My nephew met me at the starting line and in the most informal way, we were off. Single track trail races are very interesting. If you want to compete, you better get to the trail head in a hurry. If you get behind a slightly out of shape/slower runner, you can fall behind quickly. Yes, there was a lady in front of a big, long line of folks (including me) and within 1/2 mile, SHE STARTS WALKING. The
Did I mention the views were incredible? I kept thinking to myself that it would be great to slow down and enjoy the run and the views. So that's what I did. I hit the first 4 mile splits in 9:34, 9:08, 10:19 and 10:24. Pretty fast for me, considering my paces at Percy Warner Park trails. After the 15 people passed me, I just decided to enjoy the run. Slowing down made the race much better. I really had a great time on the Gorge trails.
1,600 feet of elevation change, multiple waterfalls and creek crossings, a view of the Tennessee River and valley in the early morning mist, a rock "face" that rose 600 feet in less than 1/10 of a mile, a cool but incredibly tough "rock garden" along the basin of the gorge, and a wonderful morning - made my first trail race memorable. My nephew finished in a speedy 1:35 and in a very respectable 35th position. He lives in the area and ran the trail last week for a prep run. I'm very proud of him and his fitness. I wound up in 93rd position at 1:51 (11:17 pace). Best 93rd out of 175 person race I've ever run. I didn't care if I was last, it was so much fun. I had a huge grin on my face when I finished and Mike came up to me and shook my hand, and said "well done, wasn't that fun?" I told him, I couldn't wait until next year. A little more training and I think I can improve on my time, but the faster you go, the less scenic it is - what a trade off.. :)