After an ok night of sleep I was up around 5:45 a.m. All my stuff was packed I just needed to make 2 bottles of Perpetuem and off I was to pick my friend Donny up. We headed down to meet the rest of the Pagoda Pacers that were running the race. We made it down to the meeting place just in time. We left to get some coffee and said we would catch up with the rest of the group. That never happened. They either got by us or we left before they went by. We arrived around 8:35 at the race parking lot. Quickly checked in, got my bottles, 6 gels, electrolytes and headed down to the start. I said hello to some friends and in no time 420 people were off and running. The race starts with a 3.6 mile loop and then switches to two identical 13.7 miles loops. I ran with friends Eric and Stephan off and on for the first 11 or 12 miles. After hitting the road section I stayed with Stephan and paced with him. He said were running around a 2:50 marathon pace at that point. My legs and breathing were feeling good so I just kept moving along. I got in and out of the 12.3 aid station fast and headed back onto the trail. This section seems to have more climbs then other parts of the course. When the hills got steep I started to power hike to keep my heart rate down. Coming through at 17.3 miles I was at 2:19 something. This is where you can back off or try to keep pushing and this is the only time you can practice it. So today I kept pushing on. You have to keep eating and drinking or things can change very fast. I was thinking I just have to keep my legs moving the best I can and see what happens. Hitting the road section another runner came up behind me pretty fast. He passed me with his pacer and I said I will try to stick with you as long as I can. His watch went off a little after that and he said 7 miles to go. I kept the same pace and he dropped back. Getting in and out of the last aid station fast someone said there was a guy 30 seconds ahead of me. It didn't matter to me I was just going to keep running my own pace and not try to catch him. After running for a while there are some steps you have to go down and the guy was right in front of me. I got aside of him and said I going to pretend I am feeling good and pass. As soon as I passed my legs were not happy. I let him know if he had to pass just let me know. He said at that point he was ok. From there I just tried to run as much as I could and only hike the steeper stuff. I knew if I could run the downs and flats as fast as I could I had a good chance at staying ahead of anyone closing on me. The last road section I left the legs move as fast as they would let me. Making the turn off of the road and crossing the stream the trail heads straight up. That was the first time I looked back. The guy I passed was coming down the hill. I knew at this point I had to keep moving the best I could and not ease up. I hit the open field with less than a 1/2 mile to go I looked back and no one was there. I crossed the finish line in 4:21:37 which was a PR of just over 29 minutes for this race. My best time before was last year with a 4:50:51. I got 6th place overall and 2nd in my age group. Since the guy that got 1st in my age group was top 3 that took him out of the awards for my age group. So I got first in my age group because they don't give double awards and I got a nice jacket with the HAT run logo on it. They also gave everyone a very nice winter hat for completing the race. I really didn't come here with the mind set I was going to race. I just ran the way I felt and let everything happen from there. It was a very good day for me and I loved that I got to run with some great friends again. Thanks again to Stephan and Eric for helping me move along in the beginning! Great job to all of the Pagoda Pacers that ran and helped at this event your support was amazing!!!
3-19-2011 - 31 miles - 4:21:37 - run