Hopefully I can gleam some pictures soon and will add them...
The first wrong turn was early, and I was running with Shawn Bussert with two more a minute or two back, and we all went the wrong way, stopped and tried to figure it out for a couple minutes…then we continued on. A few people got in front of us, but we passed them back right before the tank traps.
The tank traps were interesting to say the least. I can't believe these were actually cleared out. It was a combination of scrambling on all fours through and up a ditch, breaking trail, stopping and looking for the next course marking ribbon, sprinting for 100 yards, repeat for a couple miles. When I first started running through this I was thinking WTF? Seriously we have to run through this crap? I must have been drilled in the shin about 50 times by wayward twigs and logs, my legs are a bit scraped up…but after about 5 minutes of internal whining I really started to enjoy this. I could be running on a boring road instead…but I wouldn't have the memory that this created. It actually got really fun. There were a couple places where we had to duck and crawl through a bunch of trees where the opening was less than two feet. Some of the trees were easily hurdled. Some you needed to climb over. Some you could duck. This was seriously a cool section now that I think of it a couple days later. Right at the end we had to cross a little river / creek. We had to hold a rope so we didn't get washed down the stream if we slipped on the wet rocks - it wasn't really too bad, it was only about 1 foot deep. The water was so cold. I was still with Shawn Bussert at this point, I asked him if he knew how long to the aid station…he tells me 2 miles. After not being able to run for the past couple miles in the tank traps my legs wanted to go…so I start to open up the pace a little, and then see Tony C. a mile or so later. He tells me the aid station is about 2 miles up the forest road. Hmmmm. I dig out my last Power Bar and munch that and run a little easy…keeping the pace around 7:30 while I eat. Shawn and I enter the aid station together.
I fill my bottles and feel good knowing that I have mostly downhill to the finish. I quickly drop the pace to about 6:40 and open a gap on Shawn. I was a little surprised at this because I thought his leg speed was better than mine. But the pace felt easy…so I just kept it going just chilling at sub 7:00 pace. Then there was a climb that seemed to last forever…I didn't remember it from the year before (we did run this part of the course last year) - so again I just tried the keep the legs turning over and tried to stay in the low 8:00's. Whatever my plan was seemed to be working. I knew I had a big gap to 2nd. Then I got to an intersection where I couldn't remember where to go. I was running on forest road…the forest road turned left…pavement started straight ahead. Hmmmm. I stood there for a couple minutes, looked for some arrows painted on the road, didn't see any…so I ran down the forest road for about 1/4 mile looking for ribbons. I didn't see any. Turned around…came back to the intersection and stood there a little longer and tried to think it out. I knew I had to get to the main road..so decided the paved road was the best option to get back. I dropped the pace down to about 6:15 and kept it to the finish. When I got to the main road I tried to see if anyone was behind me…but couldn't see anyone. That felt good. I probably lost a total of 10-12 minutes with the wrong turns in the race, but I didn't really care, it was fun. Total time was 4:47:21
All of the money of this race goes to ALS which is pretty special to me since I lost someone to this stupid ass disease a few years back. My parents match me in the donation, and this is something I can do to help me feel like I'm doing something, and also to remember him, and think of him and know he is not forgotten.