In a nutshell, the Mac 50k, version 2013, was a really good race for me.
I've run this twice before, in 2007 as my 4th 50k and again last year, 2012. Both finish times were squarely over 7 hours. This year, with a higher fitness level and coming at the heels of my sub 11 hour 50 mile finish, I was determined to get under 7 hours. And that I did, finishing in 6:44:03, a course PR by about 30 minutes.
It was a hot day...I think the high got into the 80's....but I only had one real low point. When I was coming out of the Dimple Hill aid station around mile 18, I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie thinking I'd walk out of the aid station eating it. But, duh, of course there's a big downhill right there so I crammed it into mouth. Trying to cruise down a nice hill with a big lump of chocolate chip cookie in your stomach isn't fun so I had to take it a lot easier down the long mile or two hill than I wanted to. Actually it was probably a good thing because when I got to the bottom I realized how hot it had become. My face started to feel tingly which happens when I'm starting to get dehydrated or overheated. So I downed an S-cap and resolved to pay closer attention to the conditions and my fueling.
I arrived at the Chip Ross Aid Station with about 4:45 on the clock and 10 miles to go. It was heating up and there was an exposed section (and a big climb) ahead. At this point I thought the sub 7 might not be possible. I thought about how hard I had pushed at Capitol Peak and decided that it wasn't worth killing myself on a hot day. I wasn't giving up the goal at all, but I realized I might not have a full on fight in me that I had two weeks prior. It seemed more like an honest assessment of how I was feeling both physically and mentally at the time.
But the exposed section and the hill wasn't as big and bad as I remembered. Before long I had topped out and saw a sign that said 6 miles to go. It was now 5:30 on the clock, and with some of downhill ahead I knew I could do it. I was re-energized! Historically, these last miles included a lot of forest road before a fast, one mile downhill finish. But in the past few years, they've incorporated some new single track, which adds a few more uphills, but is overall more pleasant. And knowing I had made my goal made the final downhill push that much more sweet, even managing to get under 6:45.
So now that I've run this race three times I'm thinking it's time to move on and find new races. But I think you get something after racing 5 times. Hmmmmm......
Following are the pictures taken of me by Long Run Pictures. In the first three, Michael caught me as I was getting my second bottle out of my race vest and had me cracking up as you can see.