Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tear Drop Half (WW # 39)


Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!


This linkup is hosted by yours truly and my good friend Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin.    The purpose of this link is to connect with and support other active women. You can summarize your whole week or just a small portion of it.  It's up to you!  Race recaps are also encouraged!  {See rules}   

We are thrilled that we continue to have a record number of linkers each week.  Thank You!  The support and camaraderie are truly priceless.  Please return later in the week and interact with more women.   It's an excellent way to make new friends and gain invaluable support, all while holding yourself accountable!  Don't forget to comment on each blog that you read and remember to support your hosts.  


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M - Strength
T - 4 Miles
W - Strength
T - Rest
F - Rest
S - 13 Miles (Teardrop Half)
S - Rest

After running the Destin Half, I immediately went into "find another race" mode...just one more before the weather is too warm.  Not wanting to travel far or spend a big wad of money, I happened upon the Tear Drop Half.  It was advertised as a downhill race.  I'd done one other downhill race in Colorado and really enjoyed it.  The elevation chart looked flat for 5 miles and then all downhill from there.  {Oh why, oh why do I trust those things?}  On Wednesday, I registered for half #41.  I decided to skip my usual Thursday morning run. 


I learned when the scale of the chart is 3000 feet, the smaller 100 foot changes simply disappear!


PoPo graciously offered to go with me.  He drove both ways in heavy traffic while I played Farm Heroes Saga on my phone (got to love this man!).  We stayed at a hotel in Nowheresville and dined at Long Horn Steakhouse.  Saturday morning I arrived at 5:45 for packet picket.  It was just a T-shirt, but wonderfully soft!  I hopped on the second bus and chatted with another half fanatic as we slowly wound our way up to the start.  It's probably a good thing it was still dark and we couldn't see where we were going.  We were dropped off at the Overlook Inn and it's Red Barn Store with a scenic overlook across the road.  It was 62 at the bottom, but on top of Fort Mountain it felt a few degrees cooler and there was a nice breeze.  

Before sunrise on top of Fort Mountain

While waiting for the start time, I checked out a porta-potty (very interesting in complete darkness by the way), chatted with several ladies, took a few pictures and watched the sun rise.  The last two buses were late, holding up the race for 13 minutes.  The RD explained we would head down the mountain for 1.6 miles, turn around and come back, and basically we'd start the course over.  What?  Down, then up? A moment of sheer panic ensued.  The RD also clarified it would be rolling hills until mile 5.2 -- the official start of the downhill.  There would be a sign there so we'd know when to increase our pace.  OK!

A pretty pink sunrise.  And yes, I straightened my bib later.

Soon, we were off.   Sure enough, I immediately realized we were mostly going steeply downhill with some ups thrown in for good measure.  But, that meant we'd be coming back mostly steeply uphill to turn around.  I watched the lead runners struggle back up toward us middle packers.  Mentally, I decided not to start this race until mile 5.  


Just another perspective brought to you by good old Garmin.
The "rolling hills" turned into 475 feet of elevation GAIN.  475 feet gained mostly in those few early miles!  4.7.5.  (In case you missed my point.)  I conserved my energy by walking the steepest parts.  I would need everything I had to be able to descend 2,100 feet after mile 5.  (I might as well mention the total elevation LOST was 2,577 feet.)

Mile 1   9:46
Mile 2 10:22
Mile 3 10:09
Mile 4 10:24
Mile 5   9:46

Let the fun begin!  This course was beautiful in a curvy, downhill, canopy-of-green, middle-of-nowhere kind of way.  I wished I had taken a picture.  The pavement was a pretty, smooth downhill ribbon, but sharply banked around the curves.  There were breaks in the trees, and a few scenic overlooks, where the views were stunning.  I don't remember seeing buildings or any structures (maybe a few driveways?) until mile 12.   I heard one dog bark.  Ah yes, there is civilization!

An extremely soft T-shirt!

I settled in and made the most of the downhill section, trying to gain back time lost on those "rolling hills".  I leaned forward, kept my stride short (very hard to do!) and let the intense pull of gravity do it's thing.  My left knee and right calf were protesting loudly by mile 9.  I continued to check my stride for that left knee and it held up OK.  I had no cramps and no real issues and was pleased about that.

Mile  6  9:35
Mile  7  8:54
Mile  8  8:39
Mile  9  9:14
Mile 10 8:38
Mile 11 8:39

Quite suddenly, we were out of the mountains and approaching town where the "rolling hills" came back into play.  This was disappointing!  I had also recently realized how warm it was.  The last two miles felt so difficult without gravity on my (good) side.  They handed out printed finisher's certificates, indicating I was 5th in my age bracket.  There were bananas, BBQ sandwiches, hotdogs, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, pork rinds, and maybe even more.  Craft beer by local Cold Creek Growlers was being served on tap. 

Mile 12   9:41
Mile 13 10:08
Extra      9:05

Finish:  2:04:13

A nice medal, but very small.
This ended up being like two difference races in one: a tough as nails hilly mountain race with a wonderful downhiller tossed in the middle.  Alas, if only it had been all downhill!  This is my best finish time post foot fracture so I won't complain.  {And yes, if you know me -- you know I'd say I loved every step. 'Cause I did!}

I survived the drop!  Of course, sharply descending 2,100 feet in just 6 or 7 miles caused incredible muscle soreness -- the expected DOMS.  I can barely walk today, or sit on the toilet, or go down the stairs.  Ahh...don't you just love this thing we call running?

And that's a wrap!



Has anyone else run a steep descent like this one?

Tell me about your week!



102 comments:

  1. Don't you just love race descriptions! LOL They are never "rolling hills"! Your time is awesome for such a change in elevation! It sounds like a really difficult race and you did great!

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    1. Thank you! They also referred to them as "Atlanta Hills". I sort of knew I was in trouble then. Atlanta is famous for their hills.

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  2. Holy cow that sounds like a tough race, but gorgeous! I can only imagine how your legs feel today. Congrats on a good finish!

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    1. Thanks! My legs were as sore as they were after my marathon in January (when I hadn't been running much due to injury). I love a race in the middle of the woods!

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  3. I am sore just reading this! Sounds like quite the course. And yes, those downhills will wear on you. My hilliest half was my very first. I had no idea what I'd gotten myself into. Hilliest full = Boston. Holy quads. That's a great time and finish place on a tough course my friend! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks Marcia. I love a downhill course WHILE I'm running it. It feels easy. It's the aftermath that tears you up and spits you out.

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  4. Sounds like an incredibly difficult course with all the hills and the steep decline! At least you had a nice view! Hopefully you're able to go down stairs without pain soon!

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    1. My husband was having a good laugh at me yesterday just trying to navigate around the house. I know I look pitiful. I'll do my best to hide it at work today. LOL.

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  5. Now I know why they call it the teardrop race! You did great, congrats!
    Hey, as far as the dark port o potty, I started carrying a small keychain flash light with me in my pocket. (I ended up dropping it in the port o potty during Disney so it didnt help me there but otherwise it is helpful).

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    1. Great idea! I've used porta potties in the dark before, but I guess there was enough street light to see. There were NO lights on top of this mountain in the middle of nowhere. That reminds me of the time I dropped my car key in a toilet after a race once... LOL

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  6. Oh my quads were crying just reading this! The downhills at Big Sur did me in. I had quad pain for about 4 days after that. Not to mention my right knee was cranky too. But great job on that finish time! Holy moley on that elevation drop!

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. I expected quad pain and I do have some, but my calves took the brunt of this one for some reason. Oh and my rear end -- that was probably the up portion. It was worth it. I enjoyed my race. And I know you loved your Big Sur experience!!

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  7. Holy Smokes that sounds like a tough course - my quads would be screaming at me. Congrats on completing #41!!

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    1. Thank you! The lower half of my body is complaining very loudly! My calves are doing the most screaming.

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  8. That actually sounds like a tough course. Having to loop back at the start would be psychologically challenging too. Love the sunrise picture! So, are you done for a "while" now?

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    1. It was a challenge to turn around, come back up and start again. You could see the agony on the lead runner's faces. That's why I decided I wouldn't "start" in my head until later. There are few local 5ks this month but I don't have any other plans. Sigh.

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  9. I'm considering a race that sounds kind of similar for the fall, only thank God, I don't think it goes back up hill after the start! That's totally nuts!

    You did great; that had to be really tough on so many levels.

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    1. Thanks! It's definitely one of the toughest courses I've run, even though the downhill miles felt pretty easy at the time (later on -- holy smokes!).

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  10. Holy Cow! What a race! You did awesome!!

    I have that same skirt. Let's wear it Dec 6.

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    1. Thanks Darlene. It was quite the experience. I think the skirt looks very appropriate for the beach! I bet Judy has it too. I just ordered another one that was on sale.

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  11. That is a very challenging course! You did so well. Richmond has a very steep final mile, I can not imagine running that steep for so long, it is very tough on the quads.
    Popo is so sweet to indulge your running habit :)
    The shirt looks like my favorite kind :) I like the poly blend.
    Congrats on a great finish, i am so glad you got it done before the heat settles in!

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    1. Thanks! All of our downtown races are hilly. I'm used to a good downhill stretch, mostly toward the end of races. I don't know how you could prepare for this much descent and this sharp of a descent. I'm glad it was a last minute thing so I didn't stress over that fact.

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  12. Ok this race sounds CRAZY. I've done a race that was all downhill and man oh man my quads were totally fried by the end. Congrats on a great race and your best time since your injury!!! That's reason to celebrate!

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    1. Thank you! My knees were feeling it during and after the race. When I awoke the next morning, my knees were fine -- everything else hurt. LOL.

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  13. Interesting course! Holy downhills, I had a few of them today myself (though I think I had several more UPhills...how does that work?) I much prefer uphills, though, the downhills always make me fear I'm gonna lose and gravity will win (NOT in a good way). Congrats on that awesome finish time!

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    1. Thanks! I actually like running downhill. It feels great then, its the later that's so tough. This was so steep and banked in parts I struggled to stay upright and not be pulled sideways off the road.

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  14. Holy rolling/down hills!!

    My knees do not like the steep down hills. I actually would rather run up a hill because of the knee pain.

    I do like how the down hills cut down the time though ;)

    The dark ports potty...no fun -ha!

    Beautiful sunrise picture.

    Nice medal too. Good job!

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    1. Thank you. My left knee hurt during the race and both hurt later that day. Surprisingly, the next day the knee pain was gone. Everything else hurt! I'm an awful uphill runner.

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  15. I've never done a downhill course like that but I have one in the fall. Gulp. :) You did great! Congrats on #41!!

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    1. Thanks Sonia! You'll enjoy your race. It feel pretty easy while you are running downhill. It's the later that gets me. Because this was last minute, I didn't train for the downs and am now paying for that.

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  16. Good for you ! I would hate a downhill race ! Way too much pressure on my quads. Sounds like the scenery was wonderful ! Congrats. I am impressed with all the racing you do. Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks! My quads are doing much better than expected. My calves, not good. This descent was so much steeper than the other down-hiller I did (which killed my quads).

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  17. I loved reading this! Sounds like a tough course that requires a lot of discipline, but so fun to have the negative splits :-) Thanks for hosting the link-up, Have a wonderful week!!! :-)

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    1. Oh, thanks! It was one of the most challenging course partly because I was expecting something different. You never know what you will get on race day (I always say!).

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  18. Look at that elevation. Kudos to you!
    http://runwright.net

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    1. Thanks! I'm feeling that elevation today. LOL.

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  19. that elevation is crazy-great job! I have never done a half with a downhill that large before

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    1. Thank you. I'm thinking there may not be very many races with the elevation quite that steep (at least in only 6-7 miles). I've done a REVEL race, which are all downhill, but it was not nearly as steep.

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  20. Wow that elevation profile in nuts! Congrats! I definitely believe you are sore after that one!

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    1. I'm thinking now I was the thing that was nuts. I'm feeling this one for sure!

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  21. Oh those rolling hills at the start sound killer! Congrats on a great time with that crazy elevation. My summer marathon loses 2200 feet over 26 miles - I can't imagine how steep the descent was on your downhill!

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    1. 2200 feet over 26 miles sounds very pleasant! This was crazy steep! I enjoyed it immensely but my legs are now singing the blues.

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  22. That sounds like a really challenging course! There is a 12 miler here that is mostly downhill with rolling hills in the beginning, a few miles of downhill, and a flat finish (but not at all as intense as your race!) I know those last miles are TOUGH after a bunch of downhill miles! Great job!

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    1. Thank you! From my experience, after repeated downhill miles even flat feels like it's uphill. It's like your body is so confused!

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  23. Wow, you ran a fantastic race with that difficult course. This will give you lots of confidence going forward with your training/racing. The only really difficult course I have run as a half was the Asheville Half Marathon and those hills were brutal!

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    1. I've heard Asheville is a very tough race. It is so pretty in that area though! I know I'd enjoy it anyway.

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  24. 475 feet of elevation gain in the first miles is no joke! Ouch! And then the hills at the end! Sounds really tough, so I'm sure your finish time felt very sweet. Congrats! Also, I love that picture of you with the sunrise!

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    1. Isn't 475 feet crazy? And I was expecting for it to be relatively flat. Those hills were so steep. The joke was on me! LOL.

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  25. Wow, look at that elevation chart! I did a hilly rAce once, a half marathon in the Adirondack Mountains. It was beautiful, but tough! And no big downhill drop.

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    1. AT least I was able to make up some time with the downhill section. I wish it had been all downhill -- but then again I'd be incapacitated for much longer too. The DOMS has been pretty bad.

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  26. That is a lot of drop! I ran the run leg of a run, bike, paddle race here in Montana where it had over 900 feet of drop over 9 miles and could not go down stairs for a week! How are your quads feeling :) That sounds like a tough half marathon, congrats on getting through it and placing in your age group!

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    1. My upper quads are sore (as expected) but I think my calves are worse. Although, that really doesn't make much sense. I enjoy running downhill -- but this is the steepest I've done.

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  27. Great job running a solid race on a tough course. That's quite the elevation drop! I always love when courses are completely different than advertised, especially ones that are described as being flat but are far from it.

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    1. Ha! Never trust the words gently rolling hills. I think one reason I like to repeat certain races over and over is I know exactly what to expect!

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  28. That course looks insane!! But, it also looks beautiful... that pink sky!!

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    1. I love races where you are in the middle of the woods! I can't complain with the scenery on this one. When the trees parted, it was spectacular looking across the valleys.

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  29. WOW. That is quite the elevation...and if you ask me...definitely that 1.6 out & back is something worth mentioning on the race website...but it sounds like you did a nice job on the downhill and your splits show it. I need to work on shortening my stride in times like those.

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    1. After talking to people who ran last year, they decided to change the course (to make it easier -- believe it or not!) I think they still need a little more tweeking on it.

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  30. I think I've been in a lighted port-a-potty before. You'd think they'd use those when it's supposed to be dark occupied.

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    1. I have not seen a lighted porta-potty! That would be awesome. They could at least put a little stick-up battery operated light in them.

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  31. Yes, we runners choose to put ourselves through this for health reasons... Great job! That sounds rough, and the soreness.

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    1. I understand why people call us crazy! Heck, I have no problem calling myself crazy! Nuts!

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  32. Oh i bet you are sore in so many ways! but what a great job on the course! Yes, your hubby is a good guy to be the designated driver :) I barely like a porta potty to start with but one in the dark makes you want to scream HMMMMMM :) Happy Monday- again congrats on such a great finish!

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    1. Sore doesn't described it. It's so much more enjoyable when I don't have to drive that far. But, I do have to listen to him "complain" about drivers and traffic. LOL.

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  33. Wow!! Holly dropping hills, Holly! That is one steep drop! And you flew it! that is amazing!

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    1. I wish the whole thing had been down hill. That would have been amazing!

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  34. Congrats on another half! Way to go on a tough course! I hear ya about the DOMS. I get it all the time on our hikes where the kiddos run down the mountain. :) Hope your legs feel better soon!

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    1. I don't know how you'd train for something this steep. Maybe if you lived there and ran it consistently? I don't know.

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  35. Congrats on a great race!! Those hills sound terrible, LOL!!!

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    1. I enjoyed the down hill portion at the time. However, I'm still recuperating. But, it was worth it.

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  36. Congrats on marathon #41!! Sounds like you did great even with the hills! Gotta love going downhill! But hope the DOMS goes away fast! :)

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    1. It was a nice race. I was just surprised by the course. It wasn't what I was expecting. The DOMS is still hanging around.

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  37. Congrats on a great race. I think I would have been pretty bummed, too, if I expected the course to be flat for the first five miles before the descent and then realized it was really quite hilly. Nice job on adjusting your race plan!

    Thanks for providing the link up!

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    1. I had definitely planned for something different! Like I say, you never know what you will get on race day. On this day, it was the surprise of the course itself!

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  38. I'm not a big fan of downhills and those were some serious drops! Congrats on another half marathon completed :) Hope your recovery is going well.

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    1. This course was definitely different that most that I've run, which makes it interesting. The recovery is going...but not gone.

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  39. That elevation chart makes me light-headed. Literally. How can anyone run those types of changes in altitude without getting altitude sickness??? WAY TO PUSH THROUGH!!! Despite the tremendously challenging course, you NAILED it and ran a really solid time! So proud of you!!!

    BTW - I have had to use a portapotty in complete darkness, also - and it is an, um, interesting experience. =)

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    1. We weren't high enough for the altitude to be a factor (been there done that too). The "steep" was the surprise of this one. So much down in relatively few miles. Do we really WANT to see inside a porta-potty? Unfortunately we can still smell.

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  40. Yikes, this sounds tough! I'm not sure if that's what I would have expected from looking at the elevation map. But it also sounds like a beautiful course so I hope that helped to make up for it :)

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    1. The scale of the chart is so high, "normal" big hills get lost. It was a very scenic race.

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  41. oh wow, I have never ran a race with that type of descend!it sounded like it was a scenic course though. I hope your knee feels better soon, and that you will be able to go up/down stairs and use the toilet without pain! I recently started things back up in the gym and omgoodness, I *forgot* about that type of feeling until leg day!!!! its so worth it though!
    hope you have a good week ahead!!!!

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    1. My quads did not end up nearly as sore as my calves, which is a little weird. I'll soon begin waterskiing and be so sore on every Monday during the summer!

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  42. That race sounds intense (and so scenic!). I want to try a net downhill race. Up here there's the 20 Mile Drop near Cleveland and Deckers Creek Trail Half in West Virginia. I don't think they have any rolling sections, just a steady downhill. My half a few weeks ago was downhill for the last few miles and I was so sore the next few days. Hope you get over your DOMs quickly. Congrats on a fast run!

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    1. You should try a downhill race. They are fun and fast (hopefully yours won't have any up to go along with it!). My calves took the brunt of this race. I expected it to be my quads.

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  43. Downhill races are harder on the body than uphill. So many think the opposite, but until you've killed your quads in downhill like this you don't know what pain really is.
    You did awesome!!!! Congrats!!!!!
    Hey, if your training(racing) on courses like this, and getting your body ready you should keep that Revel race in Utah on your consideration list. The Revel race is considerably more downhill and will hurt more. But on the plus side, you're breaking your body into it nicely now in case you want to get ready for it, LOL
    I think I would love this race, I love rolling mountain hill races I can't wait until the snow melts here and I can get up in my own mountains and run, you've got me craving it now, LOL
    Congrats again on your awesome finish!!!

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    1. Actually this was much steeper than the REVEL race courses because the 2100 feet of drop came within a 6-7 miles stretch, not 13. I'd love to do REVEL again, but that deal sadly fell apart. I wasn't happy about that!

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  44. What's this game you talk about? Wait, never mind I don't need it.. I love the picture of you at the overlook! I can only imagine what the actual sky looked like. Pictures never do sunrise and sunset pictures justice.
    Now that was odd having to run down then back up to start again pretty much.
    Whoa look at all those miles in the 8's!!
    I laugh as I read I can't sit on the toilet or hardly walk and I'm nodding my head cause I'm right there with you, I do love this running! Great race for you and congratulations on your time!

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    1. I wanted several more miles in the 8's, trust me! But those first 4-5 miles were killer! Everybody seemed to be walking and I tried to keep that at a minimum as best I could.

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  45. Sounds like a very interesting race. I am sure your quads were feeling it after the race. I guess as the saying goes it all down hill after this LOL

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    1. Surprisingly, my quads did OK. It was my calves that have given me so much trouble.

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  46. Oh... I bet the scenery was just beautiful. I have a friend that lives up near Blairsville, so pretty there.

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    1. It is pretty in that area. We've vacationed in the Dahlonega and Helen areas before. They are so many nice trails and pretty waterfalls around.

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  47. What an adventure! That course sounds really fun but very challenging. My legs would be fried after all that downhill (and then having to do rolling hills after!). Boston was the most downhill course I have ran, besides one other trail marathon, and though I practiced downhills in training, my quads were destroyed in the days following! Great race and recap!
    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

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    1. This race was quite the adventure and one I'll always remember. I expected my quads to be sore (and they were) but my calves were much worse.

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  48. Holy moly! That course! I am tried just looking at the elevation map! Yikes!

    We just don't have his like that around here, so I would have absolutely no idea what my body would do in that situation. Freak out, obviously!

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    1. We do have "hills" around here but usually only get a mile or two of them during a race. This one was definitely out of the ordinary for me too.

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  49. I love that "just one more" mentality. ;-) You have been racing the heck out of this season! Great job on this one and congrats on your post-injury PR. This race sounds so much like Blue Ridge, with a steep descent and then rolling hills. It will definitely beat you up even more than the climbs!

    I know these mountain races well, and the elevation profile can be so tricky. When you have a major ascent or descent, it masks hills that can still be significant (200+ feet).

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    1. You really have to pay attention to the scale of the charts! And, yes I was pretty beat up. My calves took the worst beating. Blue Ridge sounds very interesting!

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  50. What a cool looking race and you did great!! I can't figure out what DOMS means though but I hope it's better now!!

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    1. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (I think). I usually get it after running a lot of downhill.

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  51. Great work! I get the same way about trying to find races in new areas. It's always fun to try out a new event.

    I tend to get cramps in my calves. It's awful. I can usually stave it off with compassion socks and lots of extra salt, but I get anxious about it.

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    1. I may have to go to compression socks, even though I'd rather not. They are hot and it's already hot enough for most of the year where I live.

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