Rabun Half Marathon Trail Run….Sort of

Sunday I managed to find a half marathon trail run where the RD (race director) was nice enough to say I could do day of registration AND bring Jax. I was thrilled, here was the description:

The Rabun Half Marathon showcases some of the prettiest wilderness in North GA
This 11.5ish mile course takes you on 4 miles of pristine single track, crossing 14 footbridges over creeks and small waterfalls.  You will summit Rabun Bald, the 2nd highest point in Georgia, and enjoy the 360 degree views overlooking 3 states.  You will tackle some killer downhill vert and then visit two, with an option to see a third, beautiful waterfalls before finishing.

HELLO! Doesn’t this scream adventure, and I’ve REALLY been missing the trails. I absolutely get giddy with excitement at the thought of a new trail to see. I had a big day of fun Saturday but get up bright and early Sunday ready to play, and here’s how it went:

Put in latitude and longitude coordinates for race site, and manage to drive every rock and dirt road for over 1.5 hours (now 30 mins past the start) only to park my car, ping my location on my phone, and set out to find some race signs.
Roll up on race start 3.5 miles later, meet the awesome race director who informs me the sweeper has already taken down signs but she gives me directions on where to pick up trail and go from there.
The road to the trail is MORE hills and dirt/gravel road (thank gosh jax had his booties on), and I 2nd guess myself a 1.5 up the road and turn back around only to find someone who told me I just needed to go back up and round 2 more corners and I’d be there. (OUCH)
I really thought I was going to kiss that trail sign when I saw it. I was also excited b/c this is where it was single track and tons of bridges and creeks for Jax to get in. I’d just invested in a Ruffwear Jet Stream jacket that a friend from Arizona raved about and it was time to rewet it so it was PERFECT.
Jax couldn’t have been a better dog, I know us parents think all of our kids (yes, I have a human one as well) are the best but when Jax is in his element it is just amazing to watch. He constantly checked on me, ran around like his goofy self, slowed when I needed it, and the mom in me beamed with pride and happiness watching him SO HAPPY! The trail was gorgeous! (yes, Susi you were right, I HAD to do that part).
The climb to Rabun Bald was similar in parts to Conquer the Rock (10 mile trail run) but not quite as bad OR LONG. I had to hike it, but the 1views at top were so worth it.

Here’s where I screwed up, I still don’t know where I went wrong, but I made a wrong turn. The turn I SHOULD have made would’ve popped me out on the road where my car was about 2 miles from it. I’d planned on making a left at the road and checking out the wateralls (YOU KNOW, the PRISTINE DON’T MISS WATERFALLS☹) at the end, but when we got to the bottom almost 14 miles later it was clear I was LOST.
Things I learned at this point:

  1. Dropping a pin of where your car is only works IF you have CELL SERVICE to tell you where you currently are so you can get back there.
  2. Uber will give you a rate out there, but no cars are available.
  3. If you stop a random car to help you, and if you stand there long enough, they will offer to take you and help you find your car. (she called 911 and they wouldn’t help, I couldn’t believe she called)
  4. It became VERY CLEAR no one (4 Groups!) in that area that day had a clue where they were, and again…NO GPS.
  5. Be thankful the mother was driving, I think the daughter wanted to stop drop and roll us out of the car after an hour of driving aimlessly.
  6. Trust my gut, I told them it looked familiar at one point and to just go down that road…..we passed my car at some point and never even realized it until they decided to take me back to where they were going and we saw it.
  7. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, know the race course. This was so last minute, and I was counting on it being marked, but I should know from triathlon it is my responsibility to know the course. Had I been going out to do this run without it being a race I would’ve been prepared. I should’ve been prepared regardless of race or not. Thankfully b/c I had Jax (and b/c it was trails) I had plenty of nutrition, my bestie and I’ve talked about this countless times for trails.
    I parked at a church retreat area and cemetery, and let me tell you, I had angels and God with me for sure.
  8. Last but not least, when you ask your husband who is in Chicago to do the find my Iphone, you may want to make sure your location tracker is on.

ALWAYS LAUGH, the ladies couldn’t believe I wasn’t in tears (although at one point I was close) but what would panic and tears do? The point I almost lost it was when we couldn’t find the car and I felt like I’d ruined these ladies day. I seriously gave them all the money I had in my wallet and PROFUSELY thanked them.

I WILL go back, and I WILL do the actual course (which is less mileage than what I did, haha), and if you ever want a cool race to do, THIS IS IT. It’s no medal, no shirt, just promised fun. Thank you Susi for getting me out there for your race!

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