Happy New Year folks...2011 is here and what better way to bring in the new year than running a mega fatass! I'm still not quite sure what makes the event "Mega" but it may have something to do with the longer-than-normal distance of 34 miles (although it was more like 37!), or the uncharacteristic-to- "fatass" organization of timers, search and rescue, volunteers, and post race buffet of food. Regardless John Pearch and friends put a lot of time and effort into this early season event that I have participated in the last two years now. Huge thanks to you all and great seeing you again!
Last year I got double whammied at this run. First... I led the "race" for 28 miles only to take a wrong turn just before the finish. By the time I got back on course I ended up in 3rd place. No biggie but a little deflated...then I eventually got to my phone and checked my messages. My wife left a voicemail saying that our storage unit had gotten broken into and both of our nice road bikes were stolen! I was hoping for a better day in 2011.
Justin Angle and I agreed before the run that we would stick together and use it as an "aggressive training run". It was nice to be back in the Capitol Forest and at 7am yesterday as it was getting light out I looked around the parking lot and felt the energy that accompanies the start of an ultra. I also realized what a funny and strange breed of athletes we are as ultra trail runners! All the funny looking outfits, gear, gaiters, all the while rubbing body glide over our bodies and taping up our nipples.
So for the run that was not considered really to be a race...yeah right!....We started off the with the 17-milers and a pack of Justin Angle, Nick Triolo, Jacek, Seth, and myself all took off with probably a hundred people behind us. We all got to know each other a little better and caught up after the holidays and talked about plans for this upcoming year. Eventually things started to separate, the 17-milers turned back, and the climbs started getting steeper. At one point Seth surged way ahead of Justin and I and Jacek kind of dropped off the back. Justin and I ran the next 12-15 miles together up, down, and around Capitol Peak. We were moving at a pretty steady pace and wondered where Seth disappeared to. This was his first ultra run as he is preparing for an Ironman.
Around mile 28 or so I saw Seth in a clear-cut area and I guess my competitive nature and animalistic pursuit instincts came out. I pulled away from Justin and went screaming downhill after Seth. It was just a matter of time before I caught him and passed him although he was still looking pretty strong. The last section of the run was different from previous years and definitely added a little distance. That's fine by me but it was a real mental challenge. I kept thinking that Angle was going to come up behind and nip me just like he did last April in the 50-miler!
I finished with a time of 4:51 and felt great about getting a solid run like that under my belt this early in the season. Course conditions were pretty sloppy in some areas but for the most part pretty ideal. Warm, light rain here and there. No serious wind or snow up top of the peak and according to Justin's Suunto altimeter we climbed 5,800 feet over the course of about 37 miles...not bad!
Great to see everyone and sorry I had to leave so soon....A four month old at home has changed things for me a bit but good to see some folks out on the trails and before the run, etc. The results will probably be posted HERE sometime soon. I guess third time is a charm for me in Capitol Forest and hope this is a good omen for another solid year!
(Justin Angle and I catching our breath after a long day of running! photo: NarrowsBridgerunningclub)