Race day came and I was mentally psyched. I stood there, in the rain, waiting for the start amongst 165 others. I couldn't help to feel a huge sense of pride because I knew I had to be the only guy there running to bowhunt. I thought of all the hours and miles I had logged in prep for the race. Honestly, it gave me chills.
7am and as the race started I stuck with my strategy. I let people go a bit and hit Jori and O for my first aid station around mile 6 in just under 54 minutes. By the way, a huge thanks to Jor and O for sticking it out in the rain, waiting for hours to see me run up, grab a few items, mutter I love you, and take off. You're both awesome and as I have said before, I could not do what I do without the you!
I hit the turn around (Pine Lane) at 2:24 which was right on pace. As I left I knew it was going to be close. I kept telling myself over and over "this is where the race is won". I had no time to waste and each and every minute on the return 16 miles was going to count and I knew it. I hit Jor and O again at 20 miles, grabbed what I needed and headed off. 11 miles left and I was still feeling strong. As I rolled into the last and final aid station (Snowville) at 25 I looked down at my watch....I had exactly 1hr and 7 minutes to finish. If I could hold it together I was going to do it.As I left the Snowville aid station and I was on my own. Usually by this time in the race folks are spread out quite a bit and its just you, the trail, and your mind. And this is why I feel this is such great prep work for the hunt. Being by myself, in pain both physically and mentally, struggling to keep focused, is exactly how I like it. It's a test. It's all about you. There's no time for quit and no second chances. With your back against the wall you have to give all you have, every minute, every step.
I pushed harder as I covered the last few miles. As I made the 6 mile trek from Snowville to Oak Grove I thought a lot about life, family, bowhunting, and how much I had to break 5 hours. There was no way I was going to let 4hrs and 30mins of tooth and nail running go to the pot because I couldn't keep it together for another 20 minutes. I had to do it. Failure was not an option.
In the end I made it and crossed the line at 4:56:20, good enough for 19th out of 165. Not too shabby and a real step closer in the prep to the 50 miler on August 28, and the elk hunt in September. Details on the 50 miler can be found here.....prep coming soon.