Tortoise and the Hare 13.1: Clash of the Titans

Tortoise and the Hare 13.1 2014

Tortoise and the Hare 13.1 2014

Remember that old school story about the Tortoise and the Hare? Yeah, well don’t let that fable fool ya. The Hare really does win after all! :D

This weekend was an absolute blast and an honor to participate in the inaugural Tortoise and the Hare 13.1. Whilst one would think a gathering of such a multitude of tortoises and hares would result in a scene similar to Clash of the Titans, it was quite amicable. ;P

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

In all seriousness, this comradery at this race was amongst the best I’ve seen! The RDs, Jeremy and Toni McAlister, really did their homework and put together a top-notch race that was enjoyed by tortoises and hares alike!

The Concept is quite simple. The tortoises start earlier, the hares later. Hares, your mission, should you choose to accept is to catch as many tortoises as you can. Tortoises, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to trip the hares as often as possible. Just kidding. Don’t do that. It would be quite unfitting for a regal tortoise.

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

The tortoises start in waves, as early as 8:00 up to 9:00. Hares toe the line at 9:30-10:00. Not only does this provide a bit of fun throughout the race, but it also serves to free up potential bottlenecks along the course. With the exception of maybe one spot, there were plenty of opportunities to pass.

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credit

Mix and Mingle

I made it a point to get there a bit early, so I can look around and snap a few pics, but we know how that goes. After spending the past three nights with a sick babe and sleeping in his room the night before the race, I practically sleep-walked my way to the car, and I honestly can’t remember how I got there. Not really sure how I arrived at Boling Park either. I fancy I have one of those new-fangled, auto-pilot cars….or I was just plain lucky.

Got there literally in time to pin on the bib and slide my bag back under the registration table, when I heard Toni asking for all runners to toe the line. Toni mentioned they made a few course changes, due to the weather. No biggie. What’s a few extra hills? ;)

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

The Chase is On!

The course meandered through the field and onto the gravel track, winding its way towards the opening of the trail. From there a series of gentle inclines and declines, along with a few wooden bridges, lined the first mile or so. One note on the bridges…watch your step, as these can become quite slippery. My HOKA Mafate 3s didn’t have an issue with traction, so pick your trail shoe accordingly.

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

credit: Tortoise and the Hare Racing

Approximately the first 2 miles or so lent themselves to single-track; however, there was still a bit of room to get by on the side, and runners were quite obliging. For the most part, the trail consisted largely of wide, open trails (enough for 3-4 runners to run side-by-side) with the occasional burst of single-track.

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somewhere around mile 1

As far as Technicality goes, I would say this race is beginner-friendly imo. There are a few rocky spots, particularly as you get to the stream crossings, but honestly, it’s nothing that a decent pair of trail shoes can’t handle.

It took a good 30 minutes for my legs to loosen up, so I knew something was amiss. It was around the middle of the race that things took a turn for the worse with nausea hitting me, along with an inability to cool myself. So needless to say, I didn’t play hopscotch at those creek crossings. I pounced right through them and seriously considered just laying down in them on the way back. :P

credit: Lori Forrester

credit: Lori Forrester

The hills themselves were gently rolling, although Jeremy and Toni have a twisted sense of humor and decided to place the largest of the hills pretty much dead center of the course at approximately the 8 mile marker or so. :P Yet, it was the heat, coupled with the humidity, that took many off guard, including me…shocked the HE@#$ out of me, being as I’ve purposely run during the mid-afternoons to get some heat-training after taking 3 weeks off at the start of the school year!

I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at first. I was using all the same fuel and supplements I normally used, the same supplements that did me well for the Rockin’ Choccolocco. I ate properly beforehand and hydrated in the days prior, my normal race protocol. It wasn’t until the goosebumps set in shortly around mile 10-11 that I realized what was going on, but by then, it’s already too late for the body to recover. G-R-E-A-T…WTH??? 

I had two choices at this point, DNF or push through.

Aid Stations

The aid stations were spread out perfectly with one near mile 3.5-4, another near 7, both of which you hit on the way back as well. Basically, there was an aid station nearly every 3 miles or so. One could easily get by with a hand-held and nothing more. Coming from an ultra background, I have no frickin’ clue what a hand-held is. I only understand vests filled with “extra” HEED for those just-in-case moments, i.e. a sudden inclination to run more miles, hotter-than-normal conditions, etc. Plus, I have enough pockets for my phone, so I can take planned “selfie” breaks and pop a cool few poses that totally belie how I’m feeling in that exact moment, which just happen to turn into what-else-is-in-my-pack-that-I-can-eat moments. OOOOOOOOO, A STROOPWAFEL!

Homemade Stroopwafels

Homemade Stroopwafels

The aid stations were complete with random cookies, jelly beans, pretzels, and a few other things I really didn’t look at the grub because the sight of it made my stomach churn. I did enjoy splashing several cups of ice-cold water on me at the last aid station, definitely not a Baywatch moment.

credit: Jeff Gelinas

credit: Jeff Gelinas

An out-and-back course, you know it’s time to gun it when you leave the comfortable shade of the trails for the wide, open gravel track. You think you’re there, but you’re not, so hold off on that spring. You’re at the back end of the track. Once around the bend, the starting field comes into view. Gunning for he finish line, I couldn’t help but notice the massage table towards the right. Ohhhhh yeah, come to mami!

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credit: Jeff Gelinas

credit: Jeff Gelinas

 

Post-Race

You get a lot of bang for your buck at this race! Medals, giveaways, and a free massage! Jeremy and Toni also hooked us up with bacon and chicken biscuits from McDonalds, pizza, and other traditional offerings, such as Lara bars and traditional finisher fare.

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post-race grub

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post-race grub

 

I hung out at the finish for quite a while, so I could take some pics of my buddies on the podium. I never did get that massage, but that’s ok. Despite the heat exhaustion and sleep deprivation, this race is definitely on my list for 2015! There will always been “bonk” runs. What’s important is that you grit your teeth and push past the discomfort. That’s how you become stronger: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The SOFTEST race shirt I've ever received!!!!!

The SOFTEST race shirt I’ve ever received!!!!!

 

Jeremy and Toni did an excellent job designing, marking, and setting up the course! If you haven’t checked out their race series, hit them up at Tortoise and the Hare Racing! Next up is the Tortoise and the Hare 50k. Who’s coming out to play ‘cuz now you’re in the tortare’s territory. ;)

medal

medal

The Cure All for Stress! You Won’t BELIEVE It!

1st Day :)

1st Day :)

It’s amazing how many ultrarunners can be found working in the field of education. At first glance, one might say, “Psssshhhh, but of course. They do get summers, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every other holiday imaginable off,” but I’m getting sidetracked, so let’s get back on track. :)

4:30 a.m. pre-work run...I'd call this kooky. ;)

4:30 a.m. pre-work run…I’d call this kooky. ;)

The number one reason so many ultrarunners come from the field of education is that we’re seeking an outlet for our stress. Running serves to release this stress. It’s a simple mathematical equation: (Teachers – Stress) + Endorphins = Happy Teachers. Happy Teachers = Happy Students. But why ultras instead of any ole’ 5k???

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credit: Rockin’ Choccolocco 50k: BUTS Racing (Zachary Andrews)

That’s a toughie. For me, it boils down to the challenge, which is also something to which teachers are accustomed. Teachers are tenacious, determined, persistent, think out-of-the-box, and let’s face it…we’re all a bit kooky. You have to keep a sense of humor to stay in our profession, or you’ll burn out before you hit retirement.

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When you look at it, those same qualities are inherent to ultrarunners as well. It only makes sense that we lean towards distances that make others ask Whyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?!

credit: warwalksforhealth.com

credit: warwalksforhealth.com

 

 

Pass the Baton: BOMF Meaningful Miles 4 mile Race

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As a runner, I love giving back to our sport, whether it’s through volunteering, charity running, or simply assisting races that support local causes.

On August 16th, the third annual Meaningful Miles 4 mile race will hit the Historic Fourth Ward Park section of Atlanta. In partnership with Mizuno, Meaningful Miles gives runners “the opportunity to run alongside, not past, individuals transitioning out of homeless in our city. Proceeds from the race go back to Back on My Feet, and a BOMF chapter is honored at each mile, including Trinity Community Ministries, Gateway Center, Salvation Army, and City of Refuge.

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

Nitty-Gritty

  • When: Saturday, August 16th at 8 a.m. (arrive by 7:30 for circle time and warm-up)
  • Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park, 680 Dallas Street, Atlanta, GA
  • Cost: $5 for those fundraising $100; OR $30 (August 1)/$35(afterwards)/$40 (race day) Group discounts available! Contact Mandy!
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Additional Information: Dogs and strollers are allowed. Dogs must be on a leash, non-aggressive, and with current shots
credit: Back on my Feet Atlanta

credit: Back on my Feet Atlanta

Pass the Baton

“Mizuno believes running has the power to transform the world, one person at a time.” In support of Back on My Feet, Mizuno is donating $1 for every mile run with the Mizuno Baton app. Currently at $49, 794, imagine how much could be raised if everyone ran?

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Runners can download the Mizuno Baton on both the Apple app store and also via Google Play. You have one week to rack up as many miles as possible. For every mile, Mizuno will donate $1 to Back on My Feet! All you have to do is run!

Join Us!

Runners are encouraged to fundraise; however, it is not required. Your participation is crucial in helping us assist those challenged by homelessness throughout the city of Atlanta and beyond. Bring your friends and family, your running shoes, and come run with us on August 16th at 8 a.m.!

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

credit: Back on My Feet Atlanta

Cleared to Run- Hot to Trot

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I’m back to training for my next ultra, the Hot to Trot 8 hour in August. I took an unexpected three weeks off when Salmonella rocked our house. When it finally left, we all collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, but we were relieved to see little man finally getting better. He lost nearly four pounds during those two weeks, and even now, his eating habits still aren’t quite back to normal. Some foods cause GI issues, so we have to watch his intake of cheese and other dairy products. Some days he’s hungry. Some days he’s not. Today was one of those “not” days. Guess it sounds like the typical toddler, eh?

little man and his abuelo

little man and his abuelo

Training Tools

This time around, I’m following Bryan Powell’s 50k plan found within his book Relentless Forward Progress. I modified it a bit, as my long runs already hit 20; however, I’m following the basic outline. The weekday runs are the same distances with B2B runs on the weekends. I altered the mileage of the weekend runs to better suit me.

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I don’t really have a goal for the Hot to Trot 8 hour, other than to hit more than 31 miles. It would be nice to hit between 35-40. Since this is my first time doing a timed race, I just want to get as much time on my feet as possible and keep moving forward. This weekend, I’m at Troop Trot 39k, which I am using as a training run. The plan is to run the 39k Saturday, and then, follow-up with a 5 miler Sunday.

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Fueling/Hydration

I felt completely confident in the way I handled my fueling and hydration needs for the Rockin’ Choccolocco 50k, so I am continuing with my strategy. I did change the Endurolytes for the Hammer Endurolytes Extreme, and the result is  just plain AWESOME! FINALLY! Instead of taking 2-3 pills per hour, I only need 1. The regular Endurloytes are great, but with the Dog Days of Summer taking their toll on me, I need something with extra BANG! I tried the Endurolytes Extreme on my last long run of 18 miles, and it was magical. Prior to the Endurolytes, I always had issues with heat and with my fingers swelling to the point that I couldn’t bend them. ><  (Check out my race day regime at the bottom of the race report for how I use my supplements.) I also rely heavily on Recoverite and use it for any run lasting an hour or longer.

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Diet

Let’s not talk about my diet for the past week or so. :P I’ve been naughty with the wine and the sweets, so it’s time to get back on board. I think it was due to the stress that didn’t fully hit until the salmonella left our house. What’s done is done. Now, it’s time to buckle down. I have 6 pounds left to lose. So no more daily wine/beer. I will allow for a one beer “allowance” following long runs. And those sweets? Well now….once a week is fine. :)

1.5 months difference...total weight lost from February is 13.5 pounds. :)

1.5 months difference…total weight lost from February is 13.5 pounds. :)

A Storm’s A Brewing

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A week has passed since a vicious stomach bug decided to take residence in our house and hold little guy hostage. We should receive little man’s test results today and hope that it provides some clues as to what’s been going on with him. It’s Continue reading