I arrived early to grab my race packet and lather myself in bug spray. The heat and humidity on Friday were outrageous but I kept hope alive that by the time the race started it wouldn't be as bad. As I toed the starting line to head out for the run I realized those hopes were in vain. I was standing still and sweating. This would be ugly.
The first mile I started strong and felt pretty good. As we passed the mile marker sign I checked my pace and realized I was on target for a PR. But then, humidity. And plants. And bugs. We ran into the woods and it felt like I was breathing through a straw. I was struggling to control my breathing and wasting way too much energy swatting bugs away from me. When I finally reached the aid station I knew it was bad news bears for me and started to walk. I had cramps, sweat dripping into my eyes and pretty much just wanted to call it a day. So much for that elusive PR.
It was really hard to get my momentum going again. The air felt thick to move through and my feet were not cooperating. When I finally hit the beginning of mile 3 I felt a second wind coming on. Not energy, but determination. I wanted this race to be over. My body was not feeling it. I trudged along until I finally saw the finish line, but even then I didn't have the desire to finish strong like I almost always do. I got my medal, grabbed a Gatorade and collapsed into a chair. I was a hot steaming pile of sweat.
I'll be back again next year though. This race is tremendously well organized and staffed. All of the volunteers are helpful and friendly. The course is so well marked you would have to purposefully make an effort to go off course. While I haven't ever received an AG award, they have some pretty sweet ones. They also have a kids race on both Friday and Saturday that are free. I love watching the little kiddos give it their all and come swarming around the parking lot.
If you're looking for a smaller race you should definitely check this one out. Especially if you'd like to try out an ultra for the first time. I've had friends participate in the ultra events both years that I've gone and they've had nothing but glowing reviews of their experiences. The ultra races are by time rather than distance so its a great way to get your feet wet without the pressure of reaching a certain mile point by a given cut off time. Thanks Runners 4 Wellness for another great event!