Trash Panda Recap

Trash Panda Recap

We went, we walked, we conquered.

The restaurant for our dinner the night before our race had water, so that was all good.

Our yummy dinners the night before the race.

We still didn’t have water at our hotel on race morning, and it didn’t matter. We were up early, found a Starbucks that had coffee, then headed to the park where the race was being held.

My pictures do it no kind of justice, but we stopped for pictures of the sunrise on the way up the mountain.

We set up our chairs and blanket and shortly after Race Director Courtney came over to suggest we move closer to the start of the race. This was our chance to pepper her with our many questions.

We learned of Awesomesauce’s other races, that the holiday race has pajama pants as the “gift,” and that 250 people were taking on Trash Panda with us on this day.

Our new spot, right by the race start.

Since it was only 250 people, we met, mingled, and visited with several folks who also set up right by the race start/turn-around spot. We got to know many faces quite well from passing them multiple times.

It was a 4 mile loop, with an aid station about half-way out. Each time we circled back to the starting point we would pick up a rubber band to show how many loops we had completed. After our last loop, we would head out for one last “out and back” to get to our full 13.1 mile distance.

Courtney explaining logistics.

Announcements out of the way, we were ready to roll.

At the start of our adventure.

This picture makes me smile for two reasons:

1) We accidentally brought the same shirts to wear. Now we’ve agreed that we always do that for future races; some sort of matching something.

2) The night before when we were looking over all the gorgeous hand-made mugs to choose a color, we took a really long time. Eventually we each picked one up, turned to the other to say, “Look what I picked!”

We had picked the same color.

We laughed, then put back our carefully chosen mugs and each picked one that was truly a unique color.

My final choice.

This is the sort of path we were on for the race:

And attached to trees throughout the course were signs like this:

The race began at 9 a.m. East Coast time, and we forgot to check the time every.single.time. we came through the turnaround. So we just kept on moving and being amazed at how good we felt, and how much better this was than last time.

One band.
Two bands.
Three bands.
Out and Back, BABBEEEE!

We had learned so much at our last half-marathon and we learned more at this one.

We both loved the assortment of items available at the aid stations, although I stuck to a banana section and peanut M&Ms each time.

I accidentally grabbed some skittles, thinking they were M&Ms and had to quickly find a trash can to spit them in. That was an unpleasant surprise.

After you completed your chosen distance you walked over to the timer table to get your official time scored and to receive your handmade, wooden race “medal” from the race director herself.

Sweaty, don’t care.
With Race Director Courtney.

After picking up our t-shirts and medals we spotted a person we passed on the course many times. (People could go both directions on the course, except for the “out and back,” which had to be to the right, so you were passing and being passed by people from both directions often. It was a narrow dirt trail, so it was a chance to pause and cheer as people came by.)

We had noticed this person because she smelled so good each time we passed her, and by the end of the race that is a heck of a feat. So we went over and told her our compliments and made another new friend.

Moni was willing to put her arms around stinky us.

The great thing about visiting with Moni was that she filled us in on some options that weren’t aware of. She’s an Awesomesauce Races devotee as well, and she loves to do half-marathons. There’s a group called Half Fanatics that we can now aspire to.

All because someone smelled good at our race.

Our last half-marathon three years ago turned into a death march by the end, but this time around after about 30 minutes of sitting and rolling out muscles, and then walking very slowly and gingerly, we were ready to walk to the van, drive to the restroom building, change clothes, then head off on our drive back home.

I had blisters on the ball of each foot, a heat rash burn on my left leg from my knee pad, and a very tender right arch. Lindyne ended up with a few blisters and a little heat rash on her shoulder, but was in great shape overall. And we were both at church on Sunday and moving just fine, thank you very much!

Toes are so funny looking.
You can see the seam of my knee sleeve. Impressive.
We both had puffy fingers.

These are my regular fingers, sans puff:

I like these fingers much better than the race end sausage fingers.

We stopped at the welcome center for the park which looks down into the Tennessee Valley. A sign in the visitor’s center said that the TN Valley has the 3rd most diverse aquatic system in the world. I was surprised by that. It certainly deserves more investigation.

A leisurely, comfortable, chatty drive home, out to dinner for sushi with our respective families, and back to CrossFit on Monday.

It was a very good weekend.

Yeah, Us!

Now we just need to pick our next race…