Thoughts from the Trail: Backass Jackal Trail Marathon Race Report

Today, I ran the Backass Jackal Trail Marathon in Jackson, TN.  I ran this race last year in 6 hours and 43 minutes.  My goals this year were to run smarter, finish stronger, and beat that time WHILE enjoying the trail and the beauty of God's creation.  I love being in the woods.  It feels like home.

This was a 3.75 mile course that 18 of us had to run 7 loops of.

Here are a few thoughts from each loop.

Loop 1:  Even though it is in the 70's at the 7:00 a.m. and about 90% humidity, it doesn't feel hot yet. My legs feel good.  I need to relax and remember to run within myself these first two loops.  Yay, for once I didn't go out too fast!  

Loop 2:  I love trails.  Trails are my best friend.  Is that a snake???  It is so beautiful out here.  This is great.  Is that a snake???   I feel so at home out on the trail.  Is that a snake?  I'm feeling good.  Is that a snake???   (A copperhead was spotted on the trail the day before!)

Loop 3:  I am still feeling great!  These loops are flying by.  I love running!!!

Loop 4:   Where did my energy go?   My legs are moving in slow motion.  I'm going to power hike for a while.  What the heck is that buzzing around my head??  (Sprinting and flailing commence.)   Oh, good grief!  It won't give up!   (I round a corner quickly and almost hit my head on a tree.)   It's gonna sting meeeeee!!!   I bet I look like I'm having a seizure.  Oh, thank God, it's finally gone.  I think I'll walk some more.  I have to remember to put this in my blog.  :-)

Loop 5:   Running is hard.  My ankles and Achilles officially do not like me anymore. Why do I keep signing up for races???  It's hot.  The real feel of 94 is  here.  My feet hurt.  

Loop 6:  (Had a few swigs of Mountain Dew before this loop).   Whoo-hoo!!  I'm feeling better.  I'm running FAST.  Look at me!!!!  This is so fun!!  

Loop 7:   (More Mountain Dew.)  Almost done!  I'm so hungry!!  I'm so ready to be done.  My everything hurts.  EEEEK! Oh, it's just an earthworm.  I can't breathe.  It's HOTTTTT.  This air is too thick to breathe.  I feel nauseous and a little dizzy.  Should I hike a little while?  Nah,  I'm finishing strong.   Last little bit---I'm going to sprint it in!  

Immediately after that sprint:  Thank God it's over.  I can't breathe.  

One minute later:  That was GREAT.  A 27-minute PR over last year!!!  My A-goal was 6:15, but I'll take 6:16:42!  I'm hurting but happy.  Time to hit the chair.

A few minutes later:  I'm scared to take off my socks.  I hope my second toenail is still attached.

A couple of seconds later:  Nope.  Well, partially.  EEEW.  That's nasty.  I think I'll cut it the rest of the way off with these nail scissors in my bag.  (Which I did.)  Wow, that looks hideous.  I'll have hide it with a bandaid for the next 3 months.   "Hey, ya'll, I just CUT OFF my toenail with scissors!!  Anthony, come look at my toe!"

An hour later changing clothes in the backseat of the car: (I scraped the 2nd toenail from the other foot on the back of the seat.)  Are you kidding me? ??  That one, too??  Ok, half of it is still attached.   I think I will leave it alone.  

On the drive home:    My toenails all hurt.  Well, I guess not ALL of them.  (Wild laughter at myself.)  That was hilarious.  I think I will look into having those two permanently removed.  

Here are a few pictures from the final loop.  I was running hard, but I took time to take a few pics, mostly while in motion  (possibly contributing to missing that 6:15 goal... Whatever.)

One of my favorite spots.  Pine needles covered the ground making for soft running, but not much shade!

It was so green and lush.

Look, the trail has it's own mosquito breeding facility:
Tall and skinny trees do not make much shade, but they are cool looking at least.
Kind of rain-foresty (in my mind).
Just such a pretty spot.
Tired, happy, and toenail-less.  (Well, I still have 8 that are fairly solid.  For now.....)