Oh boy. Do I have a lot to talk about. So stop right now, grab a cup of coffee, make sure the kids are in bed, and be prepared to read.
Like any race, things started last night. Instead of going to bed at my usual time, I stayed up an extra hour or so since I couldn't go to sleep. Probably all the Coke I had yesterday. Which was unplanned but necessary since we pretty much wasted the entire afternoon waiting on new tires for the truck that they couldn't install because the lug nuts were frozen on their. Not frozen like cold, frozen like seized. Anyway, long story short, yesterday sucked. So I wasn't exactly tired last night. Which was okay because I got to read some my friend's novel.
Add to a later than normal night and a few earlier than desired wake-up calls from the dog and the kid, I didn't have as much sleep as I wanted. But, I wasn't too worried about that. After all, it happens a lot. So I was up early, took my shower, and damn near thought about going back to bed for half an hour. Instead I ate some food, had a coffee, and took my time getting dressed. Once I got out the door, I headed to the race start and parked my car.
And got my first jolt of excitement. My stalker, Chunk, was there right after me. Thankfully, he played it cool and wasn't obnoxious about things. At all. Which kind of creeped me out that he wasn't creepy.
I poked around a bit, went to the bathroom a few times, drank a little GU Brew, and tried to stay warm. My dad showed up as my personal photographer. I chilled out some more. Saw Ralph W. Chilled out some more. And finally lined up for my wave to start.
The first wave started, then 2 minutes later my wave started (there were 4 waves total). I trucked down the trail a bit before peeling off to water a tree. I needed to go but didn't want to get a late start and I wanted to go before the ladies and their wave started behind me. Nothing like catcalls and whistles to make the plumbing seize up. After that, I trucked down the road some more. The waves behind had runners fast enough to continue passing me for a few miles. Not a big deal and I expected it.
What I didn't expect is falling. Last year I tripped pretty hard at the start but never fell. This time I tripped and fell. Hard. Well, not too hard. But hard enough to hurt and make me stop for a second and wonder what the fuck just happened. I was about at mile 3 and a half and had a few ladies behind me. They were nice enough not to laugh and were concerned about me which was awesome. At least I didn't hear them laugh. I was laughing. Both times. Oh yeah, I fell again about a mile later. I cruised into the first aid station with a busted strap on one of my water bottles and plenty of mud and dirt on my shirt. The workers didn't notice too much until I told them I was doing fine after my fall. When I came back through the same aid station the second time, and after my second fall, they noticed I had fallen again. They gave a little chuckle and asked if I had fallen again. Oh yeah, I was apparently making a habit of falling. Maybe I should have charged the race organizers to be the race clown.
So anyway, other than falling twice, the race was fairly uneventful. I did my best to just run my own pace and not worry too much about my overall time or anyone else's. I wanted to really focus on my aid station routine, especially since the HAT 50k has aid stations at just about the same distance apart. Of course that plan went out the window when I became insanely focused on falling down. Which means my first trip into the aid station had me distracted. I eventually got my game face back on by the time I got through the second time and it showed in my speed through there.
After the turn around and with about 3 miles left I was running behind a lady. We had traded places a few times as I would run faster then walk and she was gradually slowing down. Anyway, with about 3 miles left I looked up, saw her running a few dozen feet in front of me, looked down to see where I was running, looked up and saw her sitting on her butt. Yup. She had fallen. And I had missed it! Oh the humanity!
Near the finish I had passed a couple of people and tried to pick off one more but they were a solid quarter mile in front of me with a mile and a half to go. I eventually closed the gap to about a tenth of a mile by the finish line but just couldn't go any faster. And I wasn't really going to win anything or prove anything by passing them anyway. So after the finish I caught my breath, grabbed a drink, and headed back out for a few extra miles. I ended up doing just 3 more miles but it was good enough for me mileage-wise for the week. Plus I got to run past a few of the back-of-the-packers and give them words of encouragement. As I got to the turn-around point for my extra mileage, I passed one of these back-of-the-packers and ended up catching back up to him after I turned around. I stopped to talk to him and try to cheer him on. Turns out this was his first race. And he had only a few training runs in the bag. And when he signed up, he thought this was a 6 mile race. Ouch. But he finished in a fairly respectable time considering all the variables. And I was happy to run/walk the last mile or so with him. Having been the caboose before, I know how much it means for slower people to have somebody there.
After my extra mileage was done, I ended up talking to the manager of the local running store. He said it was because of me and my feedback that they're even considering carrying Altra Zero Drop shoes. Wow. No pressure there. But it was good to hear that they're at least thinking about it. He also said they're probably going to get some Hammer products in the store too. Super awesome. So we talked about running, shoes, and nutrition for awhile before I finally left.
Oh, one side note, I'm working on collecting data for a medical experiment of sorts. More on that later when the results are final.
Phew! Told you to get some coffee.
Temps were about 30F at the start but wearing black and standing in the sun helped warm me up soon enough. I actually took my hat off by mile 3 of the race. By the end of the race the temps were about 45F. The wind was light but noticeable. The sun was out in full with a few clouds.
Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was toast with honey, yogurt, and a coffee. I drank a little GU Brew before the race. During the race I had a shot or two of Hammer Gel between miles 1 and 3 and between miles 10 and 13. I drank a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum during the race (mostly between miles 2 and 10) and had two bottles of Hammer Fizz between miles 0 and 9.
Aches and Pains:
Well, I tripped. The first time I landed on my left knee and it hurt a bit. The second time it hurt the toes on my left feet. Aside from that, my calves and ankles are a bit sore now.
I wore my Dailymile singlet, my Saucony ViZi-PRO tights, and my Altra Lone Peak shoes. My shirt got a wee bit dirty after my falls (and from me wiping the mud off my bottles). My tights got a hole in the knee from my first fall and they kept working their way off my ass when I ran. Add in some busted seams and I won't be wearing them again. My shoes worked great, which is what I expected. I also busted one of my Amphipod bottles, just like I did when I fell in Caledon. I landed on the bottle and ended up breaking the strap.
Codename - Have a nice trip, see you next fall!
I felt like such an idiot falling. There was no cute chick with a smokin' hot ass in front of me. There was no unicorn running across the trail. There wasn't even a crop circle in the fields next to me. Nope, just me not paying attention. I'd blame it on the 3NonJoggers since I was listening to their podcast both times I fell but when I fell it wasn't even a funny part of the show when I fell.
Mile 1 - 11:47 (includes pee break)
Mile 2 - 11:37
Mile 3 - 11:22
Mile 4 - 12:40 (includes bottle refill at the aid station)
Mile 5 - 10:24
Mile 6 - 10:25
Mile 7 - 12:15 (actually it's 1.1 miles)
Mile 8 - 10:53
Mile 9 - 11:00 (includes bottle refill at the aid station)
Mile 10 - 10:15
Mile 11 - 10:50
Mile 12 - 10:51
Mile 13 - 8:59
Finish - 2:23:24 (new trail half marathon PR by roughly 10 minutes)