My fourth time here. Very convenient and cheap race. Plus lots of maniacs. No great expectations. I want to work hard when the wall comes and hopefully continue to build endurance. My last couple of marathons have had serious meltdowns in the late miles.
Cold at the start but when the bright sunshine comes out it will be very nice. Hat and gloves for the first loop, the jacket will stay on the whole day.
Loop 1 (1:37) - I start way in the back to avoid a crowd at the giant downhill that gets things going. No problems today and in fact the trail has seen some serious work since I was last here two years ago. Very good footing and little mud. Most places we can run two or three across so passing is easy too. I settle in at a 10 minute mile, walking the uphills to keep my pace from getting too fast.
Loop 2 (1:36) Some runners go the opposite direction for loop two. This year I keep going counter clockwise, but it is fun to see friends. Going in my direction I run off and on with Mike Mahany and Ted Ekart. I am doing my own thing today, but it sure is nice to have company when I can. Runners are all spread out now. Pedro was with me at the start of loop 2, but he has gone ahead, though for a while I could see him in the distance. I pull ahead of Mike and Ted, expecting them to pass me when I hit the wall. Still feeling good I am able to take extended walk breaks and keep the pace at 10/mile. After the loop I drop the fuel belt and exchange it for my new Camel Back. That was a gift and I have only worn it a couple of times. It is time consuming to fill, so I had it ready to go for loop 3.
Loop 3 (1:39) - Pedro took a while at the aid station so we pull out of there together. I feel like I am seriously forgetting something with that fuel belt gone. It is a very nice change to have this form of hydration for the last loop. Pedro and I run together for about two miles and I enjoy it. Deb Evdemon sighting. I don't want to blow it here, so I continue my walks on the uphills and Pedro gets away. Not quite holding that 10/mile, it is more like 10:15 and I am tiring but not so bad. I take a GU gel and try to suck it down slowly, over the course of a mile, so that it will not affect my stomach too much. Mile 24 - Feeling it and walking more, I catch up to MMKUHL. He is having a terrific run but is tiring like me. We are able to run together, step in step, for about a mile before he starts walking on the uphill, a little before I give in. Farther on there is a horse looking at me, with his neck reaching over the fence from his field. I take the few seconds to go over to him, say hi and pet his long face. OK back to running. Now it is just a series of short bits and turns. I start thinking about what my finish time could be.
Final out and back (25:14) I was expecting a huge wall and a 5:35 or greater finish time. But as I leave the aid station at 4:53 I know that I should be able to get under 5:20. A 5:09 PR is impossible but 5:20 is great. I run more than walk and don't stress about the time so much. Fun to see the runners who have been 20 minutes or less ahead of me, now coming back from the turn around. As I reach that place and head to the finish I can now see who is right behind me. Then the final, super steep hill. I have 8 minutes to climb it and I know that I can do that. My left hamstring decides to cramp up, so I favor it and just enjoy the last bit to the finish.
Finish - 5:16:49 on my watch. My third fastest of ten 50Ks completed. Super happy about how it went. I change into sandals and walk over to watch runners come up the big hill for their finish. Love this course and event and will plan on running again next year.
22nd of 56
Race# 317, Marathon or Ultra#105, 50K #10