|50k PR 5:12|
My plan was to average a 10 min pace overall. Now the big question was to go out quick, build a bank on time then survive over the second half. Or go out with some sense and build over the second half. Luckily with this being a local course and knowledge of where the difficult sections will be was key. Plus the addition of having friends to run with.
So from the get go I paired with Rick for a an even pace run (option 2). We kept each other in check. This was a critical point for me to keep in mind. With my longest run of 20 miles coming just two weeks prior to the event. I had some real concerns after the 3 hour point in the race.
First lap was steady. This would sum it up. Steady through the aid stations. Just keeping up with the calories and fluids. Knowing the 20 mile mark was lurking ahead. Steady through Spider Woman. Had to really hold back the excitement here. I slipped off the pace a bit but hovered just outside of my goal pace.
All is well? Yep! Onto the second lap. Still paired with Rick. We picked our way along. Passing a few runners here and there. Meeting folks from all over. Really cool to see where folks have traveled from to experience Harbison.
As we neared the exit of Lost Creek I mentioned to Rick that we had just passed the 20 mile mark. So from her on I was in uncharted waters. Not sure as to how I would hold up. Stayed the course on the overall plan. Luckily Rick is a seasoned vet at this distance and he took the lead from here on. The goals began to change a bit. Now I was just trying to run the Connector and Stewardship trails. Don't walk till the switchbacks. Goal accomplished. What a relief it was to walk a bit.
I began to slow a bit from here. Spider Woman was up next. Managed to convince myself to run the downs and walk the ups. It seemed to work out well. for me. By the time I exited Spider Woman I had a little peep left to conquer the Bluffs in a similar fashion. Onto the final fire road sections I wanted to run the entire bit. Not an easy feat but the end was near and I really wanted to stick the goal.
Finishing was the icing on the cake for me. To find Erin and Wesley waiting at the finish was such a treat. I know he will not remember it but I will never forget it. A mini milestone I guess.