Starting the run I had my PowerGels on my race belt and in my side pockets. I was down a couple but I could easily pick them up at the aid stations where I would be getting my water.
I tried to be very conservative for the opening miles. My inner quads started to cramp on the bike and I needed to loosen them up before trying to squeeze out any speed.
Two years ago when I did the HalfRev I had gone too hard on the bike and cramped up bad. In 2010 I spent some time at the first aid station walking out the cramps and taking salt tablets.
This year I was able to cruise right by the aid station while calming down the quads. I was going to stop and take a pee but I saw someone duck into the port-o-potty and another was in line. As I ran past the last volunteer I saw several other guys heading towards to tall grass to relieve themselves. I was fine for the time being and kept on trucking along.
At the mile markers I pressed the split button of my watch but didn't look at my time. I just wanted some data to look at after the race. I was going to race by perceived exertion. Just like I've ran all year I would find an effort I felt I could hold the entire distance. Only problem was that this would be my longest race distance of the year and there were mile markers telling me how much I had left to run.
Between miles 2 and 3 Mark finally passed me with a smack on my butt. He was moving at a great pace and was by me in seconds. There was no way I could stick with him and not pay for it dearly in the later miles. I had to let him go and stick with my own strategy.
Nutritionally I was taking a PowerGel every other mile and water at all aid stations. The PowerGels keep me mentally aware of the race and what I am doing. Without proper nutrition on the run I turn in to a zombie just going through the motions.
I did my fair share of passing people but was also passed by some people much faster. But I held my own, raced my race and thanked the volunteers when I could.
For the first three miles I was averaging a 7:40 pace. In hindsight that was probably too fast but that is what felt comfortable at the time. For these longer races, half and full, I may need to pay attention to my watch a little closer and control my efforts.
At some point during the first half of the run I couldn't stand the loaded bladder and didn't want to bother with a pot-o-potty. For the second time this year I peed
during the run while running. At the next aid station I grabbed some water and dumped it on my legs. It felt good to have an empty bladder again.
Right before mile 6 I approached Daly's Pub and saw the CTC crew setting up their corner of the patio to cheer the runners. They saw me and started cheering. I saw them and headed towards them to get some high fives. One person I was glad to see was an old teammate Adam. I haven't seen him in a long time and it was great to get a high five and some encouraging words from him.
I continued on my way and got back on pace. At this point I was going to start picking up the pace but my legs had different ideas for me. My right calf decided it was a good time to start cramping.
I was maintaining a good 8 minute pace but certainly some dehydration over the course of the day had seeped in. I shortened my stride to prevent a full blown cramp from developing and had some good self talk with the calf in question.
I just told my muscles to relax and we would get through this with very little problems. I was still cognizant about my surroundings and encouraged those athletes around me that I knew. I passed my Hood to Coast teammate Steve. He said he was hurting but I told him to control the pain and push through it. He eventually placed in his Clydesdale division.
My calf tried to cramp on me no less than five times during the last half of the run. But I fought through it. There were several times I thought I would be forced to walk but I didn't. I saw Mandie, 1 Puma, on her run and yelled that she was looking good.
I also saw Ginny near the 3 mile aid station. She was three miles into her run and I was three miles from finishing mine. I still managed to cross over and give her a high five, despite almost crashing into a volunteer.
I loved seeing my teammates and friends on the course. We managed to give each other a mutual exchange of energy to boost our spirits and lighten our stride.
With about 1.5 miles to go we cross over a bridge which is the largest elevation gain/loss of the entire run. It's only about 20 feet but near the end of the run it feels much steeper and taller than that. I was gaining on the person ahead of me and I would make the pass near the top of the bridge. Despite his compression socks I could tell he was in me age group. I made what felt like a solid pass and pushed myself to widen the gap between us.
The calf was screaming at me some more but I kept a steady breathing pattern that allowed me to control the pain. Only one more mile to go.
Mike took this picture of me at my finest. I was grunting my way to the finish line. I passed a couple more people before entering the final gated chute.
There was an opening in the fence for relay teammates to join their runner to the finish line and I saw some familiar faces as they cheered for me. Right before the passing under the inflatable arch I saw Aimee standing along the fence were I set up the team tent. I slapped her hand as I passed and turned left towards the finish line.
I crossed the line with a final run time of 1:45:27 and finish time of 4:58:16. I managed to achieve my sub 5 hour goal by two minutes.
I stood for a moment with shaky legs as a volunteer helped take my timing chip off my ankle. My finishers medal was draped around my neck and I started walking towards the back of the finish chute.
They were handing out large Gatorade towels that had been dipped in cold water. It felt good on my heated up body. I grabbed my finisher shirt and sat in an open chair. I pulled the towel over my head and allowed myself a moment to release the emotions that were ready to come out after a hard fought battle. The battle with my body, mind and course often takes an mental toll on me and the post race release is just how I deal with it.
I collected myself and started to make my way to the Snakebite tent. Aimee, Laura, Jane and some others were sitting around waiting for more finishers, especially Mandie. Aimee and Jane didn't have to wait too long to cross the finish line with their teammate.
Mandie was hurting just as bad as I was if not worse. Her foot was bothering her very bad but she gutted it out for the team.
Overall I was 6th in my age group and 37th overall male. I was happy with the effort I put forth even if it was not the smartest race I have ever had. In retrospect I needed more fluids on the bike. I recall a couple of times where the wind was drying the sweat from my body. This leads to a false sense of your how much you are sweating. I also discussed it with Aimee and she mad me realize that I didn't take any salt tablets prior to the race. And the Saturday before the race was not the best nutritionally.
Oh well. If you can't learn something from each race then why bother.
After watching some more people cross the finish line and change into regular clothes I made my way to Daly's Pub in downtown Sandusky. I joined Jen, Mark, Marie, and a couple others cheering for the runners.
Then we drove back to the finish line and partied until midnight. I was tired from racing but still had something for the party.
Another great end to a fun and exciting season.