The top 40 reasons (in no particular order) why I enjoyed my first running of the Strolling Jim in Wartrace, TN:
40. This race is actually 41.2 miles, but due to a washed out bridge this year, the course was detoured and rumored to be closer to 43.2 miles.
39. The SJ40 was my 80th ultramarathon.
38. Out of 80 ultramarathons, the SJ40 was my first 40 (kinda/sorta) mile race. With a new distance, I get a new PR of 11:07:45. Woo hoo!
37. "No pain, no brain" - one of several "inspirational" messages painted on the road.
36. The gallon jugs of water along the side of the road every two miles.
35. Four aid stations located at Mile 13, 20, 29, and 35.
34. Very nice and helpful volunteers at all four aid stations.
33. Very little traffic along the country roads of the course.
32. The locals that were traveling on the country roads gave us a wide berth as we ran toward them and waved to us as they passed.
31. The beautiful scenery of the country.
30. The rain and overcast skies that kept the temperature comfortable the entire day.
29. My left calf stopped crying after about 10 miles. It's still aggravating as all get out, two weeks after the Earth Day Challenge Marathon.
28. The many, many cows that stopped eating grass to look up and stare at me as I ran along the course. It's really unsettling, lol.
27. In addition to the cows, horses and goats rounded out the most frequently seen animals along the course.
26. Seeing Mike (TN), Diane (TN), Bruce (TN), Trent (TN), Lisa (TN), Steve (KY), and Andy (FL) before we all took off running at the start. I wasn't fast enough to run with any of them, lol.
25. The cool periwinkle shirt in our goodie bag.
24. The cool race booklet showcasing the history of the SJ40. This year was the 31st edition.
23. The claim that there are only 4 hills on the course. Yeah, right! So, what in the heck were those other monstrosities I kept climbing over all day long, leaving me breathless and weak in the legs, lol.
22. "This is not a hill" - another "inspirational" message painted on the road.
21. "This is not a hill" - the same "inspirational" message painted on the road a few miles away from the point at which I saw this message the first time, lol.
20. "But this is" - indeed! It was one of the 4 real hills, and we had an "inspirational" message painted on the road to let us know, just in case we were wondering, lol.
19. "Real men run this hill" - I'm not a man, so it was okay that I walked this hill, lol.
18. "Only wimps walk here" - I'm a wimp and proud of it, as I walked, yet, another hill, lol!
17. Every 5 miles was painted on the roads for us.
16. The course was well marked with painted arrows on the road.
15. Seeing the first two runners headed back to the finish on a relatively short, overlapped section of the course. I estimated that these runners were a good 19-20 miles ahead of me. Yikes!
14. Lots of loose dogs running around in the country, but only one came up to "greet" us.
13. Coke at Aid Station #2 and #4. I was getting so sleepy!
12. Wartrace is about an hour drive for me, so I got to sleep in my own bed the night before the race.
11. Porta potties at the start; otherwise, bushes with heavy foliage along the course.
10. Plenty of parking at the start/finish area.
9. No spectators to see me dragging my fat a$$ up and over all of those hills, lol.
8. The runner who passed me at about Mile 2 and asked if I was planning to go the whole distance. Huh? He's joking, right?! Did I look that bad that early, lol?
7. Meeting Dan (KY) soon after Aid Station #2. This was his 24th finish of the SJ40. If not for the neuroma in his foot, I would have never had the opportunity to run/walk with him. Dan has posted 6:45 - 6:50 on this course. He is definitely elite! And it was a treat to run/walk over 20 miles with him.
6. The Walls - a serious of hills along the course that roll up and up.
5. Cruising down the hills and feeling fast, if only in my little, warped mind, lol.
4. Breaking through the finish line tape with Dan as the last two finishers of the race.
3. Shaking the infamous race director's (Gary) hand at the finish line.
2. Sitting on the curb at the finish line, chatting with Diane, finally off my feet.
1. Driving home from the small town of Wartrace and thinking that the SJ40 was a great experience.
4 years ago