Such a great race today at the Music City Trail Ultra in Pegram, TN about 30 miles West of Nashville! I am a member of an amazing Trail Running Group called the Ultra Dirtbags / Dirtbags with Fleet Feet Nashville. We are all training for a race in May and today’s race was a training run in preparation for that race. Pictured below are a few of our members before the race as well as the Race Director wearing the kilt.
After weeks of very cool weather, today felt hot – somewhere between 70-80 degrees. The pre-race communication warned of snakes and ticks so I was well covered and that contributed to how hot I felt. Most of us ran the 25K, which ended up being 16.5 miles with 2,785 feet of elevation gain.
After running through a field with random piles of horse poop, it felt like 5 miles of steep hills and descents before we got to the first aid station. We patiently awaited our turn on the hills so it was a good opportunity to take a few photos. It rained early this morning which made the earth beneath the leaves extremely muddy and slick. Actually, the majority of the trail was covered with rocks, trees, holes, and mud all covered by leaves. I may have been extra cautious in these areas to protect my ankle and I am happy with that choice because I did not re-injure it!
In some spots the descent was so steep and muddy that my friend Diana crab walked down the trail.
In other parts of the trail, I use the term “trail” loosely here because there was literally no trail, you only knew where to go by following the flags. Thankfully the trail was well-marked and turns were extremely well flagged. Even after many of the flags were trampled by faster runners, I was still able to find my way.
I ran the first eight miles with my fellow Ultra Dirt Bag Todd. This was great because I could hear about his recent trip to Nicaragua to run up and down a volcano and we got to experience stream crossings and at least 40 downed tree crossings.
There was fireball at the second aid station and since I had never tried it I thought it was a good time to try it…. just a little taste…. it was delicious. Shortly after the second aid station, we parted ways and I ran the majority of the remaining miles by myself. I like running with friends but I also like running alone. There is something about that personal struggle and relying on your own resources that is very appealing to me. I usually bounce between inner dialogue, repeating verses from random songs in my head, sweet talking myself both out loud and internally and saying little prayers of thanks to the trail Gods. Today I told myself that I need to simplify my life more. Lately I have felt a bit overwhelmed and struggled with time to get all my running completed. I definitely noticed the lack of hill repeats when struggling up the long steep hills.
Overall a great race with plenty of steep, challenging, technical terrain mixed in with rolling dirt and gravel roads, stream crossings, etc.
The race started with bagpipes and ended with a finishers pint glass, pizza, and music. I honestly love trail runners and the trail runner vibe. This was a fun and challenging race with pretty Tennessee scenery (much not pictured) and great people.
I am relieved to report I did not encounter any snakes and I think I came home tick free! If you did this race I would love to hear about your experience.