Last Saturday I raced the Music City Trail Ultra 25k.
Music City Trail Ultra has 3 distance options: 12k, 25k, 50k and is held in Pegram, TN.
I am training with the Fleet Feet's Ultra Dirtbag group this training season to prepare for GnawBone, Dances with Dirt 50k, May 9th, in GnawBone, Indiana. We used Music City Trail Ultra as one of our training runs.
I remember reading reviews for this race last year when I was trying to choose another 50k. From what I read this was no easy race for sure. Even on the race website they give you a WARNING heads up. Very technical hilly STEEP course on mostly single track terrain, and rugged jeep roads. Its held at a family farm that connects to the Cheatham Wildlife Games reserve with over 20,000 acres. The 25k was roughly 65% trails and the rest on jeep gravel road.
With the snow that we had gotten a few weeks having just melted as the weather had warmed up this week we were already in for a muddy race, not to mention it had now been raining for a few days. A wet and muddy race was about to go down.
I will admit I was nervous going into this race as I had felt I was not able to put in the miles I had hoped for at this point due to all the ice and snow TN was hit with over the past few weeks. We had 3 weeks of running with ice and snow, and when it did melt it left the trails a pure mud pit.
This was one of our Saturday morning group runs a few weeks ago.
The next week wasn't any better. The trails were so icy we ended up doing a butt slide to get past one point.
The following week was less ice but a lot more wet and muddy.
I had put in more treadmill miles then I wanted over past few weeks as a result of the weather and the kids being out of school.
I had also just finished up my first round of 21 Day Fix Extreme which included lots of strength training as a result turned the miles I did run was like running on led legs. Although I knew the strength training would eventually help me get stronger and faster, at this point I wasn't see the results in my running as my miles were slower as my body adjusted.
Regardless, the day was here, it was time to just get out there, do my best, and have fun.
Fleet Feet Dirtbags and Ultra Dirtbags Group photo!
The elevation on this course was crazy! My Garmin said 2,617 Feet elevation gain.
On your marks, get set.....
It doesn't give your legs much of a chance to warm-up warm at all.
And what goes up must come DOWN. The decent was actually a tough one for me, I slipped on my butt at one point and slid but thankfully it was not a rough fall. I looked back like 3 times on this hill and kept saying, "WOW!!!!". It just looks so much bigger in person and when you finally finish it you can't believe you just did THAT. My calves were BURNING on fire with pain just from the climb and decent.
Once you make it back out to flat ground you think that you can make up time by running the flat, but your legs are already trashed from the climbs and its difficult getting your heart rate back down to just catch your breath.
When I made it to the first aid station I was told I was 3rd place female. It defiantly put a boost into my step to hear that and I picked up the pace! I was worried that I tend to go out too fast so I may not be able to hold the pace the rest of the way but I was sure as heck going to try!
My new goal was remain in 3rd place and not let any women pass me.
I realized I would have to start taking the downhills a lot faster then I had previously felt comfortable if I wanted to stay ahead. I had to just let go and let my legs guide me with no holding back. It was tough because there was so much mud and leaves covering the downhills that it was hard to see what was under the leaves until your foot touched so you just had to be quick in adjusting where you went. I had been running since before the first aid station with one of the guys from our group and it was great to have someone to talk to and keep my mind off the pain.
I kept pushing and when I made it to the second aid station I was still in 3rd place! What a rush! I was continuing to push the pace and feeling great but was starting to get worried I would get passed still. I was feeling such a rush taking the downhills fast! It was like each hill you made it down without wiping out or twisting something was a success that you just did that!
We had already crossed through several creeks and were covered in mud. I done a few butt slides through the race but thankfully most of them I was up again quickly and going again. I will admit I had bad memories in the back of my mind of the big wipeout I took when I raced StumpJump 11 miler in Chattanooga a few years back when it was muddy and raining.
I had been following the girl in 2ed place for quite some time. She was just enough ahead of me that I could see her but I wasn't able to pick up speed to pass her.
I had been told that even through the race says 25k which is 15 miles the race they joked is called 25kish. Yea the ish was another mile and a half. I was glad I knew that going into the race.
My mind at one point in the race really wanted to take over and tell me I couldn't keep going at this pace until the end. It told me I wasn't strong enough, that someone was for sure going to pass me and I wouldn't place, that my legs were tired and would need to slow down. I had to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.
Nearing toward the end of the race were came out into gravel jeep roads. I picked up the pace the best I could but the second place female was flying and at one point I could no longer see her. That was pretty disappointing but I knew I just had to hang it there to get 3rd.
I had taken a gel about every 50min or so throughout the race and was sipping Tailwind nutrition from my water pack. What I realized AFTER the race was that I hadn't taken in as much fluid as I THOUGHT I had. I had only drank 15oz the whole race. The last 2 miles or so I had started to get dizzy and my legs were wanting to slow down so badly. I was walking the hills slower and weaving a bit and was worried this was it... this was when my place would be taken. I passed a friend at this point and I owe him a lot for motivating me not to give up and keep pushing. I walked some, ran some as he suggested and dug in deep.
I continued on and fought my way to the end.
3rd place female with a time of 3:13:04!!!
A little soaked but happy because we finished! This is my awesome coach Malin!
Who by the way takes the BEST race photos!
My legs were barely moving in a forward motion at this point and she manages this! She rocks!
Pouring rain and some of my awesome friends drove over 45 min and stood in the rain to support our group! Runners love at its best!
Everyone in our group did such a great job at their distances and many placed! So proud of everyone for just finishing today at a tough race!
My daughter drew me this when I got home.
Music City Trail Ultra, "Harder then a treadmill". Ha ha very funny!
Then it was time to CELEBRATE!!!!!
Spiked Nutella milkshake from Burger Republic.
Jack Daniel's burger and fries. Everything was SO DANG good!
Yes this was a crazy tough race today but the crazier the better I say! Because when you accomplish the things you think you couldn't do the feeling of joy is even bigger then if you had finished something you knew you already had in you. I defiantly want to try this one again next year!