Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Prevent 10K

Cold but beautiful morning for a race.  It was in the 30s when we woke up but low 40s by the time the race started at 9 am.  I ran the 5K course with Hugh before the race as a warmup.  The extra for the 10K was on the MKT trail.  I was overdressed for the warmup so by the time the race started I was ready to shed some clothes.  I wore my long sleeved Pumpkin Holler shirt, shorts, orange racing flats, and black and orange Sock Guy 3 Days of Syllamo socks. Everyone walked out to the road for the race start.  I heard some guys talking about running 35 min so wasn't sure I was standing in the right place and there were also 5K racers.  Since the race offered money for the top 3 male and female 10K winners, most of the really fast guys/gals were running the 10K.

The course started off pretty flat and after about half mile heads up a pretty good hill (up 100 ft) for a half mile.  The fast 10K runners were in the lead.  Katie was just ahead of me and I knew she would run faster than me so did not try to keep up and kept my goal pace.  Tony was running the 5K and we were running close until he passed me after we got up the hill.  My first mile split was 6:15 which was right where I wanted to be overall but figured the first mile might be slower due to the hill.  The next part of the course is pretty flat for just over a half mile and then goes downhill for about three quarters mile, and then on the flat MKT trail at 2.3 miles. Once on the trail Brad running the 5K caught up to me before the 5K finish.  I passed a guy that seemed like he was tiring out and then next thing I know he is surging ahead and passed me as well as Brad before the end.  The first three 5K runners were fairly close.  I believe the winner was about 19:10 so I wasn't far behind.  My first 3 miles were 18:31.

From this point, the course went out just over 1.5 miles on the trail and back.  Since I no longer had any runners close, I had to push the pace on my own.  I was holding a very steady comfortable pace that seemed closer to a 5K than 10K pace.  Before the turn around I got to see the first 6 runners 4 males and 2 females coming back.  The turn around slowed me down a few seconds.  Then I saw the runners coming out so that helped to see them.  I knew the pace I was running that I was probably going to PR.  My finishing time was 38:31 so an 11 second PR.  My last 10K PR was in 2008 on an entirely flat course.  In spite of the hill and the turnaround I felt like this was a fast course too and could probably go a little faster on it.  I placed 7th overall and 5th male.  There were over 100 runners registered between the 2 races and 39 finishers for the 10K.

After the race there was plenty of good Halloween candy, bananas, bagels, and bars to eat.  Then the awards ceremony at about 11 am.  The first and second overall guys ran 35-something and were in my 40 - 49 age group.  I ended up winning the 1st place males Master's award which included $50 cash which was a nice surprise.  Hugh won first in his age group in the 5K.  There was also a drawing for numerous prizes which we were allowed to pick a prize off the table.  I won a $15 Kostakis Pizza gift certificate and Hugh won a lunch at Honey Baked Ham.

This was the second year for this race.  I was not able to run it last year.  It was extremely well-organized and had a lot of support and sponsors.  This race was to benefit the More Project.  Pictures are on the Prevent FaceBook site. Race results at Columbia Track Club.

M1 - 6:15
M2 - 6:12
M3 - 6:04
M4 - 6:08
M5 - 6:08
M6 - 6:10
M0.28 - 1:36 (5:43 pace)
Andy - 2nd Annual Prevent 5K10K, October 29th, 2011. Jay Dix Station MKT Trail Head. Race Director: Ryan Hauser. Shane Epping, All Rights Reserved, 2011
Andy - 2nd Annual Prevent 5K10K, October 29th, 2011. Jay Dix Station MKT Trail Head. Race Director: Ryan Hauser. Shane Epping, All Rights Reserved, 2011

Hugh -2nd Annual Prevent 5K10K, October 29th, 2011. Jay Dix Station MKT Trail Head. Race Director: Ryan Hauser. Shane Epping, All Rights Reserved, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Capitol to Courthouse Ultra Marathon (relay)

I wanted to run the Capitol to Courthouse Ultra Marathon but since it was a week after my 100 miler, I did not sign up ahead since it was doubtful that I would be recovered enough to run the 39.3 miles (marathon and a half).  Hugh wanted to run as a relay, but I didn't want to commit until I knew I was okay to run.  My run on Thursday went okay so we planned to run as a team, but did not get signed up before online registration closed.  I hoped Darrin would let us register race morning.  The race started in Jefferson City at the State Capitol building.  We met at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and then walked over to the start shortly before 7 am. There were individuals running the entire distance as well as relay teams that were composed 2 members or more.  The course went from the Capitol to the Katy Trail and then turned onto the MKT trail to Columbia where it finished in front of the Boone County Courthouse Columns.

Melanie sang the national anthem and then the runners were off.  The temperature at the start was probably low 40s so a bit cool, but supposed to warm up to the 60s by the time I would start running.  Hugh planned to run to Easley which was the first 5 legs of the relay 22.5 miles and I would run the last 4 legs 16.8 miles.  We were allowed to split up any way that we desired.  Dan and Jenny were a 2 person team and had a bike and ran every 5 miles while the other biked.  I really didn't have a plan until I met Hugh at Easley so to kill some time I went to Hartsburg where one of the aid stations was set up at 13.6 miles.  I watched some relay teams come through and waited for Hugh.  I rode my bike out a bit about when I thought he would arrive.  He tried to talk me into taking over for awhile at Hartsburg, but I told him he only had 9 miles to go and to slow down if he couldn't keep up his pace.

I headed towards Columbia and decided to go to the store to get some Powerade and then headed to Easley to meet Hugh.  I expected he would arrive around 10:21 so got there a few minutes early and he was there at 10:22 so took him 3 hrs 22 min 16 seconds (9:00 pace) for his 22.5 mile portion.  I took off and planned to just see what kind of pace I could hold.  I had not run a fast pace in awhile and coming off the 100 miler was not sure what I could do.  My first mile was 6:35 pace and I shortly passed Dan and Jenny.  The trail is entirely flat so pretty easy to hold a steady pace, but I wasn't sure how long I would be able to keep up this pace.

I didn't see many people the rest of the way, but did pass a couple girls running the relay and the first place male solo runner.  I skipped the first aid station I passed since wasn't thirsty yet, but by the time I hit the second one I think I was a bit behind on hydration.  I had a gel just before I got there and then a small cup of water to wash down.  The next aid station did not come until Scott Blvd. (11.5 miles for me) and by the time I got there I very thirsty.  I had manged to keep the pace in the 6:30s to 6:40s up to this point.  I drank an entire bottle of water and then felt a little sick and needed to use the restroom.  My next mile was 8:49 with the short break.  I almost got back on pace with the next mile at 6:51, but slowed down after.  Katy cheered me on at Forum Blvd.

I was very much looking forward to being done and glad I was not running the entire distance.  Mile 15 - 7:16, Mile 16 - 7:33, and the last 0.8 - 7:30 pace.  I finished my 16.8 miles in 1:57:45, 7:00 pace.  Our overall time for 39.3 miles was 5:20:01 so our combined pace was 8:09/mi.  We ended up winning the first place Masters relay team since the other teams that beat us all had at least 1 person under age 40.

This was a fun and well organized event and looking forward to being a part of it next year when it will reverse the course and run from Courthouse to Capitol.  The results are posted here.

Hugh coming into Hartsburg

After finish picture in front of Boone County Courthouse
First place Masters Team finishing award with spike and tie from the railroad.  Our course was run on an old railroad that has been converted to trail.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd

After microdiscectomy surgery in February I said I would not run a 100 miler this year and give myself plenty of time to recover and then maybe run one next year if I made a full recovery.  My plan this year was to run an easy 50 miler or 100K this fall so I began searching for a race within driving distance.  I discovered the inaugural Pumpkin Holler 100K in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (less than 6 hours away) on an online race calendars.  The web site promoted a relatively flat course on a gravel road and had pretty pictures of the course. There was also a 50K and a 100 mile race.  The pumpkin medal they planned to award for the 100K was appealing since I am a Halloween baby and liked the pumpkin-theme of this race.  I have often received pumpkin-themed birthday cards.  They would award a pumpkin buckle for the 100 miler so that was kind of tempting, but I wasn't sure if I could be ready to run it and I was going to stick to my plan to wait until next year.  Also, I couldn't seem to get motivated to get my mileage out of the 40-something mile per week until after I ran the Psycho Wyco 50K in July.  I decided to motivate myself to increase my mileage by running every day for 30 days.  I made it 31 days and was feeling pretty good so started to have thoughts of running the 100 miler.  I waited until after the Heart of America Marathon to make a final decision and then signed up for the 100 miler.

I ran the Ozark Trail 100 mile last year in November and never completed a 50 miler before the race which I think made it a tough race for me.  For my first 100 miler (Kettle Morraine) in June 2010, I had completed a 100K six weeks before and my first 100 miler turned out very well for me and I felt good the entire race.  I couldn't find any 50 milers that I wanted to do before the Pumpkin so ran a 50 mile training run 4 weeks before the race on the MKT/Katy trail and then the 50K at Rock Bridge Revenge 2 weeks before.  About a week before the Pumpkin, I received a pre-race e-mail informing me the course was not flat and there were indeed hills.  I had trained on some hills but had not done hill repeats as I have done in the past to prepare for a hilly course.  I was hoping for a sub-20 hour race since I thought it might be an easier course than Kettle Moraine where I ran 21:21.  I still went into the race with the sub-20 hour plan and would make any adjustments on the day of the race as needed if it turned out to be a crazy idea.

I left Columbia on Friday morning and met Michael E. in Lebanon and we drove the rest of the way together.  He planned to run the 100K.  We camped at the Eagle Bluff Campground which was a beautiful setting along the Illinois River.  The race start and finish were just a few steps from our campsite so very convenient so we could sleep their after our races.  There was delicious a prerace pasta dinner catered by a local Italian restaurant and a meeting in Tahlequah that we attended as well as picked up our packets.  The race directors humorously answered any questions about the "relatively flat" course.  Some runners had completed a training run on the course and discovered that it was not "relatively flat" so I think that was the reason we were notified that the course was hilly.  We returned to the campground after the meeting, finished preparing our drop bags, and then to bed.  The campground was pretty noisy for awhile, but I managed to get some sleep.

I had set the alarm for 6:30 am but woke up 10 minutes early so got up.  It felt like it had gotten pretty cold overnight.  I had plenty of time to drink a shake, use the restroom several times, set drop bags out, and get dressed before the 8 am start.  It was cold so I kept my pants and jacket on until 5 minutes before the start.  Then Michael and I headed over to the start.  I turned on my 310XT GPS which I intended to wear most of the race due to the 19 or so hour battery life.  As soon as I turned it on, it said low battery.  It had failed to charge the last time I put on the charger.  I had my 610 GPS in my start line drop bag so quickly switched them out.  I was hoping I could run the 4 mile out and back, plus one complete loop so I would have the the entire course captured on GPS.  Also, I wanted to have it for the first part so I wouldn't go out too fast.  I must have been a bit nervous since I nearly forgot to pick up my bottle after I switched watches.

The race was chip timed and all distances started together.   We all lined up in the finishing shoot to start.  I stayed pretty far back so I wouldn't get run over by the fast 50K runners.  With over 150 runners, the course was kind of crowded until the hundred milers split off at about 1 mile to do our out and back which went through the center of the main course loop.  I was was pretty far back the hundred miler group.  I counted somewhere between 14 and 16th place and wondered if I was starting too slow or were they all starting too fast?  Anything can happen in a hundred miler so I decided to stick with my own plan and run my own race and did not run with anyone for this section.  During the start of a 100 miler you really can't get competitive or you might ruin your entire race so I remained patient.  My plan was to run about 10:30 pace (which included aid station stops) the first 50K (5 hr 30 min goal). There was a terrible hill in our out and back section which I mostly walked. The hundred milers had to return to the start after our out and back and I had just slightly over 8 miles at this point with a time of 1:22:56 (10:22 pace so close to my goal pace) and in 15th place.  There were 57 starters for the 100 miler.  I grabbed a Succeed packet from my drop bag and refilled my bottle, went to the bathroom and then was off to start my first of 3 loops for the complete 50K circuit.

I managed to maintain my goal pace for my first 50K and it felt easy. The plan later is that I would run each consecutive 50K one half hour slower, and then would have the extra 9.5 miles at the end.  The course would be a little long by my estimation since there was an extra mile in our out and back at the beginning and the loop was 31.5 miles.  No big deal since I don't mind a few bonus miles, but it might make my goal more difficult to obtain.  We were allowed 5 drop bags on the course and aid stations were  about 3 - 5 miles apart and drop bags 3 - 9 miles apart.  The drop bags were almost too frequent so if I had to do it over again, I might would not use all of them.  I did stop at each one to get either a bar, crackers, gel, and a Succeed Ultra powder for my bottle.  Also, I would try to grab something small from each aid station to eat such as peanut butter and jelly or some Pringles.  I took Succeed caps about every hour at least during the day.  The temp was warming up so I changed into my singlet in my drop bag at mile 20.  I planned to change back into the short sleeve on the next loop after it started to cool down for the evening.  At 50K, my GPS had me at 5:30:00 (10:39 overall pace) which was kind of scary since that was exactly where I wanted to be.  The 31 miles happened during a 3 mile section of the course that was paved and actually felt kind of good to run on after running on the gravel for so long.  The gravel was softer, but I had to be more careful where to run.  The paved section had some hills that I walked near the end before turning back to gravel.  At one house along the course a couple girls came out cheering very enthusiastically.  I passed a few people on this loop running other distances as well as some of the 100 milers that had slowed down.  My pace slowed which I expected since I think it is difficult to maintain the same pace in a 100 miler or at least on the little amount that I train.  Also, being out on the course so long you go through periods of feeling better or not so good.  It warmed up to 80F so that slowed me down a bit.

As I was about to make it back to the start/finish of the first loop, I got a low battery warning on the GPS.  It made it through the loop though and I planned to go to my car and retrieve a watch so I would at least know the time for the rest of the race.  My overall time when I arrived back at the start for the 39.6 miles was 7 hrs 5 min and I was now in 7th place. I did not know my placing at the time since I had lost track of the people I passed.   I ran the full 50K loop section (after the first 8 miles) in 5:42:21 (10:52 pace).  Michael was at the start/finish and about ready to start his next loop of the 100K.  I left my singlet in the car and decided to go shirtless until I got back to the shirt I left at mile 51 which would hopefully be early in the evening.  While at the car, I decided to have a Powerade that I had in the cooler.  I gulped down pretty quickly so must have really needed it since I felt like I was getting behind a bit on hydration.  I tend to not spend a lot of time in aid stations if I am feeling okay and I would guess I did not spend more than 2 or 3 minutes at most.  It I stop too long the muscles stiffen.  I like to keep the momentum going.

I started the second loop just after 3 pm.  Since I no longer had a GPS, I made time goals in my head to get to each aid station.  I had a general idea of my pace and kept it easy.  I was beginning to have a difficult time wanting to eat so forced down a few gels and something small plus an extra drink at aid stations.  After the Mad Dog station which was about 5 miles into the loop, a dog follows me for about 2 miles to the Out and Back aid station.  The owner soon came along in his truck and saw me running with his dog.  He asked if I had fed the dog and said if the dog continued to follow me I would have to take it home with me.  At the Out and Back station it stopped following me, but on the way back, I saw it following two other runners to the Out and Back turnaround.  Our complete loop had a short out and back section that went out almost 2 miles and then back where we continued our loop.  We had to cross an mat at the out turnaround which would prove we had been there.  They also checked us in and out of the aid stations just to keep track of all runners.  At 51 miles, I picked up my flash light and put on the shirt I had left there earlier.  It had finally cooled off just enough so worked out perfectly.  I carried the light in my pocket since I didn't need it yet.  I had a headlamp at the next station at 56 miles so the earlier light was just in case I didn't make it there before dark or if the headlamp stopped working for some reason, I would not be left in the dark.  I made it to the headlamp before dark and turned it on around 7:15 pm.  I had bats flying over my head a couple times.  The girls that cheered for me earlier were still outside.  I was sure I would not see them the final loop. Near the end of the loop there were quite a few cars passing me and kicking up dust.  Previously, I had seen very few cars on the course during the day. I couldn't avoid breathing quite a bit of the dust so figured I would have the brown boogers they warned us about at the meeting.

At the end of the second loop, I was told I was in 4th place and the overall time was 13:27:44 so I had just run the second 50K loop in 6:22:28 (12:08 pace), 40 minutes slower than the previous loop.  I was out in 2 minutes and started my 3rd loop.  I was ready to get it over before I changed my mind!  At this point I was unsure if I would run sub-20 hours but if I did, it would be close and I would have to run almost as fast as the  the previous loop so probably not realistic.  I decide that 20:30 would be my B goal and also a PR.  As it got cooler, it was easier to run, but food was still kind of blah for whatever they would offer me at aid stations.  At the Out and Back (~76 miles), I decided to try some broth of the Ramen Noodles.  I picked up my very light jacket since my arms were cold and figured it might help to keep them warm so my blood could work on digesting my food.  One of the hundred milers that was just behind me was coming back from his out and back so estimated he was about 40 min ahead of me.  Also, saw some other runners at the Out and Back that stayed awhile and were about 20 min behind me, but not sure what loop they were on at the time.  I started to feel better so decided on the way back I would have some more Ramen noodles. My headlamp flashed on me so when I got back to the Out and Back, they helped me change the batteries and I had some more noodles.

I took off feeling much better.  I encountered a bit of wildlife on the course.  There were cows along the course all day.  On this loop I there were more bats and felt like maybe one might have touched my arm, but I could have been imagining it.  I heard some rustling in the woods and saw several deer running away.  I heard barking dogs in the woods that kind of freaked me out and started wondering about coyotes since someone had mentioned them earlier.  Then I see a truck and am thinking I am already to the aid station but knew it was too soon.  There were 2 hunters with 2 dogs that I guess were hunting coyotes and just putting the dogs away.  They asked if I was running a race.  I told them 100 miles and they didn't seem too shocked.  Just before the East of Eden aid station at mile 87, I tried picking up the pace a bit and it felt good.  I had been thinking I might be finished in about 20:40 at this point, but maybe if I could keep this up I would be a bit faster.  I had to stop at the aid station to pick up some stuff from the drop bag.  I had some Ramen noodles which were a bit hot so put what I thought was water in them to cool off and it was Gatorade, but I went ahead and drank the Gatorade flavored broth.  I then started off again at what felt like a faster pace.  At 2:20 am I run past a house with people outside and next thing I know a girl (not a runner's build) is running with me and asking if I am running a race.  She admitted she was a little drunk.  She asked what place I am in and why I am running this race.  She picks up her pace and tells me to run faster.  Then we get to a hill and she stops to ask me my name, tells me her name is Janice, and I continue on.  The roads were covered with trees, but at one point where it was clear, I tried running without the light for awhile since the moon was pretty bright.  At the last drop bag station Hardup (~91 miles), I fill my pockets with the stuff in my drop bag.  I had been collecting it along the way so we wouldn't have to stay late to get them the next afternoon.  I had some more Ramen noodles which I had been doing every chance that I could get.  They seemed to work for my stomach queasiness.  Shortly after this aid station I am running on the pavement for the 3rd time and this time I notice it is hurting my feet a bit but it is tolerable.  I pass one of the hundred miler runners that is walking so assume at this point I am in 3rd place if I can keep it up and he doesn't start running again.  I was told back at the aid station that first and second place were close together, but about an hour ahead of me so no way I would catch them.  I often place 4th so was very happy to be in 3rd and maybe break the curse.

I was surprised I felt so good this final loop and reminded me of my first 100 at Kettle Morraine when I was feeling so good near the end and wanted to pick up the pace and get it done.  I made it to a point where I knew I only had about 10 minutes to go.  I decided at this point I would not look at my watch since I wanted to be surprised to see my time. As I arrived at the campground, someone blew the bullhorn, and I followed the road to the finish.  Overall time was 20:16:30 (11:52 overall pace) which was faster than I expected so I must have really picked up the pace the last 13 miles.  It was 4:16 am.  I ran that loop in 6:48:47 (12:59 pace) which was 26 minutes slower than the previous loop.  I must have really slowed down for awhile since those last 13 miles sure felt pretty "fast".  At the finish I asked someone what I should do with the chip and he found a lady who asked if I had just finished the 100 mile.  She gave me my buckle and someone suggested I sit down around the fire and I had another cup of Ramen noodles that took about 45 minutes to eat.  I talked to a few people that were either waiting on someone or had finished.  About 5 am, I decide it would be good to get up and take a shower.  It was difficult to walk, but not too painful unlike the almost screaming in after I tried to walk after the OT100.  When I took off my shoes, my feet looked really good and no blisters.

I headed to bed in my tent about 6 am and slept pretty good for about 2 hours and then got up.  I found Michael over by the start.  I had some brownies for breakfast and then we packed up our stuff and headed home.  I dropped Micheal off in Lebanon and decided to have Long John Silvers for lunch and then I headed back home.  I stopped about an hour from home to take a nap before driving the rest of the way since I was having trouble staying awake.

I really enjoyed this hundred miler and TATUR did a great job putting it on. It was definitely a first class event.  The course was a little challenging with the hills and the rocks.  Hopefully they have time to shave down some of the hills before next year so the course will be relatively flat.  I think with more training on hills I could have easily gone under 20 hours.  Also, considering I have done pretty well in 2 of my 3 hundred milers, I have to wonder with better and more focused training on the 100 miler what I might be able to accomplish for this distance.  I stay pretty focused and the entire run is kind of like a good meditation so I don't think about much other than how I am feeling and what I need next.  I was able to walk pretty well on Monday and have slept just fine too.  Overall, post race soreness isn't that much worse than a road marathon and in some ways not as bad.  I ran 7 miles today (Thursday) and ran a sub-8 pace so I am pleased that I am feeling good.  I don't think I would want to run a 100 miler more than 2 times per year right now since I enjoy running shorter distances as well.

Photo of some of us before the start.

I am to the right of the finish arch.

Photo at finish at 4:16 am holding my pumpkin buckle.

Loot plus pumpkin cookies Hugh made when I got back.
Close up of buckle which says "I smashed the pumpkin"
Front of shirt
Back of shirt
Logo on the fleece pullover.
This is the same race number that I had at Kettle Moraine 10in June 2010!
Pictures by Runners World Tulsa

A play by play live Twitter feeds by Endurance Buzz's David Hanenburg 
(I didn't know about this site ahead of time, but I got a mention a few times since I was running so well and some people at home were following his posts.)

EnduranceBuzz Report

Blog Post by Co RD Ken "Trail Zombie" Childress"

You Tube Video by Ron Ruhs

Picture Album by Bryan Moore

Picture Album by Deborah Sexton

Sunday, October 09, 2011

2011 Truman State 5K

We arrived at packet pickup at 7:20 am. Temperature was almost 60 F so the warmest Truman 5K I can remember.  We picked up our packet and received a water bottle instead of a shirt.  We had planned to run a couple miles to warm up rather than run the entire course this year since we didn't have time to do the whole course.  We thought we knew a short cut back to the start so turned down a road to take it, but ended up being 3 miles so we had about a minute to rest before the start. I had hoped to get a drink but didn't have time.  Also, didn't have time to take my shirt to the car so left in the ditch by the stop sign at the start.

I lined up in front but as usual about 20+ people spring ahead of me going out so fast like they are running the mile.  I was trying to keep below a 6 minute pace for the first mile.  I ended up passing over 10 people that were breathing way too hard for the first mile.  My first mile split was 5:57.  I passed a few more people at the start of the second mile.  This is a hilly course and the worst hills are in the second mile so I slowed down up the hills a bit.

Ran the second mile in 6:08 which was decent considering the hills.  By mile 2.5, I was feeling those hills I had just ran.  There were some guys now close behind me which keeps me pushing myself.  I kept pushing until the next to last turn and then these guys start to sprint so I kick up the pace even more, but they still pass me just before the end.  Finished 3rd mile in 6:05.  Last 0.1 was 5:20 pace. I beat my best time on this course by only1 second! 

Overall placed 6th of 76  and 2nd of 11 in my age group of 35 - 44.  There were 3 of us very close at the end.  A guy that was 18:39, 18:40, and I was 18:41 and the 18:40 guy was in my age group.  Hugh placed 25th and second in his age group 45 - 54. I was very happy with my time since I have not been training much for speed lately but seem to be running near my fastest time for shorter races.  Also, had not raced a 5K since June where I was 4 seconds slower on a flat course.  I talked to the guy that beat me for awhile at the end and then Hugh and I went out and ran some more.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

2011 Rock Bridge Revenge

This year was one of the coolest Rock Bridge Revenge runs I can remember.  The temperature at the start was about 40F and it was supposed to warm up to 70 F by the time I would finish.  I went into the race feeling good having run pretty easy during the week..  I ran the 7 mile section of the course with Hugh yesterday and didn't feel any effects from that run.  It was also nice to run this race without any sciatic nerve pain like I had the previous 2 years and be able to easily duck under trees..  The 7 milers started shortly at 8 am and the 25K & 50K at 8:15.  The race was chip timed again this year and Jeff gave the 25K and 50K instructions before we started.  This year we ran a little further down the road to spread out and then came back and into the woods.

The same as last year I found myself running with Tony T., but should know better by now since he is too fast for me..  He always starts out at a slower pace and then speeds up and has a negative split.  The first few miles he was running pretty easy.   There were quite a few people directly behind us that were pretty quiet other than their footfalls while we were talking.  Eventually, one of the 25K runners passed us but the rest stayed behind..  I stopped at the aid station in the parking lot just after 6 miles to refill.  After that I didn't see Tony again and I kept the pace slower.  Also, was running on the Gans side which is more difficult so pace is slower. 

I ran the Gans loop alone, but Shawn was not far behind me and came up behind me at the unmanned aid station just as I was leaving.  I ran alone until I got back to the parking lot and then Shawn was with me for awhile.  I came in at 15.5 miles at 2:28, spent a few seconds restocking my running vest and then was off.  Nutrition plan for today was 4 gels, 3 bars, and supposed to be 4 Succeeds.  Also took 3 electrolyte capsules.

The second loop was a bit frustrating when I got to 20 miles.  There were 2 trails and one went left and one went right.  We had just run this earlier and went right, but the flag was now on the left.  I am wondering if I am going crazy, but decide to follow the flag and quickly realize that isn't right and am mad at myself for doing it since I know this course without any markers..  When I turned around I tripped over a root or rock and fell, but was fine.  No blood or dirt.  When I got back to the intersection, I noticed a couple flags had been thrown into the woods.  Some dumb ass had pulled down the flags and moved one to a different tree or I think maybe had tied several around it since it was a larger tree.  Earlier there were several flags on the right. Another runner came up behind me just as I was getting back on course and asked if I was sure I was going the right way.  I told him I was pretty sure someone had moved the flag and torn down the others so I saved him from going the wrong way.  I yelled back to him soon that I had seen another pink flag so we were definitely on the right track.  It is not smart to mess with a trail runner's mind since we are not always thinking clearly and rely on those flags.

At this point realizing what had happened I was mad.  It is probably good that I didn't see the person moving the flags or I am sure I would have gotten a little violent with them.  I did speed up so that was good.  Then I misjudged a tree that was leaning over in the trail that we needed to duck and I didn't quite duck enough and hit the top of my head.  It sounded much worse than my head felt since it felt fine and no blood.  I found out later that several other runners had gone the wrong way and turned around when they saw the water tower along the trail since that was obviously the wrong way.  Probably didn't cost anyone more than 3 or 4 minutes but still frustrating that someone would do something so malicious. 

I filled up my bottle at parking lot aid station and mentioned to Lisa what had happened.  Also realized that I did not have my Succeed packet.  I had ended up leaving it on the table when I restocked my supplies.  I was okay since I had an extra gel and would just get Gatorade at the next station.  About 2 miles into Gans a runner is coming towards me and says he is running the 25K and is sure he went the wrong way since he should have finished hours ago.  I told him to keep going the way he was going since that would take him back.  He was about 3 miles from the finish.  He did eventually make it back okay. I saw James running with a guy and he did part of the loop with him since the guy not being familiar with trail running was afraid he was going to make a wrong turn on his second loop. He was doing it as a fundraiser for a friend and James made sure he stayed on track and he did finish.

I filled up with Gatorade at the unmanned station.  Not much happened the rest of the loop.  I walked a few more hills than the first loop.  I saw a cat in the woods about a mile from the finish.  I figured I could finish in about 5:10 or 5:15 since I had slowed down the second loop.  Once I got to the hill going up to the finish I had to walk a few times.  I was okay running on the flat but hills were getting my heart rate up too high. 

I made it to the finish in 5 hr 11 min and placed 3rd overall.  I had run the last part about 12 min slower.  The course came out to 30.7 with my slight 0.2 - 0.3 mi detour.  Pace still was slower than last year even though a cooler day, I finished feeling really good (no blisters, no blood, and had an appetite at the end) so maybe I didn't leave everything on the course today.  Usually, I can't eat for awhile after I finish.  The 2 guys ahead of me finished in under 5 hours.  Tony passed the guy in 1st place and I think finished in 4:39. 

The course was in really good shape this year and the trail was beautiful as usual.  It is a fun and well organized race and will plan to run it again next year.  I wore the Mizuno Cabraken shoes and didn't have any problems with them rubbing my toe like last year, but my right ankle felt pretty unstable and was twisting around a lot the first loop.  The second loop seemed fine.  I think I am going wear my Mizuno Ascend shoes with the least amount of miles for my 100 miler since those shoes never let me down.

Stainless steel water bottle & socks for the 50K.  Won a glass in the drawing , $20 for 3rd place overall, and brick for finishing the 50K.