|Looking back at a great view. That's Charlie Engle in orange.|
Aid stations were spread roughly 4-7 miles apart, with the closer ones coming later in the race when runners were likely moving slower. Unless you are a camel, it was critical to carry water with you. There were two primary aid stations, one being the start/finish area and the other being sort of in the middle of the loops. We hit those aid stations twice and five times respectively. There was one unmanned station early in the race and another we hit only once. I've noted before that I am not the most observant when it comes to aid station spreads, but I did notice they had a lot of the usual fare, including pb&j, chips, soft drinks, etc... Oh, and they had bacon?!?!? Not sure how much of that was consumed. The sports drink of choice was Heed. I actually left Succeed Ultra with my bag at the start/finish area and refilled my bottle with it each time I came through--taking only water from the aid stations.
|One of the less technical but still steep hills. Click to enlarge.|
With the trails criss-crossing and sometimes running in opposite directions, you would often encounter people who were behind you, ahead of you, or in a totally different race. I don't know if I encountered any ten milers, but I did see plenty of 50K runners. In runs like these, that twist through the woods, up and down and around hills, you can feel totally alone and someone is only a couple hundred yards away.
|A runnable downhill stretch!|
I headed back and felt a little bad when people were cheering as I finished. I told Mark Connally (one of the two Race Directors) what had happened and asked him to pull me from the results. I later learned that he had left me in the results because so many people had either intentionally or unintentionally cut parts of the course. I guess he ultimately couldn't be certain who actually ran the correct distance. In all honesty, when I look at my time and that course, a small part of me wonders if maybe I didn't miss something. This course felt far more difficult than other 50-milers I have done and my time was comparable. I can't think of any places I might have missed, but also can't believe I was so close to ten hours when during the race I was thinking anyone under ten hours should get a special award because it was probably not possible...
|I think this is near the start/finish area, after the first loop.|
Oh, I should note that I carried my GoPro camera with me. I had told Mark Connally that I'd get some pics and video for him. I had mixed success. First, battery life has been mediocre at best with this camera and changing batteries on the run, or walk, isn't all that easy. Second, unless you get the LCD back, you don't know what you've got until you get home and put it on your computer (or sync it with your smartphone.) So, I was just pointing, shooting, and hoping for the best. I got a few good pics, some of which are posted here and some fair video (but with a lot of bouncing.) If you notice some "smears" on the pictures, that's either sweat, tears, or PowerBar gel...