Triple Trifecta – aka South Carolina Beast
Coming off of an emotional race in Vermont followed up by an action packed couple of weeks of family time, moving, a funeral, packing, then unpacking again, and something like 2,600 miles on the car it was time to race again. I can say this was the first race all season I was glad when it was over!
Race morning came early after arriving Friday morning on the red eye from Salt Lake City. Driving into the venue it was still dark and it dawned on me I should have packed sweatpants for pre-race mornings for the rest of the season. Familiar faces filed into the race venue and soon we were lined up side-by-side and we were off.
As has become something I am accustomed to these races, as we took off I watched the fastest women run away at blistering paces and once again found myself somewhere between 15-20th for women. I quickly settled into my rhythm and began running the endless small hills this Beast would offer. The hills in South Carolina in no way can compare to that of Vermont but still were steep. They were what I classify as “pain in the ass” hills, meaning they were long enough to really test you but not too long you couldn’t run them. The entire course was like this. It seemed long distances between obstacles and lots of wide open running.
Over four miles into the race I found myself sitting in 14th place thanks to timing splits from the guys at J-Chip. I had moved up a few spots but still had a lot of work to do before the finish. Much of the race was run with different friends all of which had recently been in Vermont, and a theme seemed to develop among all these racers, we all just wanted the race over from the beginning. As I made my way successfully obstacle to obstacle my pace picked up. Even the monkey bars this week didn’t give me a problem as they had in Virginia and Vermont.
I soon found myself in the last mile or two of the race, I knew I had passed many women in the last eight plus miles but it was not until the very end I would make my last drive closing the gap. As I went up the last hill I saw a woman in front of me struggling, a quick move in front of her saw me over the last eight-foot walls. Next came the spear throw and yet another woman passed. One of the last obstacles was the slippery wall, this race was particularly slippery and I saw a woman struggling to get over slipping back down the wall. I took a deep breath climbed up and fond myself about to slip backwards, grabbing the top of the wall in the last second I was able to muscle myself over. I ran past the gladiator and found myself finishing just under three hours in 6th place. I was never so happy to have a race over, the last couple of weeks had taken a tool on me without me realizing.
It was after the race that really was the most memorable for me. I was asked if I could help after the volunteers headed out for their heat of the day. I took up the challenge and would hand out medals to finishers for almost seven hours after completing my own race. My time giving out medals more than made up for a lackluster feeling about my own race. The excitement in peoples eyes as they received the green medal was priceless. Even better for me was being able to give some friends, fans, and readers their medals.
It was well after sunset before I left the race venue but those extra hours handing out medals were well worth it. It’s funny how the most joy in the day did not come from anything I was given but what I was able to give. Sometimes a race is just a race but out of each race we take a unique experience and memories, this one will be the joy I was able to give others.