The Rock/Creek River Gorge Trail Race was on Saturday. This is the race that the majority of our RunWILD group has been training for. Most of the group went down on Friday night, but Donica, Bree, Alicia, and I decided to trek over super early on Saturday morning. Donica rolled into my driveway right at 4:00am, we picked up Hunker, and w piled into Bree’s car right on schedule at 4:15am. After being on the interstate for a bit, we stopped to grab some coffee and go to the bathroom. Dunkin’ Donuts was the only coffee selection, and we had to wait while they brewed some. It was at this point in the morning, 4:45am, that we tried to purchase some post-race brews and ciders. Apparently, there is some crazy law that you can’t buy alcohol between 3:00am and 6:00am so Donica and Alicia had their goods taken away and put back on the shelf as if they were under 21.
Our stint at the gas station/Dunkin’ Donuts took longer than we anticipated, but with Bree’s driving skills, we were still on schedule to make it to the race well before the start time. We trekked on, jammed to some SIA, and continued to make good time. Around 5:45 am, the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee kicked in, and a pit stop was made at a McDonald’s somewhere past Sewanee. This was a much faster stop, and we were back on the road in no time. We decided it was time for some pre-race jams. After going through Bree’s cds, we settled on the Footloose soundtrack. If Kenny Loggins and “Footloose” don’t get your motor running, then I don’t know what will.
We rolled through Chattanooga a little behind schedule but not much. We were all getting pretty excited as we wound our way up Signal Mountain . . . until the GPS had us going onto private property. It took us a while to figure out where we had gone wrong. Turns out, the GPS thought we were going to StumpJump and not River Gorge. We made our way back down and headed towards Suck Creek Road. We were now pushing it to try and get there in time to pick up packets and make the start line. We also all had to go to the bathroom. We were scared the port-a-johns would be packed before the race so we found a nice little shoulder on the side of Suck Creek where Alicia, Bree, and I got out. These next 2-3 minutes sum up trail racing perfectly — there was just about every bodily function imaginable, lots of laughter, and a little bit of pain. God help anyone who stopped there after we did. Donica made the right call in deciding to wait until we got to the race. As we piled back in, Khette called to check on our progress and said she’d get our bibs for us. It was at this point that we already declared the day epic (and that would hold true).
Around 8:20 am, we made our way through Prentice Cooper park and towards the parking lot. We were so anxious to get there that Bree cut off a guy trying to park. Granted, his car did not look like a trail runner’s, and we thought he was probably there to do some shootin’. We scrambled out of the car and mad dashed it to the start line. I saw the RunWILD gang looking ready to crush it. Khette pinned my bib on for me, got the requisite high-fives and hugs from the crew, took a picture with the group, and then the gun went off. One good thing about rolling up to the start with only minutes to spare — no time for pre-race jitters.
10.2 miles later, I got to see my Susan, as well as Gretchen and sweet BAZ. I also got to see my buddy Chris. He was out volunteering, but I was lucky enough to get to talk to him for a bit. He also kept my sweatshirt for me (as he did at StumpJump too). The race was warm, but after finishing, I was freezing! Nathan and Ken came through looking like Phil would have wanted them to. Minutes later, Bree finished and then Phil was right behind her. Bree scared the shit out of me. Her blood sugar was so low that EMTs had to give her oral glucose. Mama Susan was there to take care of her though, as well as to tell the EMTs all about Bree’s baby girl (dog), Rula. After the oral glucose, Bree was back to normal, and we watched as the rest of the group came in.
Sinith finished looking like the machine he is, then Donica and Caroline finished. After that, there was an East Nasty battle to the finish between Tarrolly and Zach. Whitney, Alicia, Jim, Sam, and Meg finished pretty close together — they all looked like they loved it in a very painful way. Lindsay finished and broke her time goal by over 4 minutes! This was one of the highlights of my day! Hunker wasn’t far behind her. She had left it all out on the trail (literally) — a food allergy got the best of her, but in true bad ass form, she stuck it out and finished. Wild Bill, Mary, Maureen, and Amy finished, and Tara was right there with them. Pretty soon, Duane, Bert, Khette, and Kim came through — all looking so spectacularly happy that it was over and that they had succeeded! RunWILD had a 100% finish rate! I am so unbelievably proud of each and every one of the RunWILD group.
Those that didn’t have to jet back to Nashville went and enjoyed a great meal at Taco Mamacita. Not much better than post-race brews and tacos. While I’m sad that the training group has finished, Saturday was the perfect celebration of everyone’s hard work!
As for the folks down at the Oak Mtn 50k, they all CRUSHED it!! All 3 went sub-6:00. Read about here in Steven McNeal’s blog post!