Two words…deep field! Dang. 28 under 4 hours. I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably one of the deepest fields of any ultra to date. I heard a couple of others say it too. It was hard and fast. To put it in perspective the year before, my time of 3:52.12 would have been good for 7th and in past years as high as 2nd, this year…18th.
Deep field aside, I had a great day, especially considering my winter training. I wasn’t sure what my foot (or legs) would do with the PF issue (which is better), but with only one 3 hour run under my belt, definitely wasn’t sure.
I knew the early pace would be fast with everyone shooting for the States entry slots…and it was. I planned to run the first half laid back and went out slow for the first half and came through ALT 1 in 1:44 and ALT 2 in 2:33. I picked it up for the last 1/3 and started picking off some of the carnage from the early fast pace.
I felt pretty good most of the day and ran pretty smoothly with no major bumps, except some minor cramping that extra S caps took care off. The only real drama was the final few miles. I had been running solo approaching Hwy 49 when Ian Torrence and another guy passed me. I tucked in behind them, downed my last gel, took an S cap, chugged the remainder of my water just as we arrived at Hwy 49.
We came into Hwy 49 in a tight pack and I handed Julie Fingar (Patagonia teammate working the aid station) my empty gel flasks and bottle and didn’t have to break stride, as Ian ran right on through. We ran the hill up off 49 and soon caught Hal. He and Ian and another guy gapped me about 30-40 yards. Soon Hal started hiking again and I passed him in the meadow where the trail “Ys” as you climb up out of the trees and the grade mellows.
As we climbed that last 40 yard grunt to gain the fence row I reeled in the other dude on the short downhill and got back within 10-15 yards of Ian as we approached the 90 degree turn into the long straightaway down the fence.
I started thinking I had a little left in the legs and thought of my Thursday hard tempo days with Steve Larsen. No different. I decided to go hard. As I passed Torrence, he says “WHERE’D THAT COME FROM, BITCH!?!” (I laughed hard in my head, but was suckin’ too much wind to retort.)
I just kept pushing so he couldn’t pass me back. We both ran 3:52 (about 3 sec. apart). It was a killer day. Great weather, fast course, deep field and a great night of chillin’ at Georgetown Hotel with Thornley and the Oregon crew. AJW singin’ Springsteen, Jurek bustin’ out The Stones’ Painted Black, Lewis throwin’ down a great Talking Heads. Wolfeman singin’ George Michael, and Bronco singin’ Skynyrd—giddyup.