Sunday May 29, 2011
(Grant and I Pre-Race)
Another great morning for a run at Pineland's. I knew cloud cover would be key since i'd be out here for a long time today. Grant, who'd been training and I decided that today we'd run our own races. I knew my lack of training would only slow him down, my goal in finishing around 6:15 and his goal of 5:30 just wouldn't mesh. After a mile i knew i'd never see him again except maybe miles and miles ahead of me on one of the foolish switchbacks.
In the first field I found myself running next to a runner i'd run with in the past named Kenny. We ran together and talked about the races we'd already run this year and had on our plate going forward. If there is one thing i really like about running Ultra's in New England, it's the fact that the group of people is still so small you know just about everyone after a couple of years. I was quicker out of the aid stations than he was, but he was a much quicker runner so I wished him the best of luck and watched him disappear out of site in one of the next fields.
The course loops back past the start finish and this year I made it quick enough where i got to see off the 25k Runners in our club. I snapped a quick photo, and wished them all luck, and told them not to drink all of the beers before i got back.
Grant had run through almost 15 minutes ahead of me and was looking strong. I knew i'd never catch him so i settled back into a leisurely pace and decided i'd just enjoy the rest of the day. It was at this point where i met up with a fella named Eric Sherman. He was very laid back and we shot the breeze for the majority of the rest of lap one and a decent chunk of lap two. The clouds were starting to break up and the sun was cutting through. This was terrible news, although the sun makes the scenery much nicer, the fields are simply brutal once the sun comes out. I slow down more and decide to stop and take photos along the course whenever i needed a break.
(Small waterfall 3-4 miles into each lap)
(One of the many fields we run in, around, and through)
As i come back through the grove on my second and final lap I'm greeted by Leah who just finished her 25k. She gives me a kiss and tells me that Dustin and Heather aren't too far behind. And that Loni was a bit further back taking her time as to not cause injury before her 50k the following weekend. I get to the final mile aid station and see Grant scream through in his last mile. He's almost 4 full miles ahead of me. Unreal. I tell him congrats and to go get it. He certainly did and killed his goal and set a PR by running a 5:14. I see Loni through the woods a few turns later and holler some words of encouragement. From here on in it was just left, right, repeat. My goal on the inside was to not let anyone else pass me, and it worked for a little while. Even the few runners that would catch up to me would give me a rabbit to chase for a few turns before they'd dissapear. Soon I was back at the final mile aid station where i saw Grant almost a full hour prior. I had caught up to Joe Hayes, another fellow ultra runner who we always seem to cross paths with. He's in rough shape and tells me to keep going rather than slow down and chat. As i get close to the finish line the rest of the team is waiting for me, beers in hand, and shouting encouragement. I trot across the finish line at 6:13:23, a pretty decent time. Nothing special, nothing terrible. It's about what I'm used to running. Within a few minutes I was enjoying a nice cold beer with my buds and talking about when we were going to start the plans for 2012.