As the morning fog settled in the small race valley, and the dew clung on various awnings; I smelled coffee and the anxiousness of a serious challenge brewing. So I put on my War Face and headed to the check-in, to begin the most physically challenging 5K I have experienced here in the South.
This is the fourth time BikesnBeers has competed in this race, and the second time we have been a sponsor. That meant at least one of us has run it every single time, and that one would be me. You would think that I would get bored doing the same race over and over, but the event organizer, Outdoor In the Smokies, does an excellent job of continually adding to the event and changing up the course. One year they started you out going through the water, another had you go up the 100’ rope climb twice; you never know quite what you have in store when you sign up to race. This time the race added a second rope climb located near the top of Cardiac Hill and added some new features to the obstacle course. This year’s event also provided concessions (homemade BBQ), beer to runners of age, and a band to complete the Smokey Mountain experience.
As part of the Sin City Geezers race team, my 10 year old son joined me to experience the pain; and after this race he now knows what it feels like to be a Geezer, even at his young age. He had run some cross country prior to this in school events, but nothing that required the vertical demands this race put on him. And that is part of what makes this race unique. Typical cross country runners are not used to the steep climbs and scrambles up and down hillsides involved in this race, and like my son, they were in for a whole new kind of challenge. It was also nice to experience the race again through the eyes of someone who has never done it, and doesn’t know what the next bend has in store. That continual look and mutterings of “Are you kidding me” and “I hate this race” and “When will this climb end” reminded me of my first time at this. And even though we completed the race in the bottom half of the standings, we both ultimately had a great time, all mutterings aside.