New RD is Monte. Almost everything else is the same as previous years. Fewer runners though. My 8th time here, so not much to say about the course.
Bitter cold. 20 degrees at the start. A little light snow right when I finish. So all bundled up and I will stay that way for the whole race. At least it is dry.
Start - Nice to see friends and fellow crazy runners. Early start option this year so some are already out on the course. We start on time and head off on that nasty short out and back. It is a rocky trail, made worse by the frozen solid ground and chunks of ice. I start out easy enough and am happy to see the first mile done in ten minutes and now it will be a much better trail.
Mile 5.9 - Back and forth and with Ted. More dismotivational signs than previous years. So cold, there will not be many other trail users. I have my pace down to a 9:30/mile average and am feeling good. Take short walk breaks and try to not push the pace.
Mile 11.5 - Hammond aid station with roasted potatoes. The warm potato is so nice!! Now the push to the turn around and I will be happy to be heading back. Counting the miles more than usual.
Mile 15 - On the way back now. Just a slight breeze and colder in this direction. Marie and Deb sighting. Deb asks if I am cold and then offers me a "fireball". First time drinking whiskey while running a marathon (maybe first whiskey ever). Yowza! Glad I did not take a larger sip. I will save the rest of the little bottle for later.
Mile 16 - Catch up to Teri. We run together to the next aid station. Nice to finally run with her. But she is slowing and I still feel pretty good, so I press on.
Mile 18.5 - Maybe I took too many potatoes, my stomach is starting to rebel a little. Frozen gels and rock solid shot blocks have not helped either. Start slowing some but still thinking I can beat last year's 4:19.
Mile 19.94 - A bridge is up ahead, maybe right at 20.0, and I plane to walk the bridges as usual, but I am suddenly struck by serious fatigue. I start walking here and pick it up again after the bridge, but in a much lower gear. It is all of a sudden so hard now, from here to the end.
Mile 22 - Lately when I tire late in a race, I can plug along OK, but this is serious wall stuff today. Been a long time since I have struggled like this. Not having a very fun time, I should rate today's experience a 3 out of 5, but there is still that sense of accomplishment that I am starting to have, knowing that I will finish another marathon. It really is a great feeling to be able to get outside and do this, whatever the finish time.
Mile 25 - Gave up on 4:19 a while back, then I gave up on 4:30! It is what it is. I am running 14 minute miles. Pigtails herself passes me.....and she is running the 50K! I can shuffle and move my arms. Head down a lot and I don't care. Soon to be over.
Mile 26.2 - Try to speed up for the finish, but it is pathetic. Picture with Monte. Teri comes in a minute after me, I should have just stayed with her. Soup and quesadillas. Thanks to the awesome volunteers who braved the real cold of staying in one place.
15th of 48 with 16 did not start
Race#405, Marathon or ultra#148, Pigtails race#8