The starters pistol was replaced with The Lord of the Rings classic Gandolf line of "Run You Fools!" and off we went. Scott Jaime and Pablo immediately took off and disappeared. I settled in with Harrison and Zac Marion with a large chase group a few minutes back. There's never much to report the first 15-20 miles. There was the typical yo-yoing of placing but all was well. It was surprisingly not getting any warmer. As the sun came up, so picked up the wind. Heading back to the start at mile 19, I choose to keep my warm clothes...however I couldn't find my drop bag. I looked for several minutes but I knew there was a half dozen guys within a few minutes of me. I could have looked harder but I ended up leaving the aid station with nothing. A little frustrated, I kept on.
I knew that the next aid station was less than two miles away. All I had was 5-6 oz of water which I downed before I got there. In preparation for the long out-n-back section I snagged 2 gels from the aid station and kept truckin. I was definitely a little thrown off by not having my drop bag but I knew it wasn't a big deal. All I had was 4 gels and an electrolyte drink in there. Missing that was no biggy, but it weighed on my mind. I was caught by 2 guys around Lower Frary but after taking both gels, re-hydrating, and taking salt I found myself back in rhythm heading into the Ranch mile 33.
The confidence I received from getting to my drop bag was huge. I ate some food, grabbed my stuff, and was off. It was the best I'd felt all day. I soon found myself passing a couple guys and moved into 3rd place with the 2nd place guy only a couple minutes up. After 6-7 miles I began to slow down. Given I had been running for 40 miles but I just couldn't seem to get that next gear. 2nd place was now only 1 minute up but I had no energy left!! I tried to catch up on nutrition having done the middle 2 hours of the race off of only two gels...but it was too little too late. Harrison was right on my tail and I quickly went from closing in on 2nd to falling to 4th. I yelled in frustration at Mtn View aid station, mile 44. I didn't have the energy and 2nd & 3rd place were pulling away...
So I kept at it with a manageable pace. With the pressure off and no visible sign of anybody behind me I just coasted. A needed pep talk from Erik Storheim and a glass of coke at mile 46 and I'd say those last 4 miles were wonderful! Although I faded a bit those last 8-9 miles I finished feeling great and actually BEAT my pre-race goal time of 7:19 (I don't wear a watch when I run so I had not idea what my time was...). I finished 4th in a time of 7:14.36. Best part of the race? Watching Ari, my 4 year old son, run to me as fast as he could!! I carried him draped around me those last 40 feet. When I finished he asked me "Daddy run fast?" "Yes Ari, Daddy ran really fast!"
This will be a race to remember for me. Despite a few set-backs I beat my goal time time by 5 minutes, set a huge 50 mile PR (1 hr 20 min PR), felt great almost all day including the finish, feeling prep'd for UTMF, saw tons of friends, Altra shoes EVERYWHERE!, tested a brand new Altra shoe that performed amazing (Paradigm- see below), and generally had an amazing day on the Island. Prop's to Jim Skaggs and all the Altra employee's on the island (Zac Marion- huge comeback to finish right behind me in the 50. Seth Wold- new course record on the 25k. Ashleigh Jameson- first trail race! Brian Roberts- for still running despite having the flu all week. And Leslie Howlett for her 2nd place 50k). Also thanks to my wife, parents, and boys who came to the finish line. Life is good!
|Altra Paradigm. Launches May 1st.|