The Ascent – “The Hardest Hill Climbs in the South.” Sounded fun and challenging, and it was. 3.7 miles up, up, up the mountain.
My day started kind of hectic. I left home at 8:30 AM and had a 2 hour drive to get to the race. And what a beautiful drive it is. Through the “Foothills” of North Carolina, onto the “Blue Ridge Parkway” (Which is absolutely beautiful in the fall with the leaves on the trees changing), and into the Blue Ridge Mountain Club. This place was BEAUTIFUL. A private development in the mountains of North Carolina.
I arrived at the gate at 10:30 AM. The guard said the start was 3.7 miles down the hill. This is when it sunk in, what I had signed up for. As I pulled passed the guard shack, I saw the Finish Line to my left. ”Yup, going to be a very interested race today.” I said to myself. So I put my car in neutral, with my foot on the brake, and rolled down the mountain. Seriously, I didn’t have to touch the gas all the way down. Half way down, the exciting feeling changed to an almost overwhelming nervous feeling. I think the fact that I got there late was probably better for me, mentally. I didn’t have alot of time to warm up and think about the ridiculous hill I just came down, that I would have to now run up.
11:00 AM on the dot, the gun went off, and it was the slowest start to a race I had ever seen. It was slow going, but I was doing well for the first half of the race. (I can’t stress how tough these climbs are, and at an elevation you’re not used to, is an added toughness that you can’t really train for). About half way through I started alternating between Power walking and jogging. 30 seconds jogging, 30 seconds power walking. My calves were on FIRE. The beautiful views took my mind off the pain temporarily. I ended up finishing 10th overall, and 3rd in my age group at 39:48. The star of the race however, was a 14 year old who ran it in 29:09. INCREDIBLE.
(Great view from the mountain top)
Woohoo. Something about getting a medal, whether it’s bronze or gold, makes it worth the self-torture.
Pirate Race Productions put on a great event, with a great After Party. Local Micro Brewed Beer for the adults and burgers for all. I even played a little corn hole before heading home. I look forward to doing this race again next year.
I did however have to stop on the way out to take in the scenery.
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