My last race of the year happened just last weeked. Autumn Leaves is more or less a road race really. After all, there is only about 1.3 miles of trail on each five mile loop. Man do I look forward to that section each time around!!! It is 10 loops of five miles each.
Why do I do this 50 miler? Three years ago it was because I used it as a qualifier for States. But now I just run it because it is only about 10 miles from where I live and it is another way to see friends for the last time at the end of the racing season.
Weather for the day was predicted as rain all day. It would not hold true. Thank goodness, I ran in the stuff from start to finish the year before.
Race... Well, the plan was to run 9:00 minute miles in the begining. That went down the toliet right away as I ran with Mark and Brad running 8:30's. I knew that was a bad thing but did I fall back? Heck no, I am not smart enough to do that. Did I pay for it? Heck yea, terribly. I set up an aid station on the back of my tailgate of my pickup in the morning as I would pass it 10 times during the race, hopefully. 10 handhelds, 20 GU's, two bottles beans would do.
At mile 20 I could feel my stupidity. I was feeling the effect out going out too fast. I slowed terribly. I looked at my split chart that a friend made for me and I was ahead of schedule, not where I really wanted to be mind you. I would get to the second aid station and Sarah introduced herself to me. Very nice. I decided to use the GU they had and would do this throughout the race. One of mine, two of their's.
At mile 30 I felt like a slug. Time to change plans. I grabbed my i-pod just like 90% of the other runners. I liked this. Listening to nothing but Techno from here. I felt like it helped me go faster but I am sure that was an illusion.
Everybody would exchange a wave or grunt of encouragement the next 20 miles as the race continuted. Gotta love the grunts at 40+ miles. At 41 miles I would loose my lunch for the first of four times. Status Quo I figure.
I stopped looking at my watch long ago. At mile 40 I did catch a glimpse of the start/finish clock and it said 6:56! Crap, that means an 8:30 for the day. I was bummed. I knew I had slowed but that slow? I just kept going, eating and drinking. I have to admit, I was ready to be done. That darn pavement is hard. I got to the aid station and I see Sid but no Sarah. Maybe she called it a day? That is fine, she was out there a long time. It was good to have her help.
I take a picture with Olga. Heck I don't mind stopping. I already through the race in the toilet the first 20 miles.
I come around the last lap and a 50k runner passes me the last 100 yards. He is happy. Sorry dude, doing the 50 miler. I finish. I am glad. My feet hurt.
Low and behold Olga says the clock was for the early starters. Cool. I finish in 7:34. My 7th PR of the year. I ran this in 7:59 last year.
The race... Was a struggle for me. But it was nice to finish and be vertical.
And the best thing... I didn't loose count like the year before!
I have learned to count to 10!