This past Saturday Trisha and I had the amazing adventure of being part of the 21st running of the McKenzie River Trail Run.
Summary: 4:33:06 (8:50 per mile). Full results are here.
I really enjoyed the race. I was surprised in some legs at how much time showed on the watch when I reached the aid station.
I fueled at about 100 calories every 25 minutes. Mostly GUs (Tri-Berry and Strawberry-Banana) with some Double Expresso Clif Shot to make the engine fire a little hotter. It was great having the gels at the aid stations. Thanks to GU for sponsoring!
I did repeat a mistake from last year: stickin' in a "train" too long. For the first 4 miles or so of the race I was "stuck" in a group of about 20 runners. It was hard to pass but I should have done it sooner or will need to go out harder at the start. When I reached the first aid station I was already about 5 minutes off my pace chart...OUCH!
Leg 2 of the course is my favorite: generally down with lots of micro ups and downs through the lava rock. You can really get into a groove of pounding on the down and pushing through the ups. Just keep picking up the feet in the more rocky technical sections and watch for a good spot to plant on the way down. I love it!
Legs 3, 4 and 5 I felt I was moving well but the results were not quite what I would have liked. Each section took me about 2 to 3 minutes longer than I had planned. I think it just boiled down that I did not stay mentally focused to push the pace and get that awesome result. Time for some more tempo runs and speed work me thinks :-)
A pleasant surprise was that my hill strength was still around from the awesome training plan Ronda made for my PCT 50. I kept waiting for the big hill that I remembered from previous years and it just plain no longer exists...nice!
I was able to pick it up for the last section showing I still have some endurance. Probably helped that more people started to pass me as they sprinted to the finish. Grrr...got to work on the middle sections next year as I don't like getting passed!
A new thing from this race was my first attempt at hitch hiking. A trail angel (super race volunteer Anne...thanks!!) took pity on me and drove me back to the start to pick up our car. I made it back just in time to see Trisha stride in to the finish to complete her first year of ultras and another PR for the distance: 6:48!! And she is even smiling for the picture :-)
This was a short trip without the kids. Drove down Friday night and crashed at Dave and Lynn's Flowerdale Farm for camping. After the race, a quick shower and lunch, then we packed up the trailer and headed back to Portland to relieve the babysitter. It was a bummer to not hang out longer and talk about the race and the season, as well as to miss the Oregon Trail Ultra Series awards. Congratulations to Caroline and William for taking the wins!!
Now to plan those tempo runs for my next race: Autumn Leaves 50km!