Joking aside, it was a painful yet rewarding experience. My back had been acting up all week, so I was nervous about even being able to race. Thank the blogosphere for keeping me honest. I told millions (6 followers really) that I was going to race no matter how bad I was feeling. As I paid my 25 dollars, I thought to myself that this could be my worse purchase since the boglin incident.
I did a 2 mile warmup. I was embarrassed. I limped the entire 2 miles. I couldn't run faster than 9 minute pace. Accordingly, I lined up in the middle third at the starting line. I was behind about 100 runners. I debated going further in back, figuring I would be lucky to run 70 minutes. I ended up being right next to Boj's friend Dave. We compared bad back stories, and I started to realize that no one ever feels great at the start of a race. I have to admit that Dave's good energy made me quit feeling sorry for myself.
The gun went off and I immediately started getting passed. I saw a woman get leveled right in the center of the main pack within 20 yards of the start. I guess she dropped her keys and decided it would be a good idea to stop and grab them. Ouch! I passed Pard right before we entered the single track. I told him to have fun. Once we hit the single track, I realized I felt a little looser and I was stuck behind slower runners. I weaved my way past about 5 runners before we got to the campground. In the open spaces of the campground, I passed Dave. He gave me encouragement as I focused on passing more runners before things narrowed again.
Back on single track, I focused on Tommy and Dan whom both work with Jonny. They were moving at a good clip, and I knew from Jonny's blog that they had both put in some solid training. I passed them both, just to have Dan pass me and Tom sit on my shoulder. We were right together as we hit halfway in 29:40-29:50. I got a little fired up at the road. I knew both my wife and my mother would be there to cheer for me, and I knew they were both nervous that I was going to look like I was in a lot of pain. I decided to pick up the pace as I hit the pavement. As I cruised up the road, I decided I was going to run tough the whole way.
I passed about a half dozen runners in the section up to the road. Looking back, I'm really pleased with the way I raced through this tough, uphill section. Finally, I hit the road in 51 minutes and change. I wasn't sure if I was going to break an hour. I grimaced and tried to roll down Kings Factory. I kept looking at my watch. I hadn't raced here in so long, that I had no clue how long it took to get to the finish. I passed someone on the little uphill on Prosser Trail, just to have that same runner pass me back once it started going downhill. He urged me to keep running fast which helped me stay tough. My body just can't go fast down hill; its too crippled. He opened up a ten second gap. I turned the corner, saw the clock was in the 57's, and I gave a fist pump. It felt good to break an hour in a race I wasn't even sure I could finish when I registered. I ended up with a 57:26 and 44th place. I'll take it!