Ran from the bathroom and ducked quickly under the flagging tape and into the first heat. We were off and it was quick. Down to the beach, into our first creek, and I was already self -talking myself out of the groups pace. I backed it off and cruised out the Valley Trail just behind Flight Crew Teammate Jenn Segger. The mud was apparent, but mostly it was just puddles at this point. The mud would really appear on the way back after 300+ runners had worked it into the perfect blizzard consistency. I wasn't sure who to gauge with as we ran with sport course racers too. They of course allowed themselves a bit more speed. Who to run with? Me.(Photo courtesy of Steve Jonathon Ellsion photography)Across the main road and out of the trails on to Mike Lake Road and I got some legs about me. I started to tick over nicely and reeled in Jenn. It wasn't until we started up Incline Trail however, that I was actually able to make any gains on anybody. I was geared down and ready for a long long climb. Chest high, quick feet, and careful breathing. This climb was taking me up and up and ...what's this, the marshals sent us down to the left? I was confused, but with little time to think about it. Another Flight Crew runner had just started down. It was the Lazy Trail Runner and he wasn't feeling too lazy today. We'd just scratched close to a kilometer off the course and I was in pursuit down the technical steeps of Eric Dunning. Just into the groove and I was spit out onto Mike Lake road again. This was going by quickly and the legs were really gearing up now. The next climb was covered in Sport course runners who were so encouraging. I worked my way by them on the up and then...it was on. Another gear. A quick glance at Menzie Creek waterfall and it was bobsled city down the mud and guts of Menzie Trail, Lookout Trail, and back onto Valley Trail. A few people were still trying to stay clean, but for the most part we'd all conceded to being kids in the dirt.
I came across the finish line in 1:01 and felt bushed. Still solid, but I'd certainly worked hard for my time. The Lazy Trail Runner drew first blood on this race and rolled over the line in just under an hour, 59:30. WOW!
I've been a bit disappointed with my result since the finish, but the more I think about it, the more I recognize that I ran my perfect race. I didn't allow the group to make me do more than I was ready for and I finished strong rather than starting strong and then surviving. Thanks to Coach Phil too, for reminding me that this is not my goal race and I should not be aiming for results on such a heavy week of running. Even if he was lying, I feel better. Thanks, man.
SO, HOW TO RECOVER FOR A LONG ONE TOMORROW.
First I hit the recovery water hole across the street from my house and then I apply the weird wooden thing from my kitchen drawer to my muscles. It feels nice when I roll it up and down my calves, quads, and hamstrings and alternate with some stretching. A bit of water might help flush away the muscular blues as well.
Should feel good up Norvan Falls tomorrow.
Looking forward to a long run and maybe a little less mud, even though it was fun.