By far one of the most challenging race I have ever done. I went into this thinking it was just another 13.1 mile race and I would breeze right through like it was another training run. WRONG! The first 3 miles went straight up to a peak of a mountain, topping out with a 1500 ft elevation gain! I was able to run most of it, but had to walk on several occassions as the legs and lungs were burning. I averaged 11:20 miles going up.
Right from the start I found myself in 4th, as I climbed, me another runner exchanged positions from 3rd-4th as we were forced to walk occassionally. This allowed for another runner to come up and overtake us, but as he pulled away, he was also forced to walk. I continued to exchange position with this guy, while also keeping 3rd place in sight, until we got to the top. I checked in at the first aid station at the 3.5 mile mark in 5th place. 3rd n 4th had pulled about a 100 ft lead by that point. They stopped for water at the station after checking in, and then took off. I checked in and took off, cutting that 100 ft deficit completely(I already had a water bottle in hand). I thought with the climb out of the way, I should be able to pass them and pull away going down hill! SOOOO not the case. In fact once we started the descent they were pulling away from me. I couldn't keep up and I was pushing my pace as hard as I could! I was flying down the mountain and my next 5 miles coming down were 8:18, 7:17, 6:55, 7:14, 7:47, and they were still running faster miles.
During mile 6, the one I ran a 6:55, was obviously where the steepest descent was. I was running fast trying to catch 3rd and 4th and all of sudden, the ground almost dropped out from underneath me! It took a dive bomb and I had flail my arms and sprint down this sudden descent to keep my balance. All the while shouting curses! haha I almost bit the dust, literally!
I never caught them, but pulling up to mile 8 I was still happy that I may finish 5th overall. I took a quick peak over my shoulder and they're was 6th place coming. He would catch me by the time we got to the aid station at mile 9. The trail afterwards turned into road and I was able to hang with him for a time. At least, until the road turned back into a trail and up more hills. My tank was running low at this point and I couldn't go with him.
By mile 11, I hit my last aid station and check point. I was hurting. The check point was in a camper site and I couldn't find the trail that led back to the finish line. I spent 3-4 min trying to figure it out until I ran into a spectator that was nice enough to point me in the right direction. The last 2 miles were hilly and painful. I finally finished, Exhausted and sore with a final time of 2:04:01 (unofficially). Meaning I might have broken 2 hours if I hadn't gotten lost! Bummer! The course record was a 1:48. I probably wouldn't of been able to break that, but coming within 12 minute of a course record would of been nice to be able to brag about! haha