|This was the only pic of race day I have.|
Training for Sylamore went so well this year, I got in quiet a few long runs, and by suggestion of my ultra running doctor I took up daily yoga sessions. Top all that off with a twice a week crossfit work out, I was stronger and lighter than I have ever been. I paid close attention to my hydration and diet. opting for a lower than usual calorie count, I felt light and fresh every morning. For pre race dinner I roasted a chicken with thyme and olive oil, accompanied by a roasted sweet potatoes and a salad of grapefruit and point Reyes blue cheese. Two of my weekend race buddies Jake Edge and Adiel Looney joined me for dinner at the pinewood cabins and offered a nice red wine from Chile. My number 3 and consistent training partner Ben Mansur was long behind and I am not sure how he made it out of bed. I am however very proud of him for pulling out a 6:40 for his first 50k and I think first race period.
On the morning of, I woke about 4:30am and prepared breakfast for Ben and I (egg whites, whole wheat toast with apple butter). after the pre race foot greasing ritual we headed out. We arrived at the anglers restaurant at about 6:30 and hung out and I was anticipating a morning movement. Unfortunate for me it never came and this will go on to haunt me all day. We all lined up at around 5 till 7 checking watches, chit chatting, bouncing nervously awaiting the horn, and then at 7 on the dot, we were off. I am sure we all were thinking the same things (do I have everything?, do I want to do this?, are my shoes tied the way I like, and is that a pain in my groin?). Taking off heading up to the trail head Ben and I were feeling really good trotting along at a slow comfortable pace. Our plan was to make that first 6.4 miles feel like 2 miles. We settled into a group that was run-walking and it was hard to control ourselves from jetting around and flying past the 15 people in the trail conga line. Once we reached Blanchard springs A.S. I asked Ben if he wouldn't mind filling my two water bottles while I give the morning movement one more try. With a little success and Ben waiting right outside door, we were off up the steep climb on the way to gunner pool.
On the way to gunner pool we hike/ran up the hill and then we flew down the opposite side. Staying a course with my hydration and nutrition plan all of this felt flawless. Our Plan was a Power gel and Hammer nutrition electro tab per hour washed down with 2-8oz btls of water. At the aid stations I dined on oranges and Gatorade and a few handfuls of M&M's. It was fueling me just right. Gunner pool had wonderful views of the creek down below and great fast downhill sections. I did not stop to enjoy the view as much as last year because this year I was shooting for a time of 7:30:00 a 30 minute improvement from last year. as we push along, we began passing quite a few people. I also noticed that we were making the aid stations in about 1 hour. this felt really good but a little uncomfortable, seeing as how I felt like shit at this point last year and a race volunteer jokingly let me know that at the turnaround.
once we hit Gunner Pool I was feeling so good. we were at the aid station for about 4 minutes then back on the trail. this was a killer for me last year it seemed like a long slow accent to a rolling section that involved a lot of walking. but not this year we ran 90% of this I was feeling very good minus the stomach discomfort.
once we reached the turnaround I hit the bathroom once more, just in case the sun aligned with the moon but no avail. I filled my water and a handful of M&M's and headed back to the finish. I took long enough in the bathroom to have to catch the 10 people I had lead and caught 3 times before. I was feeling amazing so I took off and pulled off a 6:00 minute pace down into Blanchard springs (thanks to gravity, of course). I felt strong until after I left Blanchard springs where I started to cramp a little due to a miss calculation of my water needs, running out 3 miles before the finish. once I hit the road with 1 mile to go I rallied and pulled off a 7:30 pace all the way across the line for a 6:20:07 finish. 1 hour and 43 minutes better than last year.
I would love to thank all the volunteers for a great race support and Steve Appleton and Greg Eason for putting on a great race yet again. and thanks to all the people who pushed me into this wonderful sport and all the friends who run alongside me and support what I am doing. I have chosen my nest race and I will be running the Terrapin Mountain 50k in Sedalia, VA