Sunday, July 22, 2012
July 21st, 2012. Bruceton Mills, WV
Flashback: I actually did this race back in 2008 and finished that year with 58.5 miles in 12:26.
Flash forward to 2012. This year it was a battle for 1st place all day between myself and another runner (Tom Rhine). The course is 6.5 mile loops of mostly hilly single track, and some technical trail. At 32.5 miles I trailed by 5 minutes, but I hit my only real low point of the day during my agonizingly slow 6th lap which put Tom's lead to over 20 minutes. My energy was super low, but after eating some beef jerky, the food of champions, I was back in the hunt. Tom continued to put a few minutes on me over the next couple loops, and then we ran the last two loops at nearly identical paces. In the end we tied for most distance, but Tom won the tie break by completing his miles faster. The next runners were well over an hour behind, so it really was a two man race for much of the event. However, to be fair, Rande Brown wasn't too far behind me and stopped with 8 laps so he could finish with his wife Kari who ran despite some knee issues. Rande just ran 22:11 at the MMT100, so no doubt he would have pushed me if he chose to keep running. All day I kept expecting Tom to come back to me, as long as I held a consistent pace, but he never slowed down. Props to him for proving me wrong.
Interesting note of integrity: Going into my 10th lap I trailed by 27 minutes, which was too big of a gap to overcome, so I told the time keepers that it was my final lap. Technically, within the rules, I was allowed to go out for an 11th lap because I had finished my 10th lap within the 12 hours. This would have put me at 71.5 miles to Tom's 65 for the win. Unlike most timed events, they let you keep going after time expires. Some runners were out there for 14 hours. Tom was in no shape to go out for an 11th loop, but in good faith stopped at 65 miles because he trusted I was not going back out (based on my word to the timekeepers). I could have very fairly won the race with an 11th lap, but it would have been pretty classless. I opted to maintain some character and settle for 2nd, knowing I could have literally stolen the win. What do yall think? A classy 2nd place, or a no holds barred win? To me, it wasn't worth being the "bad" guy in such a low key event with only 37 solo runners.
So far in 2012 things are holding steady. I think I am becoming a better long distance runner, since I'm not fast enough to hang with folks for 50k's and shorter events. In races over 50k in distance I have finished 5th, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd. Still searching for that elusive win in 2012.
Weather: 60's at the start. A few runners actually had on gloves and long sleeves. High temperature in the mid 70's, but very humid. Overcast. Ideal running conditions for July. A little muddy, but overall good trail conditions.
26 miles- 4:12
32.5 miles- 5:17
52 miles- 9:11
58.5 miles- 10:33 (compared to 12:26 from '08)
65 miles- 11:53
Note: Funny, although an entirely different course and event altogether, these splits were almost exactly the same as my Old Dominion 100 splits. I guess if this had been another 100 mile race, I would have finished in about 20:30, which would have been the third 100 mile run in the 20:30 range this year. Thank goodness, it was "only" 65 miles ;-)