I had been looking forward to this race from the moment I heard about it. The running group I am a part of (Franklin Road Runners) decided to create a team (Franklin Rock Runners) so I signed up quickly with them. I think there ended up being 18 people on our team. The appeal of this race for me was that it was in the Franklin, TN rock quarry - somewhere that I would never be able to run or access unless I did something like this, the fact that the course was on a softer/rocky surface (I just like that it is different than most other surfaces) and that there was a pretty extreme elevation gain so I knew it would be challenging and fun.
I picked up my packet the night before the race and everything inside was so great! Since I was part of a team, our shirts had our team name on the back and we also got a $5 Starbucks gift card, there were also sunglasses, stickers, koozies, a towel, and a little thing that covers the camera on your phone or computer. I don't remember what I ate the night before the race but I am thinking it was something like sweet potatoes and salmon and cookies :) I went to bed early, had peanut butter banana oatmeal in the morning and then drove to the event! It was 28 degrees and pretty cold plus I had to park about 1/4 - 1/2 mile away in a field (which they had buses running to) so I chose to jog to the start instead as a warm-up. I met up with my group and took a picture and then lined up to begin!
After the National Anthem, we were off! The course started off flat and then quickly went downhill. We ran by piles of rocks that had descriptions on them of what they were for (these rocks are for driveway construction, etc.) and there were also a few bands playing music on the course as well! There were also rock jokes and motivating words along the way :) When we got to the bottom of the hill after the first 1/2 mile, we turned around for a progressive uphill climb for the next 1 1/2 miles where some areas were definitely steeper than others but it was definitely uphill the whole way and it was tough. Then there was another downhill section for about a 1/4 mile where we then turned around again for an intense uphill climb again for a 1/4 miles and then we finally had about 1 mile left that was all downhill!
I actually wasn't nervous for this race like I normally am before races - until the morning of, but it was the good pre-race jitters. I did not go into this race thinking that I was actually going to race hard - I just wanted to have fun. I think that was also helpful in not feeling nervous! But once I was out there I was feeling good and started to push it a bit. I did have trouble breathing from the cold weather and my asthma (thank goodness for Singulair) but I was able to maintain a good pace while still being able to breathe - always a good thing. It was my goal to run the whole thing instead of walking up the hills and I was able to do just that which made me feel proud! I did what I could on the uphill portions, I definitely wasn't fast but I was able to maintain a running movement (lol) and then flew down the hills when I could. I LOVED running on the downhill portions of this race. Normally on a trail run I go slow because I am scared of falling. This was so much different though. The ground was soft which while it did make it harder to run, like in sand, it also made for a nice, flat, cushy landing while running hard on the downhills that didn't shred my legs (only my calves were sore for a few days after). I was able to really push it that last downhill mile at a 7 min/mile pace and it was so fun! My friend was in the middle of his RAGNAR race (he ran twice the day/night before the race and had another run to go after this Quarry Crusher, hadn't had any sleep and was still kicking butt), so he was my motivation! I raced with him at the end so he definitely helped push me! The support staff along the course and at the end were also really upbeat and helped make this race so fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire race, I loved looking around at the beautiful/unique surroundings and tried to take it all in as I was running. I wish I could run there more often! After the finish I hung out with some of our team and listened to the fun music, talked, froze and waited on the results. I was so excited to find out I placed 1st in my age group, 5th female and 31st overall. Several other members of our team also placed! Everyone received a medal and those who placed won a really cool granite coaster!
The bus driver took us back to our cars and then some of our team went to Panera Bread for breakfast and to celebrate! This race was intense and challenging but SO MUCH FUN! If you like pushing yourself to your limits in a unique setting and getting cool swag - I highly recommend you find a Quarry Crusher Run in your area! Start planning your workouts to incorporate leg strengthening exercises and cardio to help with the steep inclines and declines though! My Strava account said the elevation gain was around 800 ft (but everyone else's watches said around 700 ft or so). Either way, there was a lot of elevation gain/loss and it will definitely be more enjoyable if you are prepared :) Racing or walking, don't miss out if one of these events is in your area!
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I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
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