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Norris Dam Hard Trail Race 50K: 8:21:53

Lol...I've never been so content with a last place finish! Not a PR, or anywhere even close to it, but overall this was one of the nicest most enjoyable trail runs I've ever done. And my longest single distance run completed since May.

My new catch phrase is "IF YOU CAN'T BE FAST, MIGHT AS WELL BE FLASHY" (Pics soon to show you what I mean.)

Oh, and even finishing last, I placed in the Master's Women's division.

Weather was great, sunny but cool starting off in the morning, and it never got too uncomfortably warm even finishing in the middle of the afternoon. The race was well organized*. The trails were beautiful.

Saw Andon and his wife (B'ham runners that I met earlier in the summer at the Stage Races). We ran together about the first 5 miles, but then he found his feet!

*adventures of the directionally impaired: the course was well marked and easy to follow. Except on the very last turn of the race (about a quarter mile from the finish!) They'd already pulled up the flags at that point, and I of course start skipping off down the wrong path-- luckily one of the race workers was behind me and shouted out, and so I only lost about three minutes of time on my ditzy detour.

Masochists delight: It wasn't all that much fun going DOWN at the start, and it was even worse coming back UP the last hill section of the course. (Damn race directors putting the steepest climb less than a mile from the finish!) VERY vertical steep curve; loose dirt and gravel, I had to (both ways) bend over and hand over hand to keep from slipping and falling. And that bit was followed with about 50 steps set into the trail--of course, all the wrong height and depth to find a rhythm and climb easily. There were plenty of other ups and downs along the way (about 5,200 feet of elevation change), but very managable and not anything of the sort of technical stuff that gave me fits and spoiled my mood in the Signal Mountain run.

69 runners in the 25K, and 28 more in the 50K.

I was content with my halfway/25k time of approx 3:50 (that was right about what I had hoped for) and finished in front of about 6 or so of the 25K runners. However, obviously I slowed down on the return trip. I ran all the way back by myself, saw a few race crew folk (who were all very congenial and encouraging) but no other runners. So, without any trail buddies to keep pushing me, I must have settled into my slow but comfortable and steady training pace.

Do think I'm going to need to drop 10 lbs or so, and commit to doing a bit more tempo and speed work, if I wanna see any progress toward a quicker pace.

But still, I felt damn good most of the time. I enjoyed this run; I felt alive.

The camelbak worked well for me. The aid stations were sufficiently stocked as well. Didn't "bonk". No stumbles or falls; no blisters or any chafing.

Saw deer. Some gorgeous sapphire blue butterflies. At one point, looking down on the lake from the trail above gave me a bit of vertigo--couldn't tell if I was looking at water or sky it was so blue!

Amused myself, along the miles and amidst many other thoughts, with planning out my next quirky doll project. I'm going to make a mascot plush of the "Rare, Elusive Northern Alabama Trail Sloth" to accompany me to my races.

Apologies to B, C and h for my being in a somewhat cranky mood pre-race on Saturday; I was just keyed up and touchy. The after-race endorphins and good mood was much better for everyone!

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