I did some things different this race.
I went entirely on gels, heed, water, & pretzels. I didn't use any Hammer Perpetuem this time figuring I would be done in (hopefully) less than 5 hours. My training buddy, Dave estimated I would run a 4:20 at the race and I was determined to beat that estimate. I've had races where my training friends have given me arbitrary numbers to beat and it usually works.
|Coming in at the 1/2|
I came into the half at 1:56 or so feeling pretty good and ready for some more punishment. I had held 5th place for that time frame and was hoping I could maintain that of not gain a bit on the second half. I had seen a couple runners behind me and knew they were chasing so I picked up the pace a bit and kept pushing. On the way down to Wilson Mills, Sunita passed me...we ran for about 1/2 mile together, made the turn then she continued on strong up the hill. She eventually passed me and took 3rd overall & 1st female getting stronger as the race went on.
Thanks to the turn around, you were able to see who was in front and behind you to get a gauge on your standings. Rachael Nypaver was close behind and she catches me towards the end of almost every race I do. I was determined to push the effort that day and not loose anymore ground. I was sitting in 6th and didnt want to sink back any further.
I kept the gels, pretzels, salt sticks, and pace going and once I crested the last aid station, the major hills were over and I tried to keep a solid fast pace. As I watched the clock, I thought I was able to run a sub 4 hour marathon albeit by a minute or two, I started to really pick it up at the last mile. With 3:57 on my watch, I came out of the woods to the last stretch dropping sub 7min mile pace, suddenly I hear "Go Daddy!!" from my wife & kids in our van. My hear lept that of all the times and places to be, this was the one spot on the trail they could find me. They pulled in, ran out and all 3 of my kids finished with me. I finished at with a very even split at 3:59:33! an hour faster than I planned!, good enough for 6th overall and 5th male. It averages to about a 9:21 pace, 1,841 feet elevation gain. I ran in the Hoka One One Conquests (again), Smartwool Socks, Mountain Hardwear Shorts, Pearl Izumi top, UD Handheld with Hammer Gels, Honey Stinger Ginsting, and Salt Stick electrolytes. I also listened to music this entire race, something I've never done....I liked it.
|Finishing with the kids (1 in front, 2 behind me)|
Sunita had gained 9 mins over the last 12 miles and the overall winner Mark Bain crushed it at 3:29. It was a great event. I felt good afterwards and happy with the effort. As a tune up race for Laurel Highlands, I think it will pay some physiological dividends 4 weeks from now.
Big thanks to Eddie, Suzanne, & Heidi as well as all the volunteers who came out and helped and or harassed us on the course. It was a very well marked course, down to earth, great time, and awesome custom welded trophies!
Next up is the Laurel Highlands 70.5miler.