|Shoes, Bib# and empty gels!|
At the starting line I talked to some of the other runners and in no time all 344 runners were off and running. Looking out at the front there was one runner that went out crazy fast. That was Matt Woods and he went on to set the course record with a time of 6:08:14 – smoking fast. My friend Stephan and I ran together for some of the first part of the race. It was nice to talk a little with someone you know. I went out at a pace I could breathe and my legs were not getting tired. If my legs started to burn on the hills I started to power hike and I stayed with that strategy the whole race. If someone tried to pass I let them go. Racing my own race is what works best for me. My plan for the day was to drink Gatorade, take a electrolyte every hour and take a gel every 23 min. I set my watch to beep every 23 min. as a reminder. Not sure where I came up with every 23 min. but it seemed to work. I hit the Centreville Road aid station 7.2 miles and topped my bottle off. There is always tons of people here cheering everyone on. The aid station volunteers are an amazing part of this race. They always ask to take your bottle so you can go and eat and when you are done they give your bottle back filled and send you on your way. From here the course runs out 2.2 mile to a turn around and come right back to the same aid station which is now mile 11.6. Topping off my bottle again and head down some steps and head back to where we stated in the morning.
I came into Hemlock aid station mile 16.6 and the clock there said 2:18 something. This is where we started in the morning. I topped my bottle off and start running down the trail. Our car was right near the trail and that is where I had the rest of my gels in my waist pack. I picked them up and headed out for the last 33 miles. Wow! That does that sound far when I write it down. You have to break these races up in smaller blocks or it can get overwhelming. In the next couple of miles I passed and got passed by Dan Rose. We did that the rest of the day. Dan ran with another one of our club members Anna Piskorska at the 2010 24-Hour Run World Championship in France. It was really nice to meet him and he gave me some great tips out there. Thanks Dan for the encouragement! I made a pace chart on Thursday and I’m not sure why. I didn’t use it until I wanted to know the distance after I was out of the Do Loop 35.5 miles. Once you hit mile 35.5 you feel a little better because you are heading back to the finish.
When I hit the Wolf Run Shoals aid station 39.9 miles I topped my bottle off and I heard people calling my name. It was a lot of friends/club members that came down to support all the runners we had there. I handed my gloves to Beth and glared over at everyone said hi and ran into the woods. It really gave me a boast but this next section was my hardest. I just felt like I couldn’t move my legs a fast as I wanted to. Then when I hit the Marina aid station 44.9 miles and I looked at my pace chart it said I had to be at 6:43 to run a final time of 7:30 my watch read 6:20. From there I just had to keep my legs moving. I caught back up to Dan and we ran most of the last section together. Right before we crossed the finish line he let me go ahead of him. It was a victory for both of us and I hope to get to run with him another day. This was a big PR for me. My best time at this race was here in 2008 and I ran an 8:20:24. This year I ran a 7:15:27. With more consistent training this year it is paying off but I still have a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks before MMT.
After getting all cleaned up and eating I got to watch a lot of my friends/club member’s finish. It was really cool seeing them cross the line. What a day out there and I can’t wait to do it next year. Below are some pictures of my running club and me from the race.
4-9-2011 - 50.4 miles - 7:15:27 - run