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


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Hey Cathi – congratulations. I was so impressed with everyone that ran in this race. It was a beautiful day and I was such a pleasure to meet so many wonderful people like you at this race. You all were truly inspiring to me :)

    Kevin @ Blue Smoke Coffee

    • cathi,

      Thanks so much for cheering us on & for the delish coffee at the finish! It’s amazing how one can get chilly on such a hot day. Perhaps we can get you out on the trails in August for our 5 miler :)

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