For whatever reason I just wanted to run a sub 4 hour 50K, and although I’ve done it in training runs before - but never an “official” race so I figure this was a good place to cross this one off the list since I can’t seem to run a good 100. I did have some pretty decent fast training runs in the past few weeks so I figured I’d give this a go. Although this is nothing like I usually run, 0% single track, over 50% on paved trails, it is still fun and felt good to actually motor along at a decent pace and to run rhythmic…is that what I was doing? The first ½ of the course is gently downhill, which was making it tough to not run too fast since I felt like I was fighting myself just trying to stay above 7:00 pace. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the wind was at my back also. I went through 13.1 somewhere around 1:33 something and barely felt like I was running. We turned around shortly after that and I quickly noticed I was on a gentle uphill, and a nice little head wind just for the fun of it. Occasional snowflakes dropping from the sky were much more welcome than rain would have been. The miles were still ticking by semi ok in the 7:15 – 7:25 range but as I passed mile 18 I noticed my quad was starting to tighten up. And when the legs start to tighten the mind usually does some weird thing where time slows down and the miles feel soooo much longer. But really it was fatigue setting in. I’m old. I’m getting slow. That’s life but I still run semi ok for someone just past 40, right? That’s what I tell myself anyway. Besides, I still enjoy it just as much as I ever did. At the mile 21.7 aid station the 50K people had to take a different trail for a short out and back to get all our mileage in, that was a nice little (and I mean little) hill followed by more gentle uphill. Which of course we all got back on the way down. After that it was just try and hit sub 8 minute miles as best as I could and survive to the finish. I made it in 3:56 and some change which equates to about 7:30 per mile per my garmin and the mileage I had. I actually thought I would be somewhere around 3:50. But whatever – it was a fun day running, got lucky with the weather, and it’s not often that I have a sub whatever goal and actually make it. Time to rest up, take some time off, get my knee healthy, and do something else for a (very) short time before it’s back to the single track. Thanks to all the volunteers out there, there were awesome. I would have loved to hang out and talk Tiger Mountain a little longer with them like the girl at mile 21.7 and again after the 50K bonus out and back, but I needed to get the race done before the snow turned into rain. I’m still trying to figure out what to run in 2013. Zion – check. A couple small races. Check. Need something for later in the summer but not sure where I want to go?