Our alarms went off at 0515 and it was cold in the morning, but at least there wasn't any wind to make things worse. I went over to the pavilion to check in, customary for all LUS/Beast Series races, and got a little breakfast together before getting my race gear situated. My nutrition plan was the same as before, try to get in 200-250 kcal/hr. I did this with one bottle of Vitargo (800 kcal), two shots of EFS (400 kcal each), two Vespa (one before the race and the other 3.5 hrs into the race), and one XS energy shot. My goal was to finish in 6:45, which would be much faster then last year but I ran through a hip injury, so I made myself a pace card that had my projected splits as well as elevation gain/loss to each aid station to carry with me during the race. This turned out to be a huge advantage as I knew how much climbing I had and it helped me know where I could push myself.
|Start line with Terrapin Mt in the background|
|mountain road going down to Hunting Creek AS (surprised there wasn't more snow)|
The smooth mountain road continued downhill for another mile before turning into a paved road for a mile which lead to the Geoff Mt Road AS. Again, I was content with running a smooth and comfortable pace while resisting the urge to go with the other few runners who passed me. I cruised into the Geoff Mt Road AS in 1:43 and quickly filled my water bottle and grabbed a banana all in under thirty seconds.
I walked up the gravel road and made sure to relax as I was taking in my Vitargo and banana. Once I finished my banana I was feeling so good I decided to put my climbing training to work and began to run up the gravel road. This was a nice and gradual 1150' climb which I ran eighty percent and walked the other twenty. It was a reoccurring theme of the day, run how you feel. I then started to pass people for the first time in the race and I noticed many of these runners where the same who passed me coming down Terrapin Mt. The gravel road finally led to some nice single track trail and little bit of downhill as I made it back to Hunting Creek Road AS in 2:33.
The weather was still overcast at this point in the race and I was still taking my ear warmers on and off, as well as my Moeben sleeves when I began to sweat a lot. The next section was the one I vividly remember because it kick my butt last year, so this year I was determined to run/walk up this 1300' climb faster then last year. I would run for five minutes then walk two minutes, I continued this strategy all the way back up to Camping Gap AS (for the second time). Along the way I chatted with a few runners and we each gave encouraging words as I passed. That was one thing of pride for me on this section and the previous, no one passed me during either section. All that vertical training with Preston was really starting to pay off, the other thing I noticed was that running the hills wasn't easy but it wasn't difficult either, it just felt good. It was nice to see that my new training is beginning to show some results, but there was still many miles to go and many more climbs ahead. I entered Camping Gap AS, for the second time, in 3:16.
|jeep road climbing up White Oak Ridge|
|climb up Terrapin Mt to the overlook and Fat Man's Misery|
|Fat Man's Misery (FMM)|
I didn't remember this section very well from last year, but we had a 900' climb out of the aid station towards the finish line. The sun finally made it's way out as I was walking up a steep section when I finally caught Siobhan, it was cool chatting with her about what she has been up to and vice versa. We caught another ten runners during this climb and we were even running half of the climbs which I though was good considering I was still feeling decent. We made our way back to the first jeep road we hit early in the race and dashed across a stream crossing as me made our final push to the finish. Siobhan is a tough runner and she was moving well on the downhills so she crept ahead of me, I was still running sub 11mpm, but I couldn't hang. A few other runners passed me during the last two miles but I didn't want to die so I just kept doing my thing. Finally I made it to the paved road and knew I had less then a mile to go. I came across the finish line in 6:27:31. I asked Clark if my elbow was a candidate for best blood and he looked at it and laughed and said it wasn't even close, hahaha. I then asked if I embarrassed myself by asking the question and he smiled and said "a little". Hahaha, thanks for not crushing me too hard Clark.
I was really happy with my performance and posted a huge PR on this course (1.5 hour faster, but again I had a hip injury during last year's race). Justin, Ben, my Dad, and I hung around the finish line and watched Jon finish before we all got our fill of post race food and got back to the car to break down our campsite. I am excited about Promise Land coming up at the end of April, I think with a little more effort and training I might be able to get it done in under seven hours. Now it's time to get back to training. A huge thanks to Clark Zealand and the volunteers that helped out this past weekend. This is a must do race if you like a early Spring challenge to see where your fitness is.
Here are some pictures from the race.
Shoes: Hoka One One Stinson Evo
Hydration: (2) UltrAspire handheld bottles with UltrAspire Spry Race vest
Shorts: Zensah compressions shorts
Shirt: Under Armour base, Tech running shirt, Moeben Sleeves, Mountain Hardware Momentum gloves, Buff ear warmer, Patagonia Houdini
See ya on the trails,