Coming into this Clinton Lake 30M event, I was hoping to have a solid run in preparation for my target race at McNaughton Park -- now in just 11 days! I felt better than expected after the extended effort 2 weeks ago in the 50 miler at LBL & I ended up reaching the goal I had set last year of sub-6 hours. This time I did not have the intestinal issues that sidelined my effort last year. However, I did end up pushing it more than I probably should have the last 4 miles as then I realized my old goal was within reach.
Chris Migotsky (RD) & all the wonderful volunteers pulled off another great job this year! I didn't mind the weather, although it did keep any socializing before & after the race this year to a minimum.
A change from last year was the clockwise direction around the lake to prevent the quick entry into the single track trail -- the backup of last year was averted -- and it also felt like a whole new trail going in this direction. With near freezing temps & very windy conditions, I wore shorts with a technical long sleeve over a singlet & also wore sleeves, gloves & a buff.
Chris sent us off on time at 8:00. With the road section before entering the trail, I apparently picked my spot well as the group I was with on the single track was at an 11 minute pace, just what I was hoping for. The trail was in great condition -- soft & damp with no obstructions.
An enthusiastic bunch welcomed us at the aid station at the midpoint of the loop. Gregg was my cheerleader here all day! Jeff, who greeted everyone as he trekked on the trail (here and at LBL 2 weeks ago) in the opposite direction, was my cheerleader on the course -- Thanks guys!
Keeping the same pace for the remainder of the loop, I finished it with about the same time as last year -- around 1:50 or 11 minutes per mile. Chris had said there were 33 hills on each 10 mile loop & I really didn't notice that many -- but I did notice they seemed to grow in size as the day wore on. I dropped off my long sleeve & buff at the car & headed out for the 2nd 10 trying to maintain the same pace. Also new this year were the mile markers -- great for keeping track of your progress.
By the time I reached the aid station this time, a light rain had started. I'm glad I had already ditched the long sleeve as I hate running with it when it's soaked. The sleeves I wore worked perfectly (Thanks again Jeffro for steering me to these!). I had alot of "Aren't you cold?" questions, but no more than usual -- I felt just right. With no intestinal issues at this point like last year, I finished up this loop at an average of just under 12 minutes per mile.
As I started the last loop I noticed this gal (I later learned her name at the finish to be Juli), who I frequently saw in front of me, was pretty much running at the same pace as I was but we approached the course quite differently. Apparently she did not believe in walking! She ran up ALL the hills as I walked, but somehow I managed to catch back up each time.
With 4 miles to go, I realized that I was within reach of the sub-6 hour goal I had set for myself last year. I was slowing down though and the rain was coming down harder, so I put out a little extra effort. Juli was still just within sight & she made me laugh as I could hear her let out a "cheer" as she passed each mile marker! With a mile or so to go I was close enough to talk to her -- she was going for the same goal! We pushed it the rest of the way -- finished with a minute or so to spare. Juli is one tough gal!
a couple surprises:
There were alot of Buffalo (the human kind) on the course, as usual . . . . and one COYOTE! When it crossed right in front of us, I initially thought it was a wolf. It had a winter coat that was bushy & multi-shaded -- he looked fearless and right at home.
Also, I was plodding along as I came up on two runners that looked very familiar. Could it be Don Frichtl & Ellen Erhardt? I thought, NO WAY!! But yep, there they were. Usually, the only time I see them is at the start or when they lapped me! In fact, Ellen easily won the women's event here last year! As I soon learned from them, they were taking an "easy day". They sure could have picked a better weather day for a "stroll" at the lake!
My focus for the next 11 days will be REST. I'm really looking forward to this upcoming challenge -- to run in a race that will go thru 2 entire days & nights is going to be exciting -- I wonder how my body is going to react? My goal for 150 miles: finish! The countdown continues . . .