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.