It was then time to head off and it was great to have Chris hang out and watch me run around the course. With the blow of a whistle, we were off. I immediately took to the lead and then headed across the little bridge out on Hope Lake and then made the sharp turn straight up a nice steep ski slope. Obviously, I had to gauge my effort and not to sprint up the hill but rather climb rather strong. I felt that my climbing was very good as each effort I made to crest each summit, I had enough in the legs to surge on the flats and then fly down the other sides of the hills. I shot down the first climb then was directed into more trail sections. With all the wet leaves underfoot and some muddy sections, with road racing flats, my grip on the trail was not optimal. I only maybe ran 1k of the race on the road or path rather and the rest on the ski slopes. I had no idea how fast I was running but I did feel I had a nice comfortable fast effort going. I hit another climb then bombed the downhill and then headed out along the bike path. I came through the section so fast I had to stop and ask the race official where to go. Once redirected I headed out on the path waiting to see where I must head next. Then I came near the finish shoot and had the race event directors running to my vicinity to tell me to make a right up another ski slope. This climb was tough. I would say an easy 700ft climb. My pace slowed to a 8min mile as I worked my way up the pitch and then was out along the upper trail sections. I had a few more small climbs to go and looked at my watch as it read 14:34. I am thinking I probably have a half mile to go so I hit another gear through the wet and muddy, leaf-ridden trail sections sprinting all-out. I also thought maybe I was averaging 5:20 or 5:30 miles which would have been a nice tempo effort with the climbing. But no I was wrong! I came out of the trail section and then bombed that same steep up hill climb now as a downhill pitch and then flew into the short finish shoot. I stopped my watch at 15:57.
I averaged 5:08 a mile. I felt great as I hung out with Chris and waited for the awards ceremony.
Thank you to my friends and family, my sponsors: Sierra Designs/Kelty, Karhu/Craft, Patagonia, Acidotic Racing, Ok Runner for helping me on my journey to greatness. I feel that this year is going to be HUGE! I cannot wait for the snowshoe season and I am excited for the summer trail season and spring marathon season as well. Bring it on NY.
Some Wonderful photos from the race. Thank you Tim Hannah