Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Next Big Goal - Rock Creek Outfitters Chattanooga Stage Race

3 mountains. 3 days. 60 miles. June 15-17. 12 weeks away.

3 weeks ago, after a month of hemming and hawing with my finger hovering over the "Register Now" button, I took a chance, and I signed up for Rock Creek Outfitters Chattanooga Stage Race.

I think the race has been around for about 10 years, but this is the first year the race director required you to sign up for the whole enchilada - all three days. The race is on "moderately technical trail" (their words) over 3 major mountains of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Day 1 - Raccoon Mountain - 18 miles
Day 2 - Lookout Mountain - 22 miles
Day 3 - Signal Mountain - 20 miles
Here's a Flickr album of some amazing pictures! 

I had friends who ran it last year. Some really awesome, completed badass runners. It looked so pretty, they had an incredible experience, and it looked HARD. Ever since they had started talking about it last April I had wanted to do this race. I was not trained up enough last year - I was still training for my first marathon at that point. But I have thought about that race often since they got back last June.
Photo Credit: Race's FB Page!
The problem was the time limit. The race has gained popularity and now that he's started selling out, he plans to start tightening up the time cutoffs each year. As a business move, it makes sense - that's a long time over three days to be out there, and if you can fill the race with faster people and still sell out, go for it. But for me, there are other priorities in my life (my family) and genetics that will limit, even with all the reasonable training I put in, how fast I am going to get. And I'm a slow, but consistent, trail runner.

So for this year, on moderately technical trail for 3 straight days over 3 mountains, you have to manage a 15-16 minute per mile pace every day. If you can't on any single day, you'll be asked not to come back. GULP. The race director said over the next few years he will tighten requirements until he reaches that you need to be 13 minutes per mile for each race day.
Photo Credit: Race's FB Page!
I often think about the part in the movie "The Matrix" where the Oracle talks to Neo about the fact that he's already made the choice, but he doesn't see it because he doesn't yet understand the choice. Bad paraphrasing, but I hope you get the idea.

I don't endeavor to be secret with my race plans, but sometimes I'm slow to make them public. But I talk about my training and that I have goals so I'm sure I seem like a big tease at times. I'm not always sure I can see past the choice I've made. This is an example. I know that I should go for it at Chattanooga. It's only going to get harder to attempt this race. But I've spent a good 6 weeks deciding

  • I'm a good runner even if I get told not to come back the next day
  • It's fine if other people think I'm a lousy runner if I'm told not to come back the next day
  • I'm proud that I have the fire in me to even try this and to sign up with no one I know going
  • I have a lot of training ahead of me in 12 weeks to get ready for this race - I will not be told to go home because I simply didn't try
  • I signed up weeks out and knew I would have to deal with whatever came out of the Gorge Waterfalls 50K race - maybe I can no longer stomach running for so many hours because of my pace, maybe I have an awful race, maybe I'm pulled off the course
So now that I had a good race at Gorge Waterfalls, everything falls into place. And I'm ready to openly talk about this next adventure and what it entails. I'm ready for anyone who wants to to follow along on my journey and my training. I'm ready to fail at completion but succeed at spirit and chutzpah if it comes to that.

A much more experienced trailrunner than me and hundred-miler, Jeremy, has agreed to coach and advise me the next 12 weeks. And I recently had my VO2 Max testing redone to aid my training as I focus on trying to do my best.

Come along on this ride! And maybe you'll want to join me on the next adventure!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that sounds like quite a race! Can't wait to read all about it!