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“My First StumpJump Adventure”

Angela Stansberry from Hanceville, AL sent in this great race report from this year’s StumpJump 11 Mile race. Her husband ran the 50K and it sounds like they both had a great weekend here in Chattanooga. If you have any race stories to share, please send them on to Mark at mark @ rockcreek.com
I’ll try to keep this quick & to the point! This was my first ever trail race & I had an absolute blast!!! My husband Mike has finished several 100 milers, 50 milers & 50Ks — I’ve always been his crew & really enjoyed the atmosphere & people….Well, this year he felt that I was ready to run my own race while he ran his….talk about SCARED! I was afraid I’d get lost (no way — it was marked too well), that I’d be last (not that there’s anything wrong with being last — to finish is to win, right?), or that I’d fall off the mountain (well, I very nearly did)….we came up the day before for the tasty carbo load dinner & slide show — lo & behold, both my husband & I were winners of some snazzy prizes in the raffle! This was an omen of things to come…. the day dawned clear & frosty, but many of us were “hanging out” in the restrooms prior to the start of the race (if you know what I mean — race nerves). I was armed with long sleeved layers to shed later when the sweating started, my trusty iPod Shuffle loaded with Led Zeppelin & Steve Miller Band tunes, & my regular road trainers….how intimidating to be in the midst of all these seasoned, Montrail-clad, half-naked mountain goats! My goal was just to finish….
My husband & I had strolled on the first mile or so of trail the day before — he warned me that it was deceiving….well, he was right. I kept up with a smart pack of chattering youngsters until the trail changed….they sped off without me, their colorful singlets flashing, & left me in a lull….as I bounded down a rocky gully, I rolled an ankle & hit the ground with a grunt. I sprang to my feet expecting a broken ankle but it was suprisingly fine…then I expected a leg drenched in blood but no, it was only scraped….at least nobody witnessed the crash! I darted down the trail before the others caught up to me, heading into the roughest terrain I’d ever seen! Those swinging bridges made me spazz out & the skinny goat trails made me clench my teeth but I trudged onward….the aid stations were fabulous & so encouraging! They pumped me up & sent me out with the ominous words “It gets interesting from here on out”….imagine my panic by this announcement. There were times that I thought I was in big trouble — climbing straight up the teeth of Signal mountain causes the ol’ quads to seize up! I was exhausted already, with many miles left to go….
On the return trip, I was pushed by a great guy who dogged my footsteps the entire way….I could hear the bridges creak as he stepped up & his gasps for air; these propelled me into constant forward motion, sometimes almost crawling. Bouncing down the rocks, constantly putting on my brakes while wiping sweat out of my eyes — well, I thought my knee was toast. It was just me & the guy behind me….I put some distance between us & halted mid-trail to lay hands on my knee & ask the Lord for some help….He came through, as always, & I managed to trot my way back out to the pavement. Man, was I excited to find out I didn’t have to re-enter the woods! I was actually almost done, the finish line was in sight, & the faithful crowd clapped & cheered as I gasped my way past the time clock (which read 2 hrs. & 27 min.). I scavenged an ice bag for my knee & collapsed on the grass to bask in the glory of my first 11 miler….my husband came streaking across that same finish line in 6 hrs. & all in one piece…..we were proud of each other & thrilled to be a part of the same race….
Thanks, Rock Creek Outfitters! Because of your great atmosphere, fine give-aways & fabulous volunteers, I had a perfect weekend….now excuse me as while go dig the gravel out of my leg! See you next year…
Angela Stansberry
Hanceville, Alabama
Read more about the StumpJump 50K & 11 Mile Trail Race, and shop for trail running gear at RockCreek.com