|Most of the Huntsville running crew at the start of the SJ40.|
Ryan Chaffin was kind enough to agree to pace me and we headed to Wartrace, TN very early Saturday morning. We almost didn't make it as transmission and tire issues almost cut this road trip short, but we got lucky. We arrived in Wartrace with 30 minutes to spare. The place was already busy with excitement. You'll see and meet lots of exceptional ultra runners at this event and this year was no different. Just check out the race results on Ultrasignup and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Physically, I was feeling fine today, but I had had some early morning stomach troubles requiring multiple bathroom stops before the race even started. I popped a couple of Immodium just to be safe. However, those issues probably affected my pre-race hydration just a little bit.
I decided to go out very conservatively, shooting for a sub 6 hour finish. I felt that I should be able to do that without going too deep into the well. Well, I was wrong:-) I managed to hold my target pace until the marathon distance, then things fell apart very quickly. Once again, my mind was ready to call it a day. What the what? Two weekends in a row? Come on! Get your sh!t together! You better not let Ryan hear that, he'll kick your @$$. Sure enough, any suggestion of backing off or even quitting was quickly snuffed out by Ryan when I saw him next. Alrighty then, it's not going to be pretty, but I'm not going to DNF my freakin' birthday run. After all, I also had big dinner plans and still needed to work up the appropriate appetite:-)
|Mid race with a goofy smile.|
By the time I had reached "The Walls", I was already done. Ryan provided some a needed pep talk and ice before I entered this section. I managed to get through the walls relatively well, but I had no gears left. It was first gear all the way to the finish, which meant sloooooow. I did enjoy the race, but I had had higher hopes in regards of my finish time. At the end, I got a narrow course PR and sometimes that just has to be good enough. I'm still early in my training cycle and I am keeping my eyes on the prize (UTMB). Another year, another birthday, another birthday run complete. I had even more fun hanging out at the finish with the entire Huntsville crew, enjoying pickles and an ice cold beverage to boot:-)
|Crossing the finish line at SJ40 for the third time.|