Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yes. Hell yes.

               Well, first races in 2 years, how did it go? As far as I'm concerned it went seamlessly. I ran the Wisconsin leg of the North Face Endurance Challenge. It was held in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, starting and finishing on beautiful Ottawa Lake. On Saturday I ran the Gore-Tex 50. My goal was to run it and finish it, relax and run. In doing that I was with in less than 8 minutes of a PR for my 50. I was pleased. At no point in the race did I wish I had a pacer or a crew. I had everything in order and all my contingencies were spot on. Let's be frank. That is not a normal occurrence, even for the well planned and the seasoned pro. Something usually always goes wrong. The worst thing that went wrong is that I almost forgot to deliver my drop bags to the station for delivery to the drop zones, which would've been catastrophic and would have completely altered the outcome of my race. However, I made it back to the car, grabbed the bags, delivered them, and got to the start with seconds to spare. But, this is the razor-thin difference of making or breaking in an ultra marathon. It is apples and oranges compared to the glossy, well stocked road marathons. The usual hiccups that come with running an ultra distance were there, but I expect them. A little GI distress here, which I quickly nipped in the bud with my beloved Gingins. Watching my fluids, what color is my urine? Am I taking in enough calories? If I'm hungry it's usually too little too late. So, it was a beautiful run with a few tears and chokey moments since this was my first race after taking an unplanned hiatus due to a broken fibula in my right leg. I finished in 10:50:23, I believe. That is very acceptable for the variables that were involved with this race.
               That evening I went to my favorite Italian place in the area that I always hit while running the kettles, Holi Canoli. They always treat me right. It was a busy Saturday night so I got in there just before 5pm to beat most of the rush, but even that was a packed house. I usually go the Friday before the race but I was bushed after setting camp and wanted to get to bed for my 50. I ate my pasta that I prepped and brought with me. Tonight though I had the shrimp penne in putinesca sauce, and a mitt-full of their ridiculous in-house made bread. I then shuffled my butt out the door and to bed for the next race on Sunday. I slept like a baby.
               Waking up was a treat though. I liked waking up at 6am as opposed to the daunting 3:30am the night before for my 5am start. The half marathon started at a respectable 8am, which might as well have been noon in comparison. At least I didn't have to start with a headlamp this time. Once I rolled out of my cot I had to get those legs working. I got dressed, broke down most of my camp, which helped loosen me up some for the run, then drove over to the start. Once I got over there my body felt pretty damned amazing. I was ready to rock. As the race started I rolled out slow and steady, letting my body open up. I walked my inclines, flew down my descents. But what is most notable is that on the last 3 or 4 miles, I was flying and I knew it. I didn't bother to look at my splits. I didn't care. After all, the goal for this weekend was to 'just run'. I wanted to enjoy every second of being on the trails again, among my tribe again. My goal was to finish in 2:30. I ran a 2:23:00. For comparison sake, my fastest road half is 1:47something. These are the kettles. Apples and oranges. After I looked at my splits, what I felt like on those last miles I verified. My splits were about 11:00/mile, yet somehow my final averaged out at 10 and change. I was running 9s the last bit, hills and all. So, 63.1 miles in a weekend, camping, exceeding expectations. It was a perfect weekend retreat with me, myself, and I. Perfect? Yes.