27 lessons from my 27th state

1. Leave your ego at home. I chose the 50K option of the Run for Kids 12 Hour, 50K, & 5K- although I usually go for the longest option available (i.e. full over half, ultra instead of marathon), I was still banking off of training from Eugene and not physically or mentally prepared for the 12 hour.

2. If you must drive 7 hours each way, do it through the Smoky Mountains.
3. Averaging 5 hours of sleep/night the entire week before a race is a bad idea.

4. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” sounds better in Alabama.

5. Running skirts are super cute.

6. Small inaugural events are not to be avoided. I constantly hear horror stories about first time events; in my experience, organization for a smaller group is fine. In fact, at both Rehoboth Beach Marathon and in this event, the RDs have gone out of their way to make sure I had an extra special experience.

7. It is possible to get a size small shirt at race day packet pick up.

8. Shared miles are the best miles. One of my co-workers, Monica decided on a whim to join me in the 50K and we spent the first third of the race catching up. Nonstop chatter- who needs an iPod?!
9. The same 3 mile loop 10 times is no guarantee for the directionally challenged.

10. The same 3 mile loop 10 times guarantees 9 visits to the aid station.

11. Best fuel: PB&J

12. Running in extreme heat with little shade is awful for everyone, no matter what conditions you are accustomed to.

13. However, you don’t want your first taste of 90 degree weather and accompanying Southern humidity in almost 2 years to be during a 31 mile race.

14. Use salt tabs.

15. Wear Marathon Maniac gear. There were 3 other Maniacs at this event; as usual, I enjoyed the camaraderie.

16. Speaking of Maniacs, I finally got to meet Larry Macon, who made my day by exclaiming, “You’re unstoppable!” during my final loop.

17. Establish ground rules. Monica and I agreed early on that we would separate if needed. Around mile 25, I was extremely dehydrated and experiencing painful muscle spasms that reduced me to a run-walk. Monica maintained a steady pace and ended up the 2nd female overall in her first 50K!

18. Drop bag: security blanket

19. Run with someone better than you. Monica is an experienced Ironwoman and straight up beast of an athlete- if she lived closer, I’d stalk her gym sessions and training runs because it’d only make me better.

20. I first learned that concept at Crossfit Fairbanks and now use it at Crossfit Vitality- purposely going to classes with folks who straight up smoke me. The way I see it? If I’m finishing first, something is wrong.

21. The sun does not care if you call it an asshole.

22. Crossing the finish line: good. Getting a call from Trey a few minutes later: better.

23. A garden hose can double as “shower facilities”.

24. You cannot achieve a PR in every race. I finished in 5:49:07- 50 minutes slower than my last 50K, which featured 2400’ collective ascent and much more challenging terrain.

25. Put things in perspective. My time was 9 minutes faster than the 3rd male overall.

26.No excuse is a good excuse.

27. Do what needs to be done: state #27, Alabama, is in the books!