Last weekend, I returned to Chattanooga, planning to run the inaugural edition of the Classic 150 5k and the Chattanooga Half Marathon. Little did I know that my weekend was gonna have a sudden left turn.
Unfortunately, I’d been sick for the two weeks since Gasparilla. I think the snow-surf-snow escapades just before and just after the trip did me. It was head cold city, and no running before heading home to Choo Choo town.
I rolled into town on Friday, staying in the brand new Holiday Inn downtown. While this wasn’t adjacent t0 the race site — my usual M.O. — it was wonderful, and so very nice. I relaxed, and set about looking for some dinner. I looked at the map, and found a place called Maple Street Biscuits that was within walking distance. I strolled down for dinner, and had a scrumptious biscuit, filled with fried chicken breast meat, bacon, and slathered in maple syrup. On the side, I had fried green tomatoes, with housemade pepper jelly. Wow, was that ever great!!! I had a chat with one of the owners, talking about their coffee. They have a deal with Red Leaf Roasters, brining them several kinds of custom roasted coffee. I had the maple infused coffee, and fell in love, grabbing a sack to bring back to Da Lou.
Strolling around downtown, I was struck by just how much Da Noog has grown since I left it in the mid-90s. In those days, when the workday was over, the sidewalks rolled up, and the city was largely vacant until Monday morning. Now, it’s vibrant, with theaters, a huge cycling community, and the fastest internet to the house on the face of the earth. (Ok, maybe just North America.)
I got up early on Saturday, and drove down to Finley Stadium. Finley was also the site of the race in Chattanooga in February 2014, although in that race, we started and finished on the football field. Not so, this go around! Parking was at premium, but I was early enough to have no real issue.
I found some coffee, slurped it down, and got into the starting corral. Time always seems to inch forward in the corrals, but soon enough, the start came, and I started chugging down the road. The course was astonishingly flat given that this race was in Chattanooga, and with that flatness came some speed. I ran through the south side neighborhoods and business district, and pretty quickly found myself back at the finish. It was the fastest time I’d had since October, and I was thrilled.
There was a kids race shortly after the finish, and I hung around for a bit, waiting for that to start so I could head towards The Mountain on re-opened roads after the close of the day’s events. Mom ordered a pizza from Crust Pizza, and I played pizza delivery boy. It was the first time I’d had their pie, and it was uber-tasty. After a far-too-short visit on The Mountain, I headed back toward the hotel.
This was the first time I’d had my shoes off since the race, and I discovered that my blister area from Tampa was awfully aggravated, and I had a good-sized blood blister formed around the relatively new toenail that had sprouted from the black toenail event at Tulsa. Once again, my feet were failing me, and I began to wonder if I had a shoe problem with my new Hoka’s. And Sunday would be the half. Ugh.
Dinner was at Maple Street Biscuits again, where I had the Squawking Goat — a biscuit, with fried chicken breast meat, a fried goat cheese medallion, all slathered in pepper jelly. I wasn’t sure the jelly and cheese combination would work, but it was spectacular!
And the more I looked at my feet after I got back to my room, the more I questioned whether I should go out on the course Sunday for the half.
As it ends up, I elected not to risk it. Both feet were in some discomfort before even starting, and I was pretty sure if I did the half, I’d be off the trails for a while, nursing what would surely be further aggravated injuries. I called the front desk, made arrangements to check out, and hit the road. And to add insult to injury, I got to watch the start of the marathon races from my hotel window, and subsequently saw runners on-course as I drove out of town.
So, it was a disappointing weekend in some ways. I loved having the nice 5k finish, but I hated not even starting the half. I really wanna embrace the half marathon distance, and run those with some regularity. Until I get my shoe/foot situation squared away, that seems a long ways off.
Oh, and if you live in Cadiz KY, or were a worker or customer at the Marathon Gas Station on Sunday, I apologize. If you were there, you know why. Let’s just say there was a sack of Krystal’s involved. 🙂