Well, it just wasn't my day. I know anything can happen in a race but I was sure hoping for more. I got to the start in time this year which was a plus. I dropped off my drop bags and began to focus on my 3rd running of the race. Once again my goal was 11:30 and I really thought I could do this. To put it in perspective, the winner finished in 8:05.
I lined up next to my buddy Phil and the race began. I wanted to get off the bike path ahead of a lot of runners in order to be in good shape at the beginning on the dirt trail and climb. I settled in behind Tom and Kacey. As we hit the dirt I felt like I put myself in a good spot not to get stuck behind too many people on the first climb. After a stop to take care of a wardrobe malfunction I was off again. I decided not to look at my split card until AS #6. I didn't want to put any added pressure on myself and just wanted to run according to how comfortable I felt. I felt strong early on and just tried to keep on top of my nutrition. I was hoping for a little cooler temps and even a little sprinkle during the day but no luck. I came into AS #5 and knew I needed to run Hobble Creek road in order to have a realistic shot at my goal. In the two prior years I walked almost if not all of the road. I HATE running on roads! I ran about 90% of it this year and was pleased with the effort. I got to AS#6 and checked my split card for the first time. I was 2 minutes off my projected pace. At that point I was psyched. Last year I felt I had a great second half of the course and looked forward to getting it on again. I left 6 and about 15-20 minutes later, all hell broke loose. It started with my Achilles. It felt great all day and I hadn't even thought about it but I got some good pain and then what I would describe as "spasms". I sat on a rock to assess what was going on. I rubbed my Achilles for about 5 minutes and began to push up the dirt road. Out of nowhere my stomach turned south. I decided to walk ab it to see if I could gather myself. I knew by going this slow I would need to push somewhere else along the way. I hit AS#7 and still wasn't feeling that great. I looked forward to leaving 7 because I love this section of the course. Fortunately/unfortunately it lasted long enough this year to enjoy it. I came into 8 and knew I couldn't stay long. I grabbed my drop bag, reloaded and off I went. After the endless climb I got into a little groove and ran the single track do the bottom of Windy Pass. It looked like a death march up the mountain and I was next. Half way up I came across a guy who decided 2- 10 ounce water bottles were going to be enough for him. SURPRISE- it wasn't. He was in pretty bad shape so I gave him some of mine and kept on going. As I was going through the bowl on Windy there was another guy just shivering on the side of the trail. I gave him my gloves and arm warmers in hopes that would help. As I got into AS #9 a few other runners already notified the volunteers about the dude shivering on the mountain so they grabbed a blanket and went after him (I hope he was okay, I never heard anymore about him- you can keep the clothes though). I left 9 knowing my goal was out of reach and could only think about my wife and kids waiting for me to show up at 10. Poor family waited along time. I bombed down the mountain and before I got to 10 I saw my 2 kids and my sister. What a rush! I then saw my wife who took pictures of her ego broken husband. I limped into 10 and spent a few minutes with the family before heading down the final 3+ miles of road. I HATE road! With about a mile and a half to go, my wife jumped out of the car and paced me the rest of the way. Boy did that ever help. Without her I wouldn't have gotten my PR. I would have probably walked it in-Thanks honey! As like the 2 years past, I met my 2 beautiful girls and we crossed the line together. 12:26:44. YIKES! Not real happy about it but hey- what can I do about it now. Overall I am disappointed in the result. Yes I got a PR but my time was less than stellar. No excuses- I just didn't have it on this day. My littlest one said' "what took you so long", my response- "it just wasn't daddy's day". No excuses, the mountain beat me down.
It was great to see so many friends and family at the finish. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many great people. Thank you all for your support and friendship. Congrats to all those who ran- too many people to mention. Congrats to Corky Esquivel for a PR of 13 hours- good luck at Wasatch this September. A huge congrats to Scott Jaime- 1st place in 8:05 and 8th fastest time ever. Way to go Fast Eddy! You deserve it!
It's too early to break down what went wrong/right but I am sure I will figure some things out. Prediction for 2010- under 11 hours! No question. Squaw Peak is already my focus race for next year. Race results are not up yet but I will post the link soon.