|Dave and I leading the pack early.|
We stayed at a motel about 15 minutes from the finish. I was in bed by 10pm and up at 5am. The run is point-to-point so we drove to the finish and caught a bus to the start at 6:30pm. The day dawned cool (30 degrees) and breezy. We were at the start at 7am and had to stand around in the cool air for an hour before the race started. I was dressed for running and just had an extra garbage bag over me so I was uncomfortably cold. If the forecast had been for colder weather, I probably would have stayed home. I'll admit to being to being more of a cold wimp with every passing year.
The long time race director, Ed Shultze, had retired last year so there was new leadership this year, Harvey Sugar. Everything went well, just like before. The race is only $25 for non-club members and there is no shirt or medal. The aid stations are decently stocked, however, and the volunteers are good. The trail is great, very runnable but rolling, and muddy in spots, with a few stream crossings. You can decide halfway into the race whether you want to run the marathon or 50K. The 50K takes a loop around a lake. The marathon is actually around 30 miles and the 50K is close to 34 miles. This year the race ran in the opposite direction of years past due to parking issues at the finish. This made it uphill instead of downhill so I figured I was looking at another 10 minutes or so of running from my time last year.
|I had to bust on Dave because |
whenever we got to a photographer he
was in front of me.
We started off at 8am with about a mile of road and Blake led as we broke off onto the single-track. After about another mile, the pace wasn't quite to my liking so I made the pass and led until just before the first aid station at mile 6. At this point, two young brothers in red, white and blue shorts took off and I never saw them again. A few others made the pass also and suddenly I was ninth, but I didn't worry about it at this point. I wanted to run my race and figured I would pull at least some of them back in by the end.
I fell in about the same pace as Dave Stango, from near Philly, and we would run together until about mile 22. We took turns leading, depending on how we were feeling. At times, I struggled to keep up and other times I pushed the pace a little. I wanted to try to keep contact because it was great to run with someone and the miles flew by. We discussed previous races and strategies and whatever else came to mind.
At mile 22, I had been struggling to keep up a little, but I came into the aid station and got out first. I figured Dave would catch right back up with me but I didn't see him again until the end. I started to struggle in the next 10 miles as the legs got heavier and my stomach wasn't really happy with me. I was consistently pulling other runners in and passing them, however. By this point, everyone's legs are feeling heavy. With about 7 miles to go, I knew I was in fourth but I had asked someone at an aid station and found out the red, white and blue boys were far ahead. There was another runner in between us somewhere but I just bore down and tried to keep my cadence going.
|Enjoying the trail and the company.|
Yeah, that is Dave's arm in front
of me again.
It was a good day for a run in the woods. Although it is the shortest ultra, 50K is not easy because the pace is so much quicker than longer runs. I may be back again next year for this one. The day did not go so well for Blake as he struggled with bad cramps and eventually DNFed. Some days you feel good and some days you don't. You rarely know at the start what will happen. That is some of the lure of running and also some of the frustration. Every day is full of promise. Just keep running and you will have that good day.