Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twisted Ankle Trail Marathon Race Report

Ran the Twsited Ankle Marathon on 5/16/09. Met up with Nils and Scott in Kennesaw and made the 80 minute drive up to Sloppy State Park. The race starts at 9, so no need to get up terribly early!

It's a typical trail race.....good folks start gathering around, chatting, and feeling out others that have run the course before. Lots of questions about the mile 2 "hill". While the entire thing was hilly, the mile two hill was a thing of legend. Here is the elevation chart:

The race got started with a few instructions from the race director and 150 of us took off through a field. Here is a brief overview of the course:

First couple miles are the "thin the crowd" miles. The start in a field, a loop around a lake, and then a few roads through a camp ground got the group thinned out before the "hill". This section was rolling.

Mile 2.5-3.5 was an insane climb up the mountain. I have not yet adapted to the "walk the hills run the flats, sprint the downhill" so I intended to jog the hill. But in many stretches it was not at all possible. A fast hike was the best you could manage. An aid station at the top was a nice addition.

Once you hit the top, you took a hard right turn. There was a nice stretch of largely rolling fire road from 3.5-7.

7-8 brought you almost all the way back down the mountain on mostly single track, curvy, and somewhat technical trails. Speed required caution to avoid falls.

8-9 was the torture of turning right back around and running BACK up the mountain. A cruel joke.

10-17 was a nice stretch. You were back along the same 3.5-7 miles stretch then there was a nice stretch of 4 or so miles that were tight rolling single track with plenty of roots and rocks. Some tough stretches, but very managable.

The cruelest and most unexpected section was 17-19. I do not think the elevation chart reflects the actual elevation pop out on a fire road and go DOWN DOWN, hit the famous watermelon aid station (so named because they have watermelon!) and then turn back around for a full sun trip back up the mountain.

19-23 was the same as the 13-17 stretch......tight rolling single track.

Now time to fall off the mountain the same way you came up! It sounds good at this point in the race, but at this point the legs are burning so bad that it was tough to run fast.....too steep and the legs too unsteady.

24-to the finish was similar to the approach start....a loop around the lake and then a cool finish over a long bridge spanning the lake.

It was a good race for me. I ran much of the early miles with another guy (DAVID RINDT). He had more than me and pulled away around 14. I didn't see him again and managed 2nd place overall in 3:41:19.

Great race....good organization, nice trails, plenty of aid, trail was well marked. They gave cool pottery metals to all runners and I got a HUGE glass jar full of trail mix and random other running related items for 2nd OA.

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