When I first started writing this race report. I was going to include the adventures that lead up to that day but I will leave that saying thanks Vince for coming back just to have lunch with us.
For weeks leading up to this race Andy Roberts was giving me little pointers about the course. I am not sure if I remembered any of those pointers by the time the race started.
Around 0720 everyone made their way to the starting line. During the the national anthem, as I gazed at the flag, I saw a man with a rifle. I thought to myself do not false start. As the anthem ended we moved a ever closer to start of the 18th running of this premier 50k.
As the rifle went off I slowly saw the leader drift by. I started off with Andy hoping not to go crazy and blast into the woods. This seemed to work well. About 2 miles into the run Andy told me that he needed to drop it down a little, so I did what any guy would do. I told him I would see him later and went on down the trail. This was harder then I would have liked. The trail was hard to pass on and every time I passed someone I just flew up to the next person to just hunt the next hole for passing. Everyone was moving great and looked up and saw aid station 1 on my left; then thought why am I running away from it. This thought did not last to long because we were on this jeep road. after running on the single track for the last 4 mile or so it was a nice place to open up the legs and get up to speed.
We enter the woods again and at this point I had a flash back of running high school cross county. With sharp turns that just about looped back onto itself. It was a rush that was short lived. As soon as this section was over we went threw aid station 1. I did not stop for anything here. I had my Chocolate #9 and a backpack full of water.
The start of this next section was rocks, lots of rocks. I ended up bounding from rock to rock falling down the hill. I hear some footsteps behind me and he most of been moving really fast I let him by and by the time I looked up for my next step, he was about twenty yards ahead of me. Minutes later the trail dumped us out at the power lines. I could still see the guy ahead of me so I tried to catch up to him because this parted looked more runnable. I thought I was making up ground when the trail just stop. I looked around for the markers but none were around. I was not sure where I made the wrong turn at but all I thought at the time was all these people are passing me and I have no way down but to go threw this thorn bush. By this time 2 or 3 more people were in my same spot. I made the command decision to bushwack threw the 50 feet are thorns. I made to back to the trail thinking that I left part of my leg in that bush. Looking back this next 40 minutes or so was a bad choice. I pushed really hard to catch the people that passed me when I was stuck in the bush. When the 2nd aid station came up I was ready for some more water. As one of the great volunteers was filling up by bag, someone said to me do you need any aid. I quickly replied why it was just a thorn bush. I looked for some boiled potatoes at the table but did not see any, so I ended up getting a small handful of peanut butter pretzels.
Trying not to stay to long at the tables, I left. I do not remember much about the next 50 or so minutes except the stone cuts. That was a cool bit. As I got closer to the third aid station I remember feeling a little low on sugar.
I kept taking my #9 and small handfuls of pretzels. About 20 minutes into this next leg. Andy came up on my heals. It felt good to run with him again. But my energy was fading with each step. I was able to hold on and run with Andy to the forth aid station but as I filled my pack with water; he left me to run his own race.
The section from four to five had to have been the hardest for me to run. I think it is because I did very little running during this section. I never thought the water line hill would end and when you get to the top of it; you had to climb a water fall. It was cool to do the climb but I had nothing to respond with after completing it.
Reaching the fifth aid station I regrouped and was able to quicker again (walking faster). I still do not know how the people coming up behind me we able to move as fast as they were. At this point it was hard to do any running that was not flat or down hill. The one big problem with this is most of this section goes up. It looks odd only running two or three steps, but it works. Those steps could keep you ahead of a cut-off in these types of races or could keep you just ahead of the next person.
As I was reaching the top of the final climb the volunteers were offing beer to the runners. As nice as it would have been to stop for a ice cold beer I knew I had only about 1 and half miles left on my race. I remember looking at the map before and knew this whole section was flat. So I ran. I am not sure if it was fast even though it felt fast, but I was running. I could see man with a camera taking pictures of people crossing this little mound of dirt. Some energy was coming back so as I hit the top of this mound I jumped and kicked my heels together. And there it was the finish line. The end of a great race in a time of 5 hours 31minutes and 36 seconds.
Are there part of this race that I could have run different. Yeah, like not getting off course would be a great start but that is why there is always next year. I would say that over all this race was one of my better races in the last year or so.
Until next time.