By staff contributor: Christy Lucas

Here was my thought process back in February.

*Hmmm there’s not enough of those corny oval stickers on the back of my car yet (actually, it’s getting a little obnoxious).

*I need another challenge to push me out of my comfort zone.

* Why not sign up for a trail race – they look like fun in the YouTube videos.

So…I went online and found the Bimbler’s Bluff 50k, a race within 20 minutes of my house – perfect – sign me up!

The Bimbler’s actually tack distance onto the end of their runs so this particular race isn’t exactly 50k (31 miles) it’s 50kish’ whichu ends up being more like 32.5 miles through some challenging, but beautiful trails in Guilford and Madison. The spectacular view from the top of the bluff makes the entire race worth it!

YOU’RE CRAZY!

If you have trained for and run a marathon, you’ve certainly heard this……”You’re crazy! I don’t even like to drive that far in my car!”

Maybe we all have a little ‘crazy’ in us, but what I learned after crossing the finish line of my first marathon, 3 years ago, is that it’s actually not hard to run distances some people only drive. The key is to put in the training suggested for a particular race/distance. Getting your butt out the door for all of the training runs leading up to the race is the challenge. The race is your payoff and the fun part!

I found trail running is just that, FUN and makes you feel like a kid again. It’s a completely different animal from road running – mentally there’s no zoning out. You either stay focused or you end up flat on your face (yup did that) but the mental aspect seems to make the time go by much quicker and the miles that much more enjoyable. Speaking of ‘enjoyable’, trail runners are the friendliest people I’ve met while running. It was so nice chatting with so many people along the course – also making the time fly by.

If the comradery of the other runners wasn’t enough, the volunteers were AMAZING! They braved the chilly weather (in the 30’s at the start) helping us cross streets safely, filling water bottles as we came into each aid station and provided tables full of anything you could want. There were M&M’s, bananas & oranges, grilled cheese and PB&J sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, boiled potatoes w/ salt to dip them in (my personal favorite) and so much more!  THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU volunteers!!! 

The race was well organized and very well marked as long as you paid attention. Thanks Will for keeping me on-course when I didn’t pay attention.

Also, a big thank you to my soundRUNNER friends, Benny and Chaz for your encouragement and course/race tips!

Last but not least, thank you to my husband, Tom and daughter, Kaitlyn for freezing their behinds off to support me…again. You’re the best!

To sum up my Bimbler’s Bluff experience:

*Yup, there’s another oval sticker on the back of my car.

*I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone.

*Trail running IS as fun as it looks in the YouTube videos.

Being my first ultra, my #1 goal was to just finish within the 10 hour time limit.

Based on my training runs I was hoping to finish between 8 & 9 hours.

Actual finishing time: 8:05:17 – Bonus, I finished in the top 10 of my age group! There were only 13 of us but who’s counting.

This was one of my favorite race experiences on all levels and I highly recommend it – I will definitely do this one again!