My cousin Melissa, her husband Mark, and I rose early in the morning with light pre-race breakfasts of bananas, bread, and peanut butter and checked out of the hotel. During the ride over nerves were definitely flowing. On our way over, Mark joked that I better find my confirmation email for registration, just to be sure. I wasn't going to get out of the race that easily! When we got there, it turns out there was a glitch with Active.com and his registration hadn't gone through! He had to wait in line for same-day registration and completed his registrations just minutes before they closed race day registration. Karma, Mark, karma, hehe.
Once we finally got going, the nerves started to fade and we each ran our own race. I saw Melissa a few times at turnarounds, but other than that, we were all pretty much on our own! Pictures of the trail are courtesy of a runner from Virginia, who was nice enough to email me the pictures after the race! Silly me didn't bring my phone with me, and the scenery was incredible! Despite the monstrous hill, but I will get to that soon enough...
I was sure I was the last person while I was going up this trail. It wasn't until I reached the top and turned around that I realized there actually were some people behind me. I can't explain how wondrous it was to travel down, and how bad I felt for everyone still ascending. I was really excited not to be last, though. Nothing like a little confidence boost :) The route descended down a trail that was different from where we went up. However, it looped onto the same loose dirt road that we started on. As I neared the bottom of the single track that started the hike up the mountain, I remember thinking, "IF THOSE VOLUNTEERS MAKE ME CLIMB THAT *expletive* MOUNTAIN AGAIN, I QUIT!" After the race, I learned both Melissa and Mark had the exact same thoughts, so I guess the volunteers sensed our feelings, and thankfully we were waved past the trail.
After the large mountain trek, we continued on twisting, turning roads with large hills. We were also directed around a loop very close to the finish line, which was kindof frustrating. I turned off onto the loop with people who had already finished the loop and were being directed to the finish line, "about a half a mile away." I was very jealous. The loop also contained a hill, surprise, surprise.
Having the race over was a relief. We were all so proud of our accomplishment for the rest of the vacation. I can't speak for Mark and Melissa, but I still am very proud. Not sure if I'll do that course again, but to say I've tackled it once is amazing.
Safe and happy running!