Back at the beginning of August my younger brother hit me up over instant messenger. We often chat over messenger, but on this day he seemed to have a motive. Shortly he inquired about my upcoming race schedule. I filled him in on my plans for the Yeti Snakebite 50k and the Georgia Jewel 35 mile mountain ultramarathon, both weeks apart in September. Then he hit me with a big surprise, he wanted to try to run a mountain ultramarathon with me. Eventually we settled into the idea of running the Bull Mountain Epic 50k, hosted by Dumass events and Dahlonega Mountain Sports, only two weeks after I completed my hardest ultra of the year, the Georgia Jewel.
As athletes, my brother and I cannot be any more different. while I am big and stocky without a hint of natural athleticism, he is skinny and a natural athlete. Growing up, my brother’s pursuits involved athletics, often skate boarding, inline skating and cycling, while mine focused around movies and video games. Only later in life have I discovered ultramarathon and trail running. Unlike my love of trails, mountains and long distant running, my brother instead focused on triathlons and road and trail cycling. Most of his athletic pursuits have focused on short time and distance events. The only time he has ever ran longer than a half marathon was during his only Iron Man, The inaugural Chattanooga Iron Man.
Going into this race I am not worrying too much about a finish for me, for my brother maybe. This race has a very generous twenty four hour cutoff to match the 100k completion time, but he has issues with over heating and has set a time goal for himself, both issues I am sure will provide him challenge on race day. I have tried to explain to him some basic strategies as well as some drastic differences between road and ultra trail marathons. Hopefully at this point he realizes to pace the ups run the downs and eat often as possible. Thankfully in training he has worked to get used to wearing a running vest and using poles to help when he gets tired.
My only goal is to finish. Mt Baker, the final 186 foot climb over less than a tenth of a mile climb at the end of the Georgia Jewel Trail Ultramarathon, plus running my first race over 20 miles for the year, truly beat me up. I have spent the last two weeks recovering and trying to stretch and work out the soreness in my hips and legs caused from 18 hours and 37 miles of mountain running over 3,500 feet of elevation. I am truly beat up a bit heading into this race. But this race is about finishing for me and seeing my brother finish as well. This race might be my last race til next September (more on that in a later post).
Friday night will be fun as we are planning to camping at the field where the race starts on Saturday. I am looking forward to spending some good quality camping time with my brother and sharing in his first ultra marathon experience, as well as getting in one last race for the year. I am sure this will be a memorable weekend. I am excited I will get to share the experience of an ultramarathon with my brother at least once.
Til next time