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Caleb M. ran: First of all, #TeamWi...
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- 31 miles
- 03:43 time
- 07:10 pace
- 2897 calories
Second of all, trail ultras are hard.
The weather was perfect today, with temps in the 30s and 40s. After the start, I settled into an easy effort (I ran without a Garmin) and found myself in the lead (not the plan) right away. As soon as we hit the woods for the short loop, I was setting the pace for myself and the 2nd place runner.
I noticed that I was making a gap on every uphill, and he was getting back on my tail on every downhill. I just kept things easy effort all the time, and when we came through any mileage markers I noticed we were running 7:0x-ish pace. All good. The first big loop (coming to about 17+ miles) was relatively uneventful, aside from me wondering when I was going to need to deal with a move from 2nd place.
We came through the pavilion after the first big loop and I had a small lead (30 seconds, maybe). I swapped one empty Tailwind bottle for another, and kept going. The 2nd place guy fell back at that point (he stopped for a gel), and I never saw him again.
Once I was out on the 2nd loop a ways, I asked a course marshal if he could see the 2nd place guy behind me, and he said "No." The plan from here on was to try to extend the lead on the flats and uphills, and not fall down on the downhills. My legs started to get a little grumpy after the 2-hour mark, but I still stayed relatively on pace, except for a couple of nasty hills. After I started to lap some people, I got a big mental boost and just kept digging deep.
The last 5 miles were tough, as expected. The race finishes with a steep downhill, then a section of steep uphill, then a final stretch across an open field. The feeling of relief when you hit that field is amazing.
So, I won the race for the 2nd year in a row (still undefeated in ultras!) and I came within a minute of the course record. So....now I have to go back next year. Crap!
Thanks again for all of the support. Every long race has some dark moments, and knowing that everyone was pulling for me really helped.