and 5 p.m. CDT. 

Minor details can become major details when living in the Central Time Zone and close to the Eastern Time Zone running in Chattanooga or Atlanta as we did last week. Two to three hour drives quickly become 3-4 hour drives on the face of a clock and can make the difference between a relaxed, leisurely start or a panic filled drive. 

The Heart of Rock n' Roll is in Tupelo
I wouldn't have to worry about a time change this week like last week. Or about running until 3 a.m. in the morning. Or sleeping on gravel for two hours afterward. Or running in the dark. At least not running in the dark for very long.

I welcomed the rare 5 a.m. start, because I generally don't sleep well the night before a race, and being out of town alone, I prefer to get up super early instead of waiting around. 

The early start allows for a cooler overall run and the psychological advantage of being 10 miles into your race when the sun comes up. Since most races start at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., this unusual start time for marathons is an added bonus. 

I stayed at the Baymont Inn on North Gloster Rd. less than 3 miles from the start-finish at BancorpSouth Arena on Main Street. I would not stay there again, because there are too many other hotels close by to choose from. And at 3 a.m. there was a loud-talking couple in the hallway or in their room with the door open.