Ultra marathon 1 is officially in the books.
It’s been a busy few years since I moved to Charlotte. The first year I spent getting my legs (literally and figuratively) under me. In the following 2 years, I completed my first (second, third, forth and fifth) half marathon, my first (and soon to be second) marathon and my first 50K/Ultra Marathon.
I was confident I knew what to expect going into the race, having thoroughly researched the event and taken advantage of every Facebook post on the group. Boy was I wrong, the event was SO MUCH BETTER!
Kevin and I departed Charlotte at 5:15 AM, a little later than I had hoped. Around 6:00 AM I began eating my breakfast of turkey bacon with a PB and J sandwich (with some chocolate chips inside), in preparation for the race beginning at 8:00 AM. As we drew closer, the most incredible sunrise I’ve ever seen danced across the horizon. You could see each ray shining into the sky as if God had opened his hands and driven the sunrise from his fingertips. The photo below is a tiny bit blurry but there were no filters used.
We arrived on site at Hinson Lake around 7:00 AM, allowing just enough time for me to get my station setup, check in and make one final bathroom run before the event began. The area along the Dam was already packed with tents and setups so we chose a spot behind some tents on a flat piece of ground. My first introduction to the course was breathtaking.
I contemplated bringing everything in my home (including my cat), but settled for a box with a full change of running and non-running clothes, any and all medical supplies I could potentially need in 12 hours, snacks, Sport Beans, beer and of course hydration.
Karen, Melissa, Sharon and I made our way to the start line a few moments after 8:00 AM, quickly stretched, prayed, and headed out for our first few laps. It was a chilly, dare I say, cold 58 degrees when the race began and every step felt better than the last. This was my first early morning run since the weather cooled down so my body was happier than a pig in mud.
We flew through our first lap, but not so fast that we were unable to take in the unbelievable views along the 1.52 mile loop.
We stuck close to one another the first 6 or so laps, taking only a few walk breaks (outside of our 6:1 intervals) and enjoying one another’s conversation and company. We greeted new faces and old friends each lap. Sharon and I had the rotten luck of catching some of the roots with our toes, leading to stumbles and even some falls. I’m confident I’ll loose both big toenails, I just hope it isn’t until after Richmond Nov. 16th.
The food throughout the day was unbelievable. Not only did we have more than our fair share of sweets to choose from, there was pizza, potatoes dipped in salt, candy, bread, grains and anything else you could imagine.
There were runners of all shapes, sizes, distances and paces but no one was looked at differently. If you wanted to walk every 3 laps, you could, and no one thought less of you. When Sandra (a new friend I made when I discovered her running 2:1 intervals) and I caught up to the race leader, who had lapped us many times prior to the encounter, we saw he was in obvious physical distress. We slowed down to check on him and lent some words of encouragement before he found his groove and continued on the trek. It was clear that we were all out there to support one another in whatever way was necessary.
To Be Continued…