8th annual event. My 5th time here, plus I volunteered last year. Volunteering is a good thing to do, especially when injured. Volunteering can be fun, but I am so happy to be running this year.
Commemorative head band to go with my Pigtails beanie, arm warmers and gloves.
Small race but filled with my Maniac friends.
Start -A little slush on the trail for the first part. It will stay above freezing all day, but feel cold. The crowded half mile out and half mile back has people sploshing slush around and my feet get a little wet.
Mile 1 - Now on to the real trail. Room to run and my feet will dry out. It takes me a while to get up to a 10 minute per mile pace, where I want to stay for at least the first half. Frequent walk breaks and an easy pace, but it does not seem too slow. Bald eagle sighting.....3rd time in the past 4 marathons.
Mile 6 - First aid station. Catch up to Ashley. I had told her to go ahead as I was serious about going slow from the start. She also is wanting to take it easy so we fall in together. Just like old times on this course. We ran our first 50K here five years ago. Nice to talk for a while and then we slip into that comfortable silence that makes running with her so nice. Heavy fog. We are going faster than my plan but not by much and it is worth it even if I slow later.
Mile 13.1 - 2:08 on the watch. A little farther to the turn around. Ron, Andy, Susie, Mike, Kim, Mike M, Bill, Ted, Sabrina and others are all fairly close but ahead of me. Some of them are doing the 50K and will turn off the marathon course later. The fog has turned to drizzle.
Mile 14 - The plan has been to try to negative split. So I start going a little faster. My last marathon I went easy the whole way. Today I want to work hard for my medal. I don't care so much about finish time, but I do want to give it a good effort. I pull away from Ashley and gradually pick off the runners ahead of me.
Mile 16 - I catch up to one guy that I have not met before. His name is Andrew and he is running his first 50K. I don't know how he heard about this race, he is only vaguely aware of the Marathon Maniacs club. We run together for a while and it is nice to grind out the late middle miles with him.
Mile 21 - Happy to see that aid station. Quick stop and on I go. I think that I will push on for two miles and then take a walk break.
Mile 21.2 - Argh! I am walking and had not even told myself to do so. Sudden and harsh wall.
Mile 23 - Stiffening legs, some nausea, and just plain out of energy. Walk, shuffle, run, repeat. Get passed by many of those I passed earlier.
Mile 24 - Ron catches me. I am really struggling. I joke about dropping out and I think it is funny because the shortest way out of here is to keep going on this trail. Pigtails would make me walk it out anyway. No I am not serious about dropping. I will finish with a smile. I wanted it to be hard and that is what I got. Looks like I can beat 4:30.
Mile 25 - Start looking back for Ashley. It would be so typical for her to pass me in the end. Alas she is having her own issues and won't quite get up to me. I shuffle on to the end.
Mile 26.2 - 26.2 on the GPS. Got in under 4:30. Get my medal from Ray. Change into dry but cold clothes. Hot cider hits the spot. Watch some runners come in. Robert gets his sub 5 hr 50K. Others are not so happy with their finish times, but we all seemed to enjoy the day. Long run on the shortest day of the year.
21st of 52
Race #313, Marathon or ultra #104, Pigtails Flat Ass #5