It was my 7th 100 mile race and I thought I knew what to expect from the course, my body, and from my mind. However, I was challenged and learned more about myself in the mountains of northern Georgia than any other race.
The Cruel Jewel is a name that is well deserved. The website boast that this is a “108 mile foot race deep within the beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest…It consists of 96 miles of trails, 12 miles of mountain roads, and 20 aid stations. Along your journey…you will experience tough, and sometimes technical, single track trails, ferns and old growth poplar trees, steep ascents and even steeper descents, a historic steel bridge spanning the Toccoa River, the Dragon’s Spine, lush green hardwood forests, rocks, roots and ridge lines … all of which will be passed before you reach your final destination. And as a bonus we have thrown in 33,000 feet of gain and 33,000 feet of loss just to keep it interesting”.
If this description wasn’t scary enough, throw in a little humidity for a guy who spent most of the winter running in single digits (I know it could have been much worse) and add an extra 6-7 miles as I did… but that’s for later. Continue reading