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Black Warrior Champion, Kris Whorton, Returns After Year Off

Race Team Member, Kris Whorton, shares her story of coming back to trail running in 2011 after a season of back pain in 2010. She ran the Black Warrior 25k last weekend. Here’s her take on the day:

“After running Black Warrior 50k 4 times (and winning it 3 times), and sitting out last year due to a back injury, I ran the 25k this year. Black Warrior can be a mudfest, but this year the first half was remarkably dry.

I ran with my friend Chris from Huntsville. He’s an ultimate player who dabbles in running up to 1/2 marathon distance. This was his longest run, and mine in too many months to think about; I thought it would be wise to stay with him so I wouldn’t push my pace and risk over doing it. We ran the hill at the start at a reasonable pace and hit the single track wooded trail after a few miles. I was grateful to be out on the rolling sand and pine needle trails. We went through the first aid station at 6.5 in about 55 minutes and filled up our bottles. The next section had some washed out/slick rock I hadn’t seen before so it seems the erosion has really increased since I was last on the course in 2009. We ran most of this section but walked a bit since the day was starting to get arm and it seemed reasonable to give my back a break. This course is immanently runnable since there are no significant climbs after the start and it is rolling and beautiful. There are exposed sandstone cliffs, amazing groves of big leaf magnolias, lots of hemlocks, and hardwoods galore. Although the race date is mid-February, spring feels just days away.

When Chris and I came off the single track at aid station two, we had the return road portion and the finish left. We walked and ran this section all the way. This is the part I of the race that love to run hard and I’m used to passing people, but this year we walked and jogged and got passed by at least 15 people. Chris kept telling me to go and I really wanted to but I thought it would be stupid since I’d had such a great day so far and felt good. I struggled with keeping myself in check and focused on having fun and enjoying the moment. I reminded myself that I hadn’t expected to be out there for the whole 25k and although I had a back up plan to bail after the first aid station, there I was at mile 14, feeling good, with no pain (only a little pressure in my spine), and almost done.

Chris and I ran the downhill and made our way to the finish where we celebrated with a hug, and an awesome hamburger.”