May 2010
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Month May 2010

picture perfect @ the scenic city

©2010 Lucas George Photography

This was just one of those great mornings. Blue skies, fog filling the Tennessee River Gorge, a touch of coolness in the air (not that it would stick around that long)… Cars orderly lined up along the road to Laurel Point, start of the Scenic City Trail Marathon (& Half Marathon). While only in it’s third year, registration nearly doubled from last year, with 430+ racers toeing the start line – a great sign of the growing popularity of trail running.

With my knee still tweaky (my mileage has probably been cut in half and I haven’t been able to run more than 30 min without discomfort – Plica Syndrome they say…), I didn’t really have many expectations coming into this race; if the discomfort turned into pain, my plan was to stop. Meanwhile it was business (or rather fun) as usual!

the two race team kathy / cathi 's. ©Debra Martin

The start was crowded, but the self-assigned corrals helped to group people by predicted finish time. After .5-.75 miles of pavement (good for spreading folks out), we ducked into the trails. There was a long line of us, but everyone was kind & orderly, keeping a pretty solid pace. (If I was wearing my heart rate monitor, I’m sure it would have said I was going a bit too hard…) After 10 minutes or so, I was able to settle into a comfortable pace with a nice empty space around me – my fav way to run. People would pass.. small chats would be had… I would pass… and so on.

About a third of the way through, I was thinking how happy I was not to be running the full today. It was hot. And humid. The rain from the previous day kept the woods damp, with thick air. The few breaks we had in open space had to be at least 10 degrees cooler. My bottle of nuun was going quick… and since I wasn’t going to be out there for long, I didn’t bring a backup tab for a refill; nor did I bring any electrolytes. oops. My knee discomfort would wane as my focus went to my feet that started getting twinges of cramping. I chose my steps a bit more carefully, as one simple trip would send me into one huge charlie horse.

©Celeste Sneed

Shortly after the visitors center was a section called Mega Watt – some rocky sections and swooping hills. I was able to gain a bit of time here, catching back up to 2 women that had passed me on Grindstone. I think this is when my local knowledge helped. When we were a few miles out, I upped the pace a bit and was able to get some distance between us. I was actually feeling surprisingly fresh and was able to finish strong, with a final time of 1:55:23 – good enough for 5th overall woman in the half marathon. (Turns out those 2 ladies I passed ended up being 1 & 2 place masters). On an interesting note, all 4 women placing ahead of me were older than me – with 3 of them 40+. Maybe I have some speed to look forward to as I age?! :)

My post race hanging out time was a bit rushed as I had a letterpress workshop to dash to…  but not before I had a great massage from Christian and some fruit & coffee courtesy of Greenlife and Blue Smoke Coffee.

Overall, this was yet another fantastic race in the Rock/Creek Trail Series. The fields are growing larger and attracting top regional racers, and WildTrails continues to up the ante with a terrific race experience. Next up is the Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race in a month – toes crossed my knee is back to normal by then!

©Debra MartinRace day gear:
Headsweats visor
Patagonia Capilene tank
Moving Comfort sports bra
Patagonia Multi-Use Skirt
Smartwool PhD socks
Vasque Mindbenders
Ultimate Directions handheld


Yes, lots of good gear that must go! I’ve collected way too much over the years… stuff to test, stuff I’ve won, and stuff that I simply can’t use. I’m posting here and on a few forums before I go the ebay route. If you’re in the Chattanooga-area, I can meet you to try on. give me a shout!

Stuff includes:
packs by Deuter, Ultimate Directions, The North Face
shoes by inov-8, END, La Sportiva
awesome watch by High Gear (um, i’ll never need to know the rate at which i descend a mtn skiing…)
a nightpro light system with wiring issues (going for $0!)

Here’s a pdf with pics, pricing, details, etc.
gear to sell (updated June 14)

Ride of Silence

Tonight at 7pm, thousands of cyclists rode in silence at more than 300 events in 22 countries worldwide, to honor those that have been injured or killed while riding on public roadways. We had a great turnout in Chattanooga, both on bikes and those that came outside their home/business to show their respect on the sidewalks.

We were, however, one person short. David, you were in our hearts today.

An Appalachian Birthday

I played some birthday hookie last Tuesday and joined a friend (ex-pro-mountain biker turned competitive disc golfer turned hiking fanatic Hoff) for an epic day hike on the AT. We dropped the car at the NOC and grabbed a shuttle ride up to Stecoah Gap, where we would begin our 13.5 mile hike back to the car. (still trying to get the elevation change – definitely hefty, judging from how sore I was the next few days!)

Even though it was mid-May in the south, it was a bit chilly higher up, esp with the fog & mist making everything damp. During our lunch stop at Sassafras Gap Shelter, I actually had on 4 layers up top – a Patagonia Runshade shirt & 9 Trails Jacket, TNF TK100 fleece, and a Precip rain jacket. and still shivered! Having a hot meal was delightful – a big thumbs up for the Moosilauke Goulash (although seriously, is all that sodium needed?) While the clouds hid any sort of view most of the time, it made our surroundings lush – with all the birds singing constantly (that’s really the only wildlife we saw, much to Hoff’s dismay), it felt like we were in a rainforest (albeit a cold one). A little gorillas in the mist-ish…

It was early enough in the year that we encountered many thru hikers on their way north (our route was south). Definitely cool (& inspiring) to hear their stories! In hindsight, I should have asked if any were blogging their journeys – would have been neat to kept up with them. I’m not sure if I’m cut out to be on the trail that long… but I wouldn’t mind trying it out for a week or two sometime.

Once back at the car, we indulged in the NOC’s 25¢/minute for hot showers. What luxury! Then dove into the carrot cake I had stashed – my fav! Overall, the day was almost as perfect as it could be (without having my other half around ;) ).

More pics here.