Now let's get to my race. I had very high expectations going into this race. I had a goal of finishing under 4 hours, and really finishing under 3:50... but that didn't quite work out for me. My time for the day was 4:21, finishing at a 9:59 average pace. By no means am I disappointed with the time, but I did have a pretty rough day. I just felt like I had no energy from about mile 10 on.
Going back to the start of the race, I got to see and talk to so many cool people. Chatting with Dewayne Satterfield while in line for the bathroom was nice... he is such a great runner and a great guy all around. Others I got to see and talk to before the race were Phil, Matt, Bryce, Michael, Chris, Brian, Todd, and many others I knew. It was really cool to be in such great company at the start of the race. As the race began, I felt great on the flat section, as we made our way over to the first climb. Chris ran out ahead, as he would go on to win the Half. I got to run with Dewayne for a few minutes, then I slowed down tremendously on the climb, which was the plan all along. About 1/3 of the way up the mountain, Bryce came up behind me and we ran together for the remainder of the climb, as well as all the way down to Hwy 100. Getting down to that first aid station was nice, knowing that I would see Amy for a few seconds. I did have in the back of my mind, I was about to have to climb up this trail that we were cruising down. The trip over there was awesome, getting to talk with Bryce about his race plans, and finding out he was going to be plunging into the 100 mile distance in September. So this section was great, I felt great, so what happened???
Well, as I started the climb back up the mountain, I began to feel a little weak. So I slowed down, walked any steep grades, and tried to save my energy. As I finally got to the top of the mountain again, I heard some footsteps coming up behind me. These footsteps would stay behind me in this race for the next 12 miles or so. These were the footsteps of a 16 year old sophomore in high school, who turns out to be running his first marathon!!! It was truly a joy being able to pace him to his first marathon finish up here on this brutal course, his time was 4:23, just a shade over 10 min. pace! So as we ran over past the midpoint, and to the next turnaround, we really were just trying not to drop the pace too much. I did fall one time and looked at my calf, there was a serious indention in my muscle, a cramp right in the middle of my left calf. I got back up and we made our way to the end of the section, where my beautiful support crew (Amy) would be waiting for me.
I got to her, then began to see the leaders of the race as I made my way to the turn-around. Matt Kahrs was still in 3rd place, and looking very strong! He was followed by Dewayne and Bryce. As I turned around, I got to see who was chasing me, and it was Nils who was probably 8-10 minutes behind me and Travis at this point. I got back to Amy before I went into the woods for the final stretch, and I let her know I was feeling pretty rough. This entire section seemed very slow, as I did walk most of the climbs. Any time I did try to run an incline, my achilles would cramp up, something that has never happened before. Somewhere toward the end of this section, right before we dropped down into our final 4 mile descent, I went up ahead of Travis(the 16 year old).
So I got to the aid station where I turned right down the mountain and headed for the finish, and I thought I had around 2 or 3 miles to go. I asked the volunteers, and they said I had 4 to go! This completely discouraged me, and I just went into survival mode, wanting the race to be over. I got down the steep part and as I made my way toward the lake, I caught a glimpse of Nils behind me, and he looked strong. I tried to pick it up a little and race him to the finish, but he had a very nice kick at the end and ran the last mile at least 2 minutes faster than me.
I slowly made my way to the finish line with a time of 4:21 (7th place), where I got to see my wife, my son, mom, Steve and Beth(Amy's parents), Amy's grandparents, and other friends of mine who were cheering for me... Thank all of you for the support, it means so much to me! And thank you Steve for the awesome pictures at the end.
Travis came across about 2 minutes later to complete his first marathon!
I went over to congratulate all those finishing before me, and had about 3 cokes, and some oranges.
The day was humid, and it took everything I had to get to the end in 4:21. Nice job to everyone who finished the race. David, congrats on your sub 6 finish, amazing! Michael, congrats on yet another year completing this brutal race!
Malachi is waking up from his nap now, so I have to go. Time to get ready for Pinhoti 100! Seriously, Bye, he's crying!