Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Scream Half Marathon

Last weekend was The Scream Half Marathon starting in Jonas Ridge, NC. To put it simply this race kicked my ass.

The race is billed as 13.1 miles of pure hill, it was, mostly, and almost all of it downhill as well. I knew downhill running would be hard on my body afterwards but I had no idea that I would feel so beat up while running. I thought oh nice an easy PR. I didn't....not even close!!!

After multiple fiascos with Days Inn, which ultimately ended up with them cancelling our room on the day we were due to arrive, we ended up staying at the Brown Mountain Beach Resort. This is where the shuttles to/from the race called home base and the race after party was held there. They had beautiful cabins but we are cheap and went with the tent camping option. $20 for two people (& one cute dog) for two nights you can't beat that, saving us a total of $150 compare to the stupid hotel. I originally wanted to stay there but I didn't explain that I was running and they didn't mention that the reason they were not allowing camping that weekend is because they closed the grounds to everyone but runners. Martina called to double check they weren't taking anyone and since she isn't a weirdo on the phone got it all sorted out. They were super laid back and our tent was right along the river, in the end all was right!

It was a lot cooler in the mountains but not cold, so that made for good camping conditions but then it also rained most of the time..so a mixed bag weather wise. I got up at 5:30am Saturday morning and once ready had the arduous journey of oh around 50 feet to get on a bus. School buses and mountains don't mix so well, but we made it to packet pickup and the race start 30 minutes later. I'd brought a fleece zip up to keep me warm while waiting to run but it was a lot cooler up at the race start than back at camp. The fact that it was so foggy you could see no more than 10 feet ahead at some stages probably accounted for most of the temperature drop. Close to race time the zip up and my new shirt went to the bag drop and I was even more envious of those clever people with rain ponchos.

We started on regular roads and ran on these for around 2 miles, with a mix of flats, up hills and downhills. Then we ran the next 10ish miles, downhill nearly the whole time except for one or two small inclines, on what was meant to be a gravel road (not so much gravel). The last mile turned onto a nice wide road covered in 2 inches of wet sticky black mud. This last mile was a killer not only did you have to drag your feet out of soft ground but we ran mostly flats and a couple of decent uphills after 10 miles of downhill.

I was secretly hoping for a slight PR with minimal effort but a few things stopped that from happening. A wardrobe malfunction of my sport bra cost me a couple of minutes at least. It closes like a normal bra at the bottom but then has a butterfly clip at the top. That came undone. It was driving me crazy so I tried to close it a few times, until eventually I got a nice lady at an aid station to close it for me. 
The roads, I'm talking about the main downhill stretch, where more like an easy trail race than a road race. It was really uneven with giant rocks appearing out of the roadway at random, very bendy and giant gouges along the bends from water runoff erosion. A much more technical run than I'm used to. In the end I was happy to finish without falling since I know I'm no good on uneven surfaces. My left leg which has been fine for weeks acted up with a sore hip and funnily my left arm cramped too. In the end I didn't care about the PR I just wanted to finish in one piece.

It rained the entire time I was running and I was exhausted, so I felt a bit loopy after crossing the line. I picked up my stuff and just kept walking until I felt a bit more with it. Eventually I got the bus back to camp. No delays or waiting for buses for me, it was very nicely organized. The after party was nice they had a good mix of food, BBQ, cookies, chips, fruit and a super tasty pasta salad. I stuck around for the age group awards but I didn't come close to the speedsters in this race (I think 3rd in my age group ran a 1.36, damn gurl). It was still raining so I showered and settled in for a rest.
No chip time so gun time 1:57:17, I'd say minus 30-45 seconds off that would be about right for my finish time.

Sunday we headed to Linville Falls in the Psigah National Forest and hiked some of the easier trails to see the waterfall, ouchy, and then we headed to Asheville for lunch and explored the city for a few hours before driving home. 

Someone (well maybe two someones) were very tired

I took Boomer out for a slow 2 mile run tonight with about another mile of walking thrown in. Three days after the race and I only now feel 'you did a super hard workout' sore compared to 'someone beat me black and blue' sore. You are warned, but what a tough, awesome experience. This is a great race with loads of camaderie between the runners, if you live nearby give it a go...just go out and start some downhill training now. 


  1. Wow, that race sounds gnarly. Isn't it crazy how much the downhills can beat you up? That always surprises me every time it happens... even though I know! Great finish time!

    1. I know, I knew I'd be sore after but I didn't think running fast on downhills would be such an issue! Lesson learned.