What an amazing day. The wind was howling last night, so I assumed a front was moving in and expected the worse (rain, cold, etc) but we were treated to warmer temps (upper 60s) and clear sky sunshine for the Epiphany 50k Trail Run.
The other half of Inside Trail, Tim Stahler, had never run further than a marathon, so this would be his first ultramarathon. We got underway right at 7am with a huge turnout of other runners and settled in with three other guys in the front and held a nice pace through the first half marathon distance. On the return trip we managed to maintain our pace on the climbs and finished in 4:28 (8:39 avg pace).
So nice to see friends and meet new people out there, like Sarah Lavender Smith, Mark Gilligan, Lance Fong, Gary Lambert, Adam Ray (epiphany organizer), and several others. I believe there were roughly 150 folks total out there. I took some photos, but they're blurry.
The plan, in my mind, was to hold Tim S back and not allow him to make the ultra newbie mistake of taking it out at 7 min pace only to be walking the last 4 miles. This plan fell apart when I glanced at the garmin and saw we were clipping along at a decent rate. I felt confident we could hold it (not because of speed but experience at this distance). With 3,700 feet of climb and generally open stretches in which to open up the stride, all we had to do was manage eating and drinking. I planned on roughly a 5 hour or so run but when we hit the first turn around at 12.5 miles with an 8:30 avg pace, I got it in my head we could run 4:30 even though the return was mostly climbing.
We hit the marathon at 3:45 and knew it'd be a struggle to hit 4:30 but I squeezed every ounce out of Tim S, who showed grit by gamely nearly catching me on the final 600 ft climb in the last mile (I had only gapped him, unknowingly, by about 200 meters). Staring at my garmin, I grinded that last mile in 8 minutes and clicked the watch off at the line in 4:28:50. Tim S. was only a few clicks behind me. 4:28 in your first true 50k with 3,700 ft climb. Not bad Mr. Stahler! He's got a promising future in ultras, if he gets past the "I'm never doing that again", as heard minutes after finishing.