Registered for this race on a whim since it was close and I needed my race fix and it would set me up nicely in training for the back to back 50 milers beginning in two weeks. I certainly wasn't expecting much, so there was no anxiety leading up to it and no nerves on race morning. I haven't run a shorter distance race in a long time (read: the suffering of a half marathon scares me more than running 20 hours straight). I also almost never train for any speed, rarely dipping below 7 min pace in any training run (unless I run with GZ...). So, overall, I'll take today's performance any time.
Lucho was there at the start and I met Brad Poppele, whom I've known in the blog/running world for a couple years. He's training for Green Bay's marathon in three weeks and his speed showed today!
The start was this convoluted, tangled mess of a short out and back around a cone, then back through the start line backwards and on out for a figure 8 style loop before heading out onto open trails. Once the bumper car running was out of the way, Lucho pulled out in front for good. Then there were about four guys and then me behind him. I jumped around this joker who was jostling between fast and slow surges. I think Brad came with me around him and we eased into a comfortable pace. Brad came around me before mile two. We ran as though tethered together up past mile seven. At that point we hit the main climb of the day to the top of Mt. Carbon. It really was nothing much to speak of but for some reason I was in a brief funk just before we reached it and I dropped back about ten meters from Brad. Throughout the first half and beyond of the race he and I were in 4th and 5th place and really not much chance, short of breaking both ankles, of getting caught from anyone behind. The climb being over left me angry that I was soft up it, so I cranked it down the other side of the hill. With Brad and my surge (and 3rd place fading), Brad caught and overtook 3rd just before mile ten with me not far behind. I went through mile ten in 1:07 and shortly saw we were going to be climbing another decent hill, so I waited until about 300 meters before the climb and passed the other guy for 4th place. He looked tanked, so I didn't worry about much from behind and focused on just running steady the last three miles and hoping my abnormally tight hamstrings didn't snap or convulse into a twined ball of muscles. I ran just fast enough to finish comfortably under 90 mins.
1st 1:21 (Lucho)
2nd 1:26 (some dude)
3rd 1:28 (Brad P)
4th 1:29 (me)
Fun time all together, got to meet Brad, see Lucho, eat a bunch of cashews, run a solid tempo, and win a $20 gift certificate at Fleet Feet. Good course, well marked.