Monday, February 5, 2018

Yeti or Not 25K ~ Race Recap

Oh boy… Where do I begin… 

As you know I am in the midst of Marathon Training (and yes I think I am crazy too considering I had never run a mile before 2013). 

I love talking to other marathoners for tips. Colleagues of mine, a father son duo, shared with me that they did a 20 mile race as one of their training runs. 

That got me really thinking, 20 miles seems ridiculous to me and so doing that distance as a race might entice me. Having a reward for that kind of mileage like a medal, a t-shirt, food is pretty attractive. LOL! The only 20 milers around though are in the fall, perfect for a fall marathon but not so helpful for a spring marathon. In my search however I found the Yeti or Not 25K and my wheels started turning. It just so happened that I would need a 15 mile run that weekend and a 25K is 15.5 miles! 
A few weeks later I saw a fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador share in her Strava Feed that she had run the course. I reached out to her to ask a little about the course and race and after hearing all she had to say I decided to sign up!!! I asked Carly to join me and she was undecided. The very next week another Skirt Sister offered me a free entry but since I had already registered I asked if I could offer to Carly!! Peer Pressure is sooooo much easier when there is a free race entry as the bargaining tool lol!!

All agreed and Carly was signed up to run it with me and I am soooooo glad she was!!

We decided that we were using this as a training run so we were NOT going to race it.

I as always figure out my race day gear and clothes the night before, see the list of all my gear at the end of this post!!
The forecast showed it was expected to be a low of 20 and high of 40, my absolute favorite temps to run in!

We planned to leave at 6:30 am. The event was about a 2 hour drive away. The race started at 10am and packet pickup would begin at 8:30am. I realized once we got into Hendersonville that I had left my Garmin at home!!! Ugggg.... Thank goodness for Strava!!

We got there and grabbed our packets. We got our bib, a Subaru shopping bag (which is awesome for trips to Aldi), a couple of flyers for upcoming races, a $10 off coupon for a running store and our long sleeve tech t-shirt. I’m not sure how I feel about the shirt it’s pretty thin and super transparent. I would not wear it without something else under it. Other than that it’s fine.

We hung out in the car for the next bit and then got out about 20 minutes before race start.

I did not get the normal pre-race gitters. I think because I had it in my mind that I was not racing. 
We met a few new runners and chatted a bit (trail runners are freaking awesome) and then met up with our fellow Skirt Sister Laura.

We started the race and felt pretty good. The first five miles we kept telling our selves we needed to take it down a notch. Then we would tell ourselves to drop it down a gear. So on and so on. We were certain we did not want to race it. That was kind of tough because we let a lot of folks go on as we held back. I had to remind myself that this race was not a goal. The marathon is my goal. I did not want to risk a twisted ankle or worse that would interfere with me meeting the marathon goal.

The course was extremely hilly and technical for me  I almost wiped out several times and I almost lost Carly down a small waterfall!!

The hills of the mountains are not like the hills of the Foothills/Piedmont. The trails of the mountains are not like the trails of the Foothills/Piedmont either.

The farthest I have run on trail has been the South of the Mountain 5K. So three miles on trail that is pretty cleared, flat and truly rolling compared to fifteen and a half miles of trails that are not cleared at all, rooty, rocky and hilly is a huge difference.

It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have done to date. I really had no idea what to expect. It took us 4 hours to complete. My last long run was 18 miles in less time than that!!

All that to then say: But I loved it!

I’m so glad we didn’t go out to race it. The course was breathtaking and I was able to fully enjoy it! I felt so connected to God and to self being out there in the woods. I felt so much energy from the tress and I could feel my lungs cleansing themselves in the fresh mountain air. There were several creek crossings and I felt a charge from the creeks and then as we ran around Summit Lake I felt a balancing effect and I felt completely refreshed. All around us as we ran we could hear the rushing of the water in the streams and waterfalls. It was incredible. DuPont State Forest has six or more waterfalls and it is this forest that we ran 15.5 miles!

Life is so symbolic, as I think about the roaring majesty of the waterfall I acknowledge that as I began my running journey running only one mile even she began her journey as only a small stream. 

Toward the end of the run there were parts that I would run ahead a bit and both Carly and I would be in our own groove meeting up at intervals. I was running along and stopped a minute to make sure we were still staying close to one another when I saw the biggest most vibrant red cardinal. The cardinal swooped down and perched directly above me on a broken branch of a tree. He peered over to look at me. 

I was too busy being still in his presence to take a photo but, as I sometimes do, this is my doodle of him watching quietly over me.

I stood there in awe at how close he was to me and I felt so immediately thankful to God for that moment. I felt protected, watched over, loved, remembered, and I was completely flooded with emotion. After a few moments the he flew off and immediately I hear this song beautifully in my mind:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

I took a few minutes to walk and cry and collect myself before returning to my stride. 

Mother Nature really puts me in touch with all the feels!

This race consisted of gorgeous trail, tons of hills, actually mostly hills and it was certainly a challenge. For anyone looking for a cool 25K I recommend giving it a go!

There is a cool medal at the end and some yummy soup too!

I am not sure if I will do the Yeti again or not. I am not sure we were really Yeti for the Yeti lol! I am so glad we did not race it. I think if we had we probably would have finished in 3:30ish. I know to never say never, who knows what the future holds but for now I am checking the 25K off my list and moving on to the next. I will say however that after completing this event and that course I feel like there isn’t anything I couldn’t do! 

I really am loving this journey to marathon! My journey is not the typical "pile on the miles" journey. In addition to piling on the miles we are seeking adventure making it that much more fun! 

The next journey awaits!! 

My Gear for this race:
Skirt Sports Free Flow Top use Code 37AVER for 15% off
Skirt Sports Lioness Skirt use Code 37AVER for 15% off
Skirt Sports Go the Distance Tights use Code 37AVER for 15% off
Crazy Compression Quartz Mint ask me for a 45% off Coupon Code!!
Brooks Ghost 10 
Nathan Hydration VaporAiress Vest
Asheville Marathon Buff (watch instagram for the Free Buff Wednesdays to secure yours and sign up to run with me in March (tTll them Deanne sent you!)

Read Carly's re-cap of the race on her blog Being a Bumgarner

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