Wait, there’s a canyon in Georgia? OK.
Wait, would I like to do my first trail race in my favorite distance, the 10K, with one of my favorite people in the world? Of course!
Georgia’s Providence Canyon
Providence Canyon holds the nickname “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon”. I see that.
The Georgia red clay gives it some of the colors of the Grand Canyon, but there is little of the mesmerizing color changes that the Grand Canyon performs as your vision or the sun shifts a few degrees.
Apparently, “poor farming practices” created this canyon.
Good job, guys.
We stayed in Columbia, GA about 45 minutes from Lumpkin County’s Providence Canyon State Park.
The Flatlanders Canyon Crash Trail Run had 5K, 10K, half marathon, and 50K distances, which is awesome considering how small the race was! 124 finishers for all the distances (registration capped at 200). The ultra-marathoners were already 3 hours into their race for the shorter distances’ 10AM start. The races were based on a ~10K loop, of which ultras ran 5 laps.
Flatlanders Canyon Crash Race Recap (10K)
The start had us running along the rim of the canyon, effectively spreading us out before the trail narrowed. Our route included trails, backcountry trails (where you can camp), and low-flow streams. In fact, a good part of our route was a creek, which you can see on my GPS map. (I forgot to turn off my tracking when I finished, so the time and distance is off.)
By mile 3, my mind and body felt tired. I don’t do a lot of trail running and this was 2 weeks after my marathon. I wanted to walk.
But Rheanna was still running. I willed myself to keep up with her.
In the middle of the race there was a steep climb. We decided walking up would be a more efficient use of our energy. I felt like I was fading, so I ate a Stinger honey gel. I typically don’t bring food or water on a 10K, but decided to after viewing last year’s times.
I sucked that thing dry. My body was desperate for the sugar.
Why? Possibly because my body was still in marathon gear and was sending over-dramatic signals to keep my stores full. It needed to know that carbs would be on the way.
Shortly after the gel (and after the climb was over!), I began feeling better – more energy and stronger. I wanted to push, but had no idea what the route looked like and if that was the best choice. We ended up going back down into the canyon a bit which was frustrating, because we knew the finish was at the top!
Once we climbed up one more time, I started to push and took off. I passed a few people.
There were 2 girls in front of me, possibly in a different age group and possibly doing a different distance. I was tired. I let them finish ahead of me.
I finished in 1:05:30.
Rheanna sent me a text message when the results went online the next day.
I got 3rd place overall!!
Women took the first 3 spots, with 2nd place being one of the girls in front of me. There were 25 finishers for the 10K distance, of which only 6 were men (3 of the men took 4th-6th places).
Back in Columbia, we celebrated with good southern food. I had waffles for the second time that day.
The race was a lot of fun. I really appreciate small, well-organized races that give you nice things. The shirts were a tri-blend – really soft. Finishers got a pint glass.
The 10K was hard work. The 50Kers impressed me, going back into that canyon over and over. Maybe one day I will do the same.