Weird things can happen when a race has 50 or fewer people.
Earlier this year, I ran a half marathon that had about 30 people in it. I came in 5th... and, actually, had I not run a full the day before, I'm pretty sure I would have come in about 3rd.
And then there are days like today. 20 people. And I was at the caboose end. Actually, no. I was the guy you see in the movies trying to chase down the caboose end because he missed (or got kicked off) the train. Go watch Silver Streak. I'll wait.
Since I had traveled all the way from Kona back to Seattle for a Sunday race, I decided to do another race on Saturday. It was a low-key affair put on to raise funds for a local cross-country team... called the "Lake Youngs Fund Run", it was a series of 9.6 mile loops around... wait for it... Lake Youngs. I did 3 loops, or 28.8 miles. I'm calling it my first ultra because it was longer than 26.2 - but obviously it was a baby ultra.
People could do anywhere from 1-4 loops and many opted out after 2... which made my DFL more of a surprise (I thought others were behind me, but they were back home eating ice cream because they bailed).
Ah, the lake. Although the trail goes around the perimeter, you only get a peekaboo view for about 10 yards. You do not see the lake for the rest of journey. At all. You do get to see deer. And at about M17, a doe and her fawn were on the trail staring me down. I even thought she was charging me, but really she was just looking for the closest way off the trail - which happened to be between me and her. But for a second, my brain fog caused me to go on ohmygoshwhatdoIdonow alert. Good times.
Brain fog. See, yesterday and today happen to be the two hottest days of the year here in Seattle. And while 85 degrees with high humidity may not be hot compared to where YOU live, it's damn hot for a race - even for island boy. And while you get to see some deer and no lake, you also get to experience some interesting hills. Certainly not the hilliest race I've done this year (Leadville in the insane category, Seafair in the sane category), but plenty challenging.
We had one aid station at the end of each loop. Knowing this ahead of time, I geared up. Darth Runner would have been proud of my fuel belt (2 bottles, but the bigger bottles... w/ water), gel flask, electrolyte tablets, and hand-held bottle w/ perpetuem. I think I would have done better with a camelbak full of beer.
After the race, I counted... I drank 100oz during this race, and didn't pee once. I drank 160oz including what I've had after the race. Still no output to go with that input.
My time? It doesn't really matter... I want to be a 4:30 50k-er, and based on my normal marathon time I think I probably am... but I ran this 28.8 at a "crisp" 5:10. Yikes!
And I'm pretty sure that I came in last. Which, oddly enough, is currently sitting in my mind as AWESOME . I didn't run fast *and*, like I said up at the top, weird things happen in a race with less than 50 people. This one had 20. Fast people.
Don't worry, reader, you don't need to provide me any sympathy. It was AWESOME.
As far as I know, there were only two of us who are also running a marathon tomorrow . I had to hold back.
But the other person? She ran four loops (38.4 miles). Then again, she's currently ranked by Trail Runner Magazine as the #1 female trail runner in the nation, per their race points system. Her name is Van Phan, she goes by the nickname of "Pigtails", and she kicks ass.
(*** Ok, in total fairness, this is really my second DFL. But my first one came in a race where I stopped to help a very sick young woman. This one I did for myself!)And then the next day...
I ran a 2 1/2 year PW road marathon today. It was actually a pretty easy course, though boring. Out-and-back done twice.
It was also 75 and humid at the start, and over 90 for the last two hours I was out there. At the finish line, the temperature was 96. Island Boy likes warm, but this was rough even for me.
I ran a 4:30. FWIW, I am currently a 3:40ish marathoner on a normal weekend (normal to me: 65 degrees, one race per weekend).
4:30, but I wasn't last. There were lots of folks still out there.
To put that in perspective, this was my slowest time since an ugly 4:37 at Marine Corps in 2004. That day was hot too.
1. It was only, probably, 75 and humid at Marine Corps.
2. I hadn't run 29 miles the day before.
3. I had only run 9 marathons in 2004 prior to MCM in October.
Today was my 26th of the year (by July). And my "regular" times are 30-40 minutes faster than they were in 2004.