The Stone Steps course still won but by a smaller margin than last year!
The weather was between 40 and 44 throughout and a bit windy so perfect for the race. I felt rested, hydrated, and “topped out” with carbs, off we go! I held back my typical dash for the woods as I knew I would pay later for wasting energy so soon.
I finished my first long loop without falling and would not fall all day. My ave pace was 11:11 (last year was 11:43) and feeling strong, so far so good. No issues or stories, just the sounds of footsteps and breathing, mine and others. Later there would just be mine as the 160 runners spread out over the 9 miles of trails.
The first short loop was equally uneventful and my ave pace was 11:51 (last year was 12:43) and felt I was a bit cautious on uphill sections. I was consciously thinking about saving something for a strong finish that unfortunately would not happen today.
My second long loop started strong and I was cruising until the stone steps. The climb triggered leg cramps of most muscles I know the names of. I even had a toe cramp like the ones you get while laying in bed. So I slowed and made sure I was topped off with Gels and, on this lap, flat coke. Still I managed a 12:47 pace (last year was 14:07) so I’m still feeling positive.
|Drafting on the Steps ? Draft legal : )|
|The steps - all 250+ of them - feel the burn|
My training miles (aka lack of hay in the barn) showed on the last short loop. I was in survival mode and running to manage cramping and remaining energy. I misread a course marker and took a trip down (and I do mean down) a trail that clearly was wrong. This sojourn will affect my official time but my Garmin was not smart enough and just assumed I knew what I was doing. My pace was a very slow 15:02, but last year was 15:33 so even my disaster lap was faster!
Sue was at the finish line despite not feeling well, and it was great to see her. Last year David Riddle had already finished the 50K when I finished (CR), but this year we waited for about 30 minutes to see the winner cross the line. He was a tall guy about 25 years old and wearing track shorts, no shirt and what looked like track flats. The race director said it was his first ultra trail and he was from Indianapolis. He was clearly in pain but he did get a win in his first. I did not see him smile the whole time. Smug? I think he was in too much pain to be smug : )
|eventual winner - brrrr|
|Just finished - smile for the camera : )|
|Groin cramp, still smiling though!|