Finally the start to my race season!! All those hard training months in the winter are finally going to be put to good use! We drove the motorhome down to Mohican and stayed right at the State Park. That evening we got our race packets and then headed back to the motorhome to eat dinner. I had time to get all my gear together for the run in the morning.
Finally race morning is here and I'm not nervous, uptight or anxious. I was ready to begin the day!! I was confident that I would accomplish the goals I had set. I ate breakfast, had a cup of coffee and was ready to set out for the start line. It was a chilly 32* but, that was perfect for me. Brian had decided that he would wait at the motorhome until it was closer to his race time. I kissed him goodbye, said good luck and headed out the door. When I got to the start line things were already in full swing and you could feel the excitement in the air. I was there just in time for the pre race meeting. Soon after we were off......
The day begins!!
I decided to start in the middle of the pack. I was not bolting down the road, just relaxed and running easy. It wasn't long before we were hitting the trail and starting our upward climb. I hit the trail running and never stopped until I reached the first aid station. Hmmm.... last year I didn't even make it halfway up and was already walking. I was keeping it easy, it was work but it always takes me a few miles to get into a groove. The first aid station was fun (as always) they had a theme, this year it was Alice in Wonderland and I will say very well done! I grabbed food and hightailed it out of there.
Now I was in a rhythm and everything was starting to feel good. It didn't seem as if I had been running long and I was already at the covered bridge. I was headed for my favorite part!!! This is the section I always feel a sense of adventure! Climbing up the root ladder is so much fun for me. Once I was through that I was set on getting to the Resort where the next aid station was. Last year this section was so muddy, people were slipping, sliding and falling down. This year the trail was dry and I was just cruising along. Before I started the race I had written a time on my hand to see how I was doing. Was I on target?? Was I ahead or behind? As I pulled out of the aid station I looked down at my hand, good! Right where I should be! On the way back to the purple loop I was pumped to get to the falls! But, once I got there I was slightly slowed up by a couple of guys that wanted to take their pictures while descending into the falls! Grr... Come on guys! THis is a race and I'm kinda in a hurry, this isn't a photo session! Once I made thru there I cruised back to the covered bridge. On the way there I noticed that another girl and I had been running fairly close together all day. We stuck together the rest of the way. While talking I found out that she is also from Michigan and this was her first ultra! Getting to the Fire Tower is alot of power hiking. Time was going by rather fast since I was chatting it up with my new found friend. When I made it to Fire Tower a friend working the aid station as promised had some potato soup waiting for me. My new friend, Jen asked me if I just ate soup. YEP! and it was so good! I thanked the aid station workers as we high tailed it out of there headed for covered bridge a final time. Talking a cruising along made for the miles to go by rather quickly!
As we came into covered bridge, I was in a hurry to get to the finish line. I basically was in and out knowing the finish was not much further! Somehow Jenn was no longer in tow so it was a quiet go. But, I motored along. It wasn't long I was alone maybe at most a mile ad Jenn's cheery voice was behind me! I knew there was a nasty hill climb just before the finish and I warned Jenn of this before we got there. Jenn was also a huge help for me! I started walking during a flat section. She commented to me "Why are you walking when you should be running?" Okay, Okay I started running and didn't give in. This is when the competitive part of me kicked in. I started picking people in front of me to catch! And I was! Jenn hung with me until we hit the last hill climb. I'm a good power hiker. Jenn knew I could easily out power hike her so she told me to go get em! And I did! Not giving in until I crested the top of the hill! Once at the top it was all downhill from there and I was cruising to the finish, still passing people! I crossed the finish in 6:22 which was a huge PR for me!! Last year I ran a 6:52 so to say the least, my hard training has paid off, big!!! I did razz the race director when I crossed the finish line about my huge PR!!
Now it's time to focus on Ice Age 50k and see what happens there!