Time: 9:37:38 (99/267 AG, 325/1070 overall)
I wasn't sure what to expect being my first 50 miler. I knew I was properly trained to finish. The question was whether I would hit my target goal of 9:00. I haven't been running really long distances for very long. My first ever marathon and 50k were in March 2007. I struggled a lot at the end of each of those. I did not do any back to back long runs and I think that was what did me in - running 20-25 miles in one day pretty much spent me even though my pace was a lot slower than marathon pace.
The day started about 5:00 am. Got to the race area in time to use the porta potty and hear the race meeting information - nothing real important there. Then you had to walk 1k to the start. I geared up with my fluids, gels and bars and off we went to the start. Got there with 5 minutes to spare. They started at exactly 7:00 am as they said they would. I was near the back of the pack pretty much as I planned so I wouldn't go blasting out trying to keep up with the real fast folks. Walked up the Rt 40 hills with eveyone else. Then we turned onto the AT - well it was more like another road. A 3 mile paved section after a short stint in the woods that went up and up and up - this was the longest steepest part of the race (at least it felt like it). Then at the top of mountain, we got back onto the trails for another 3-4 miles that pretty much was downhill till we got to Gathland. After Gathland there was an up hill and then a section of about a mile or so that was very rocky. I am used to the trails and rocks so I must have passed at least 100 people on this section. My fastest miles of the day were through this part. The last 2 miles on the AT were downhill ending with a one mile section of switch backs.
Then came the C&O canal. I hit the canal with an 11:11 ave. I thought that's not too bad for the woods - there's a chance I can eek out my goal. Then those 100 or people I passed in the woods started passsing me. They were doing 9-10/min miles while was trying to stay under 11:00. I lowered my average to 11:00 at mile 25, kept it till the rest stop at 28. Still felt ok, but I knew holding that pace was going to be hard. I had started to the walk run thing for several miles and continued it till the end. My worst miles were 31-37. I always have trouble with the tale end of the mddle third of any race. I was properly hydrated and was eating soup/gels/potatoes/bacon/supplements the whole time so that was never a problem. The pain started setting in around mile 40. The last 10 miles were like the last 3-4 of a marathon. Mentally getting off that C&O canal was good, although it didn't last long seeing the runners way ahead around the bends in the road.
The final 4 miles were torture. I was running about 1-2 minutes, walking 15-20 seconds. I tried not to walk much longer as I wasn't sure if I would be able to start again. Many peopl passed me, then I'd pass then back. This went on till the very end when most took off and I just couldn't muster up the energy to move faster. I ran the etire last mile and finished strong (it's relative). Was very happy it was over. Finished in 9:37:38, 11:30 miles.
Had a 15 minute massage, ate some food, got a shower - that was nice!! Felt ok until I got in the car for an hour and tightened up. It was a hard night sleep with every muscle in my legs throbbing. Overall, a great experience. It was needed to see what it felt like to do an exercise for almost 10 hours straight. Next big one will be the ironman.