Four weeks ago I tried out my first "long" run since a 12 miler in February...10 miles on Wildwood, then 15 miles the next weekend, and 20 mile two weeks ago. So far so good. My ankle and foot, while not 100% were holding up more or less and bouncing back. At the very least I didn't feel much worse than doing nothing at all. Last weekend I tapered with 12 miles around the neighborhood and then a hilly 8 mile hike/run in the gorge with the boys. I was as ready as I was going to be.
I've run this race twice before with times in the 6:30 to just under 7 hour range. My goal this year was to finish and hopefully come in under 8 hours. I started at the back and was happy to mostly walk the first mile or so up to where the trail insersects with Wildwood. About 2 miles in I caught up with a fellow maniac. I wasn't wearing my maniac colors so introduced myself to him. Turns out Rob was on day 2 of a Memorial weekend triple and on an ultimate quest to complete 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Our paces were evenly matched, which me being out of shape and him having run a hilly trail marathon the day before.
So except for a pee break where it took me a few miles to catch back up, we ran the whole thing together. I really think it made the difference for me in the race. The constant conversation kept my mind off my foot and from focusing too much on the physical. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have been over thinking every little twinge or discomfort. Rob let me lead the whole way so I never felt like I was pushing the pace. I wore my Garmin 310xt and was able to monitor our pace, which was a pretty constant 13:30. Fueling went well and when I started to feel some cramping in my hips after 20 miles, an S cap seemed to help.
|My running companion Rob, navigating Oil Line|
|Posing for Glenn (or was I screaming for help?)|
Lots of rain over the spring and some heavy downpours this past week kept the trail muddy. But it wasn't slippery wet and still very runnable. I even had fun this year going down the Oil Line.
|Phew I made it upright!|
On the way back I actually felt stronger than I have the last two times I've run this race. My foot felt a little numb but there were no sharp pains. I really enjoyed sharing the trail with Rob. But for a few miles from about 22-24 I was by myself. I had the chance to really acknowledge to myself how much I love running through the woods and challenging myself both physically and mentally.
Once we hit the firelane 1 aid station for the last time and then made our way past birch trail, I knew it was mostly downhill to the end (but there are a few sneaky uphills to contend with.) At the turn off to lower macleay, we turned it on with less than a mile to go. Wow, did it feel great to have something left in the tank to kick it in.
Official finish time: 7:10:28. Very pleased with that time considering my conditioning. Best part is I felt pretty good at the end too. Today my body feels good. My foot and ankle are a little sore and stiff. I need to figure out how to prevent and relieve that stiffness.
Here's the Garmin data. The consensus among Garmin wearers and map scrutinizers is that the course is long...probably about 32.5. My Garmin came up with 32.25.