Jack and I hit the road at 4:30am as planned on New Years eve morning, and after an easy 3.5hr drive(thanks Jack!) made it to the start of the race with an hour to spare. The really nice folks organizing the event got us all checked in and ready to rumble... well maybe ready to hobble? The course was set up as a 1 mile quick lap followed by 10, 3mile laps (31miles total) on mostly trails and gravel, with some grass thrown in. There was only 1 short hill on the course to speak of but it was Steep and would definitely be walked.
Anyway the race started at 8am sharp without a hitch. I have to admit that I was really apprehensive about this race. I didn't really write about it here but I have been working on a bit of an ankle injury for some weeks now and really have only done about three runs since the 21 miler about three weeks ago. So I was really not too sure about an actual finish here.
So the first three laps went quite well. I held maybe a 10-10:30min per mile pace, then on lap 4 things started to go south. I started to feel really tired and felt quite a bit of pain in my knees and especially in the ankle I've had problems with. After getting lap 4 over with I wasn't sure I would continue past lap 5. Jack lapped me on this lap and after a brief hello I knew I would continue through at least lap 6 and maybe 7...
Lap 6 was rough. I was a beaten man. My legs hurt, my arms hurt, my brain hurt, I even think my eye lashes hurt and I walked most of the 3 miles!
But then something happened. Lap 7 was the beginning of my comeback! I was really working on affirming that I was in my right place, doing Exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and that Nothing can interfere with that! This was the reason I've been spending all those lonely, cold, dark mornings away from my snugly wife. I belonged exactly were I was at that exact time and was doing just as I set out to do! and near the end of the lap I realized I "Only" had 3 laps to go! ...and Dude!... I can totally do that! 9 miles! and after lap 8 I only have 6 miles left! Easy!
I ran most of lap 8 and with every step I gained strength. By the end I was ready to just grab a quick bite at the aid station and hit it for lap 9.
Lap 9 was awesome! I ran the entire lap, except for the hill, and came in from it with my fastest lap of the race... so far and smiling the whole way! On the way back to the start/Finnish/ aid station I had the pleasure of running past a guy who was out there to support a buddy of his. He decided that I was going more his speed and tagged along for about the mile or so back to the start. When we got there I told him how much I appreciated his company at the end there and would he want to hit another lap, my last of the race. He was not up to it but another friend of his named Dean was out there, not in the race but just running a bit, and would be glad to. So with my new 'pacer' set out for my final lap...
I set out from the start/finish/aid area for lap 10 with Dean and set a really fast pace. We held, I think, about a 9 min per mile pace for about the first mile, or till we hit the hill. On the way out the hill is actually a down hill and then the course would come back around to climb back up on the way back. We made it down the hill, ran a fast pace around the flat section after it and power hiked back up. At the top we started running again... all the while Dean is telling me what a great job I'm doing and just generally being really supportive. He was awesome! As we came out of the
woods and could see the finish in the distance and what a wonderful site!
With Deans help, I finished the race with my fastest lap yet BY FAR! I don't know the actual average per mile but it was under 9min miles for sure. My finish time was 6hrs 38min 30sec. There were 84 people to start the race, and 52 finishers. I was 46th.
This was a great day. I am really pleased with my performance... not happy with my overall time, but that is way over shadowed by my recovery from the mid race funk! This race was a huge confidence builder, and I feel a lot better about my next race in three weeks, the Mountain Mist 50K.
I can't thank enough the people that are so very supportive throughout all of this.
First and foremost my AMAZING Wife Nicole. She is just such a wonderful support for my and an incredible partner!
...and Jack my best friend and coach! Thanks so much for all you do. ...and to everyone else who has shown love and support of this along the way!
So now Its recovery time. I'll do my next run on Tuesday morning... just 4-5 miles or so. and from there just getting in some maintenance miles till the 23rd and Mountain Mist!!
...and as usual you can sponsor me by following the link at the top of the page to get to Portlights site!