My third time here. I missed last year so I have been using the same coffee mug at work for two years. Looking forward to getting my finishers mug. But first I have to run all day.
Same course, three loops. For some reason I think that I can run each loop in 1:50 and that is the pace I set out on. A little drizzle before the start and then just cool and cloudy.
Loop 1 - 1:50 - Lots of Maniac friends here. I start with Ashley and it has been so long since we have run together. After a mile she ducks into the restroom but I am sure that she will catch up soon. This 11 minutes per mile pace should be easy but after the stairs and now some more up hill I am going too slow. Plus the course is crowded. I am patient and wait for wider trails, but I do have to get around people to get to my pace. I pass way too many friends who I know can and usually do finish these races ahead of me. By the end of loop 1 I know that I have gone too fast and I dread that they will all pass me. Mile 3.5 I find myself with no one in front of me. Free and clear to run my pace, but I also have to make sure that I stay on course. Here is Maniac2TP walking toward me. I ask him if I am still on the course and is he familiar with the course. The second part was a joke, and he laughs, because he is the race director of this race. On to the aid station, and then some more hills. At about mile 6 I climb a wide trail, then go over the French woman's cables. Up some more and now there are more cables but they are a few inches off the ground. Someone could trip on those, they should be flagged. Now a huge tree and I am not sure which way to go around it. Then a cluster of people running toward me and telling me that we are off course. At the same time I can hear Pedro yelling my name and telling be to turn around. All in all I went about 30 feet off course, so no big deal. I good reminder though that this race is one where you can not zone out, so many turns, you really have to stay alert the whole time. Loop 1 ends without any more incidents. The roped steep downhill to the water is fun.
Loop 2 - 2:05 - I know that I will never hold this pace but I keep chugging along. Mostly alone. A few words with really nice people as we run together a bit and then go our own paces. Pedro catches up to me and for a minute I think that he is lapping me. No he is running a little slower than usual, 3 marathons in three weeks will do that. I get to run with him for a couple of miles before I start getting very tired. Suddenly I can barely run. My run is about a fast walk pace and I am doing a lot of walking. This race will not end well.
Loop 3 - 2:33 - Really sluggish and a few little pains that I do not want to make worse. I know that many will pass me now and at first I dread it. But then I think about the friends back there. Who will catch me? And won't it be nice to see them? Nobody is going to think that I am a loser or lame runner. Instead they will probably say something nice and encouraging. Yes this will be fun. I trudge along and when I hear footsteps approaching I wonder who it will be. First up is Katie. A quarter mile with Katie is way better than running alone. She is doing great and I am happy for her. Next up is the Rogue Wave. It only took her 4 hours to catch up after her restroom stop. Yay! I get to run with her for a little bit and then she if off. I have no sense of competition with her anymore, so it is just great to see her out there. Little Leslie is next. Strong run for her and this is her 200th marathon or ultra. I am also glad that she is running well. So well though that I can not even try to keep up. Andy Lin is next, also going very fast at this point. He will beat me by just a few minutes and it is fun to have the two maniac Andy's so close in many races. I have to ration my water but have enough to make it to the aid station at the halfway point. Fill it up and the second half of this loop is uneventful. Hills and then the long flat trail that just goes on and on. A couple of people pass me but no one that I know. So wanting to hit the turn at the pavement and finish this thing. Lots of very slow running. On and on. Past the spectacular white rock. Finally turn and get to the paved road. I look back at the turn off to the steep descent and there is no one behind me. I can take my time on the ropes, beat 6:30 and I will admit to being happy that no other friends caught me.
Other than my lack of energy/slowness, I had a very nice time. Hope that I can come back next year.
Marathon or ultra#102
Defiance 50K #3