Part One of The Cruel Jewel Experience; the start of the 100

Vogel State Park

I have to break this up into a few posts. The weekend was just too epic and long for one post. So if you would like to read about the 50 mile race skip to the next post, I’m focusing more on the start of the 100 mile in this post.

The Chattahoochee Mountains

The Cruel Jewel 100/50 mile race is held at Vogel state park in Georgia.  It has 33k/17k of climbing, and is a Hardrock qualifier, as well as UTMB qualifier.  Hopefully you have been following along on my #crueljewelexperience and know about my training leading up.  If not, long story short.  Last year I was offered a spot but  it scared me and I felt underprepared so I kept it in the back of my mind, and this year several of my friends and I signed up.  There are NO mountains with in 2+ hour drive of where I live so it was also sort of a training experiment.  Could I train for a mountainous race with what I have to train on?  rolling single track trails, a treadmill, stadium, and lots of core work.  The short answer is, yes I can!

Anyway onto the report. My husband and myself caravanned with two other cars down to Blairsville GA.  The ride is about 5.5 hours, so we stopped in Asheville for some really good tacos at the White Duck Taco  We arrived at our cabin and were joined by several other friends over the next few hours.   We chatted, stretched, rolled out our tight muscles from the long ride and got to bed at 11pm.

The next morning everyone slept in (except maybe me, I was up at 5 eager to watch the sunrise over the mountains from the back deck.  To my disappointment it was a foggy and humid morning, but yoga in the misty air was quite nice instead.

We all had breakfast, the 100 milers packed up their things and we headed out to the start.  Luckily we had a house very close to the start so 15 minutes later we arrived at Vogel State Park.

Runners and crew before we set off to Vogel State Park

The 100 milers were excited and nervous all at the same time, and paced, jumped, and stretched as the RD spoke about the course.  At noon they took off 1/4 of a mile down the road to the single track and up Coosa Bald.

The rest of us went back to the house, ate and got ready to crew.

Mile 20 was the first place we could see the 100-milers.  The first runner, Karl Meltzer, came through at exactly 4 hours, a few minutes later the front pack of runners came in, Avery Collins, Jared Scott, and Jordan was part of this pack of 6 front runners.  They all looked a bit wore for wear, but only stopped a moment before heading back into the single track.

Drew, myself, and Nate decided to drive onto the next aid station, mile 25 to see how they did in the next section… before we had to had off to bed.

The drive to the next aid station was really easy, and only took a handful of minutes.

Wilscot aid station, mile 25 for the 100. Jordan changing socks and fixing his shoes. (Also, I can’t help it, sometimes I’m a goof)

We arrived before any of the runners.  Karl was first to come in at 4 hurts and 58 minutes, then Jared Scott at 5:08, then the rest of the front pack.  The steepness of the descents had taken a toll already on all their feet.  each runner changed socks, added glide or taped their feet from the friction.  Jordan did also.  Changed socks, added Vaseline, and then took off… forgetting poles and headlamp!  We  chased him down, and he was off.

Ben on his second day with ultimate crew chief ET!

By then it was after 5 and we needed to get back for dinner and pack our drop bags.

I took advantage of the hottub at the house and watched the sunset, trying to wind down before bed.

I fell asleep instantly but woke up at 2:30. Wide awake!  I was too excited to run, and wanted to know how my friends were faring out on the course.  There were still 4 off the 5 100 milers still out on the course.  I got a text reading that Meltzer had hit the turn at 9:30 pm, and Jordan at 11:30, Ben at 2:30 and crash and burn at 5 am(and were taking a nap)

This is where I am going to stop.  Next post is the 50 mile race report!


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