Well that's what I'm going to call it anyway as the 3RD running of the Freestate Ultra marathons turned out to be more of a dance than a run. After a week and a half of fairly dry and warm weather I was surprised to see that much of the course still had quite a bit of standing water and mud on it. For once I really don't have much to say about a race. So I think I'm going to keep it fairly short and sweet this time around.
Coming into Freestate I didn't have many expectations other than to run faster than I did here last year but after running through that first loop I knew that would be a challenge. Still somehow after it was all said and done I managed to do so. First Loop was way to fast I thought that even with the humidity I could maintain my goal pace for the day. Boy was I wrong. After clocking a 2:40 on the first loop I was hit with the humidity bug. From mile 22-32 I was in a huge funk. I couldn't get my legs to do what my head wanted them too. It was weird, almost like my legs had butterflies kind of a feeling. I was just thankful that my head didn't have butterflies. It knew what I was there to do and I just kept drudging forward. Stopping at the aide stations just long enough to get bottles filled and then down the trail. Around mile 27.5 Dan Dehlin finally caught up with me and went around as I was walking out a cramp.
I couldn't believe how much mud was still on the course and after the first time through it became even more sloppy. "I hate mud now." Along with the extreme heat and extreme cold. I think that is a typical response to anything though, as a result of situations where you turn yourself inside out trying to do something special.
Just after the KUS aide station on the last loop heading for home now my stomach still wasn't right. I had an uncontrollable urge to hurl. So I did. A couple of times. After that I felt a little better but still not quite right. At this point I started to look over my shoulder at every switchback. Waiting to catch site of the eventual winner of the 40 miler.
I hate leading races from the start. Not that I do it that often. It's just a feeling I'm not that comfortable with. The main thing about it is that you never know how far behind you everyone is. It becomes a game of mental toughness right from the word go. Just one more thing to think about when you should be doing nothing but worrying about the feedback from your body. Countless hours and energy wasted on pure speculation.
Since throwing up I had nothing left in me. I just kept telling myself to keep moving forward. If I could try and relax until I get to Kyle and Caleb's aide station. I might have regained enough to put in one last effort. I made it. Three and a half to go now and still nobody in sight. "What the Hell." Just how much of a lead did I have over the guy in second. I was maybe at best only getting 10 minute miles out of my legs and the only people I've had any contact with were the marathoners.
Well I wasn't going to wait around any longer. Lets get this bitch done. I'm ready to get home and see my family. So I ran everything I could until my heart rate would spike due to dehydration. Walk for a bit then repeat as many times as needed til' I cross the line. Finally the finish line came into site and crossed it just under the six hour mark bettering my time from last year by three minutes.
I lied on the ground for a few minutes watching the finish line. Then rounding the corner like he was shot out of a cannon came the second place 40 miler. Blake Hearn I believe his name was. He crossed in 6:02 something. They told him at the KUS aide station that I had 15 minutes on him. If it were me and I heard that I would have just started running for second with only nine miles to go. Not this guy. Blake kicked it in and started charging hard. By the time he reached the Amos/Chatfield Oasis he reeled in 10 minutes of that fifteen. Good thing I made the decision to put in that last effort or I'd be posting a different story now. Still he managed to run about 45 seconds faster per mile than me over the last three and a half and knock down the gap even more. I felt like it was two races. I won the first 50km and he won the last 14km.
As for the other races all I know is that Dan Dehlin won the 100km and Ivan Marsh won the Marathon. Not sure what Dans overall time was if it was close to his time from last year. Ivan took the marathon in 2:55 though. Damn fast for all that mud.
I just want to thank everyone involved in the race this year. It keeps getting bigger and bigger or at least it feels like it. Ben/Kyle excellent job you and the Trail Nerds do putting this one on. I also want to thank Salomon and Great Plains Running Company for supplying me with the gear and support needed to keep on keeping on when the chips are down.
Next up for me is some rest. I'm not superhuman. I can't run 15 Ultras a year with so much as a sore muscle here and there. So I'm going to enjoy a mini off-season. Ride the bike a lot. Vacation at the cabin in Estes Park. Spend as much time with the family as I can. Get my boy his first mountain summit. (At the ripe old age of four.)Then around mid July I might show up somewhere. Start to ramp back up so I can start off the fall campaign in full gear. Good luck to everyone racing hard this summer I hope everyone reaches their goals. For me it's the couch AHHHHH!!!