We showed up at the park and got going at 7am. It was still dark so the early footing was a little hit or miss. I was wondering how the trail would hold up since it was underwater last week, but it was fine apart from two patches where the water was ankle deep - I enjoyed running through it each loop, making sure to splash some of the more tentative road runners who were trying to edge around it.
|With Cheri, supplier of yummy finish-line kolaches|
The first two loops passed by really quickly and I started the final loop with a comfortable sub-4 hour marathon in the bag. I wasn't really worried about time goals, so with Cactus Rose next week I backed off completely and finished nicely in 3:52 - good for 28th overall. Oddly enough, for the first time in over three years I actually cramped up a little in the last few miles - I wonder why.
Once I finished I enjoyed spending time with friends at the finish line - I got to introduce my parents (who are visiting from Wales) and show Dylan off. The race organizers had laid on a superb spread with lots of pizza, cookies, vitamin water and sodas (plus some friends had brought some yummy kolaches). As a bonus I got in a few extra miles when I went back out and paced a number of friends for their last few miles. It was super fun to run with each of them for a while - a great chance to chat and catch up.
This was a really fun little race which I would definitely do again next year - there were lots of neat little touches like having tombstones as mile markers. We really lucked out with the weather and conditions couldn't be more perfect. On the other hand I have a slightly sore Achilles (a problem that's been haunting me all summer) and am definitely not in the same kind of shape I was back in January.
Hopefully it is enough to see me through 100 miles next Saturday.