Wade’s Big Adventure was like no race I had done before, but definitely one that I never want to miss. After Race Nashville 13.1, you might think I’m crazy for running an 18-miler on trails the following week. And while you might be onto something, who could turn down arguably one of the most fun races of the year?
Trail running was my thing from Sophomore year of high school all the way through college, but I diverted to pavement to focus more on some new PR’s. My first unofficial marathon was on the Appalachian Trail, but aside from that, the only similar racing I’ve done was last year’s MRTC Off-Road Series.
This year, Feb Boswell directed this 8-mile and 18-mile race and did an amazing job with the details and the new course through the beautiful trails of Shelby Farms. It was well groomed and well marked. He also hooked us up with fantastic race shirts by North Face. I usually never wear race shirts for the actual event (because I’m a tech fabric snob), but these were perfect for it.
It began around 8:00 a.m. with the casual send off of “Y’all ready? Turn around, you’re going that way. Is she out of the porta-potty? K…go!” Both distances started together with a wide out-and-back designed to spread us out before hitting the single-track.
My coach put into my plan “NO RACING” so I began at a leisurely pace with my friends Rosie and Anna. Anna just had a baby about 4 months ago and is already back running pretty regularly. She’s so inspiring. She ran as much as she could throughout her pregnancy and is now running, taking care of her baby, and works as a full-time doctor. We caught up on 8 miles of girl stuff, completely unaware of the pack cringing men behind us. Oops.
Pictured above is me with Rosie and below are their husbands, who were bold enough to run 18 miles in jorts. I didn’t survey them with a post-race chafing check, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.
After about 7.75 mile, the people running 8-miler split to head to their finish and I was on my own trying to catch up with some friends ahead. I started bored-eating a seasonal Lara Bar… it was really good.
The turn-around point was hilarious and reflected the personality and randomness of Feb. To prove you made it to that point, you had to rip out a page from a book that corresponded to your bib number, but I’m not sure about the significance of the gold skull.
Post race, I scarfed down 3 bowls of chili and enjoyed more socializing. Another thing I loved about this race was that it was personal and I knew or at least recognized 75% of the people racing. No, they didn’t cater fast food or BBQ (like most Memphis races), but they had homemade soup and families with full tailgates set up at the finish. The awards were little modge-podged tile trivets, there was no chip timing, and no formal award ceremony. It had zero bells, zero whistles, and was exactly how trail races should be.
Final distance: 18.62 miles
Final time: 2:50:42
Average pace: 9:10
Spills: 0 (personal record)
Even at a slower than usual pace, my body hurts mainly because I hadn’t been exercising those stabilizer muscles. I came straight home and took a nap, ate everything in sight, and then went to Fleet Feet for recovery yoga. With that and the massage I have scheduled this afternoon, I should be good to go in no time.
How was your weekend running?
Do you prefer to wear the race shirts or do you have a certain kit that you usually race in?
What’s your recovery routine?