Distance: 50 miles
I had two main goals prior to this race. First was to finish. Second was to finish in under 10 hours. I am beyond happy that I accomplished both on a course that was very challenging and well beyond any distance I had ever run before.
So much had happened during this race and it seems impossible to describe it all on a step-by-step basis. But I seriously had a great time throughout the race. I felt strong physically and mentally throughout and more or less maintained a consistent pace. I couldn't be happier with how it all went.
The race got underway at 6:35am. Prior to the start, my friend Chris and I both admitted to each other at how nervous we were. But once the race started and I was running, I was having a really great time running with Chris, my other friend John, and various other runners.
The course itself was very scenic. We ran through really neat forests and along beautiful country farms and on the higher elevations, we had great views of the mountains and hills that rose up from the countryside. Very roughly half of the course was on trails and the other half on dirt roads, all of which was very hilly.
Fortunately, the weather forecasts were a bit off and it didn't rain all day like it had seemed it might. Instead, it was really hot and humid in the morning. Then the skies opened up later with torrential rains, thunderstorms and lightning. That made the trails muddy and a bit slickery, but hey, all part of the fun.
Notes of interest:
After mile 23, nobody passed me and I was able to pick off runners as the race progressed. That was a neat feeling.
During the last 5 miles, I flip flopped on whether I was going to be able to break 10 hours or not. During the uphill stretches, I pretty much resigned that it'd be nearly impossible. But during the last few miles, the trails smoothed out and were flat to downhill and very easy to run on. I dug down deep and really booked it. Soon, I was running across the ski trails on top of the mountain near the finish line and could hear the festivities below. Then, I reached a clearing that veered left and down to the finish line. I booked it the last few hundred yards in a full out sprint! It was nice to have enough energy at the end to do so.
A great time for sure!