After about 5 minutes of picking up the pace, I still hadn't dropped my new companion and solo competitor, Todd Stewart, and he apparently thought this would be an excellent section to pick up the pace as well. Only problem was that when he elevated the pace, I couldn't hold on his shoulder and lost the will to chase him down. Long story short, he broke me, and I broke HARD.
This was the third weekend of hard racing in a row for me and I'm gonna be honest with you, when I saw Todd go, I knew I wouldn't be able to catch him and I turned off the "after burners" I put it in damage control mode and I cruised in to finish the 2nd loop. I was hurting and not willing to put myself in pain by chasing him down. I was tired and this was the week after a rest week in my training and I SHOULDN'T have been tired, but I'd spent my rest week RACING the Muddy Sneaker and not properly recovering. To boot, I'd also gone out drinking with my bro in law Dave and a former co-worker on Wednesday night to Tap and Mallet and hadn't really caught up on my sleep. All this was running thru my head in the middle of the woods and I was losing concentration on the race I was running. Not good...
Loop 3 came with a bang and I'll have to be honest, I had proverbially put on the brakes on this race and was just getting thru it. The big scare came when about midway thru the 3rd loop, I looked over my shoulder and saw someone behind me gaining fast. I got scared that it was a friend of mine, Alan, and didn't want to get passed by him so I was forced to pick up the pace.
I was hauling over the last few miles, but this guy just kept on gaining. Even though there were relays all over the place, I still figured I was in the top 3. We hit a large, VERY steep hill at about 0.5 miles from the finish line and it's one that's so steep that you need to powerwalk or scramble just to get up it. I could hear this guy coming and by now I knew it wasn't Alan, but I still didn't want to get passed so close to the line! I was powerwalking and I could hear his breathing coming closer and closer. I made it to the top in front of him, but it wasn't long after that I got BLOWN by. I was exhausted. I made my way to the finish line and split the clock in 1:46 which was signifigantly slower than last year, but still good for 2nd overall in the solo division!
I was pooped as you can see by the picture above. That's me looking fairly exhausted and slumped over after crossing thru the finish arch. It was nice though, we had an excellent bbq cookout that is put on by the race afterwards and it's catered, which makes it extra good. Awards were quick and I came away with a nice gift certificate to the presenting store, a pair of North Face socks and a full belly from the cookout. Good times. This race is always a good one if you're going "best bang for your buck" and this year was no exception. I will try to do this one as many times as it fits my schedule. This week brings another big week in prep for the Buffalo Half Marathon at the end of the month. The goal there is to be sub 1:20 which is lofty, so we'll see. Until then folks, I'll see you all out on the roads/trails. Cheers!