Thrashing at the Gold Discovery Run
However, a day later, the most important thing is that not only am I standing I'm walking around and not feeling too bad.
My plan was to just go easy, make a decent effort distance run somewhere between moderate pace and marathon pace. But as race day approached I got to thinking more and more about time and place. And then on Sunday morning it seemed like everyone showed up, the deepest field since I've been here. So I thought what the heck, I'll try for top 5 and maybe a 1:45 or so.
There have been some changes in logistics. They still bring us up to the start in rickety old Salmon Bake buses, but this time they read a two page memo on safety and such before we left and then we sat in the bus for another 20 minutes before the three buses left in a caravan. We got to the start at 8:58, just enough time to strip off the warm ups and do a few minutes of jogging.
And OMG they took it out fast! Usually the pace starts moderate for the first mile, and I've been in the lead group, and it's in the second mile that things bring it up. But upstart runner AJ took it out like a 5K; I caught his mile split in 5:15. He was followed by a pack of five, including Chris Eversman, Matias Saari, Devin McDowell, Tyson Flarharty, and Max Kaufman: the latter two skiers. I was a good 30-40 seconds behind them (6:13), in no man's land with the next group 20 or 30 seconds back.
Nothing to do but look ahead, although I already felt stressed.
It was all okay until a steep downhill at about 4 miles, when my hamstring seized up. I wondered if I'd even make it to the 7 mile feed station. Fortunately, we had a long climb after that the knot worked itself out (but I could feel it the rest of the way).
This was my 5th running (in 10 seasons) of this event and this was by far the muddiest. We probably had six or seven (or eight) large puddles (20 or 30 yards long and a foot or two deep) to circumnavigate, usually by winding through spruce thickets on muskeg paths. Walking basically, or by hanging on alders and side-stepping the puddles hoping not to fall in.
I finally caught Max at 4.5 miles, up the rock overlook, and he hung close through the aid station. Once we got onto the dirt road I was able to open up a bit. But not even half way through and I was feeling it. Onto Gilmore Trail road at 8 or so, I could finally see Tyson who was up by about a minute. Over the next 3 miles I gradually reeled him in, passing at about 11.5 miles. It looked like he was paying for that fast early pace.
After that I probably could have backed down and pulled away comfortably but I decided to try to go pretty hard, to see if I could break Wayde Leder's 2009 time (1:45:38 fastest 50+).
I thought I had a good shot until hitting the 16 miles. But I brought it home to finish in 1:46:25, and 5th place (fastest/deepest top 5 since 2002). So it was a faster/harder effort than planned (who knows what will be left for Santa Claus Half in less than two weeks), and I didn't quite get that 50+ mark; however, the time took off almost 8 minutes from Jim Decur's 2004 best for the 55-59 age group. No complaints.
Meanwhile, Eversman won in 1:34:20, which I think is the 4th fastest time ever on the "new" course (started ca. 2002) on this long-time local race. Moses Waweru ran 1:32:41 in 2004. Saari's 3rd in 1:40:13 is also the 3rd fastest masters time (1:37:45 by Mike Kramer, in 2009).
Among the women, Mellissa Lews ran 1:55:10 to win overall, and I believe that also is a masters record.
(I will be posting up some all time age group listing soon, in the other blog).