The Little Loop
I had such hubris. I thought, "I'll just find some 50k'ers slower than me and just run with them to make the first 30 miles pass." I had no plan for the next 20 miles. So, that's what I did. I tucked in behind Brad White for a bit. Then I caught Christy Scott and ran with her for the rest of the loop. I HAD to stop and shed some clothes; It was WARM today.
The North Loop
I was behind at the beginning of the north loop because of the stop. I ran most of it alone, until just before 3 benches. There I caught up with a few folks from the Knoxville area. I don't remember all their names, but I ran with them and passed going up the Sinks hill. I was running quite a bit too fast to expect to finish a 50 miler, but I had to make a pit stop and needed to get there quickly! I stopped again and there was some distance between me and the next group again.
The South Loop
Ugh. Alone again. I was very much alone for much of this South loop. It took me until the South Plateau loop trail at O'Shaugnessey point to catch Linda Scavarda. She was also planning 50 miles, and let me know that my pace was too fast for her. Well, it was too fast for me, too. We chatted a bit, but I went ahead. Shortly after that, I caught the next group, the folks from Knoxville. I ran a bit with Malinda Honkus who told me in no uncertain terms that I would not finish 50 miles if I did not slow down. What does she know about how fast I am? Quite a lot, apparently. I should have listened. But NOOOO! I ran ahead.
North and South Loop 2
After leaving the aid station I caught Christy again and ran the north and south loops with her. It was great to have some company. On the turn at Cold Springs trail, we had to shout down the second place female to bring her back on track. Other than that, it was completely uneventful except for some really good conversation. This was especially helpful because I was already wondering how I'd run the South loop again.
North Loop 3
I let Christy pull away from me at the beginning of the North Loop because I knew that I would not be able to maintain this pace for 50 miles. I really should have made the decision right then to go 50k and then keep up with her. She made a wrong turn that cost her a spot or two in the race which really made me regret delaying the decision. I'm sure I could have helped her through that. My bad. I'll take some blame for that.
Soon after this I caught Dan Burleson. We had some very good conversation, and then Malinda caught us again. Malinda and I left Dan on the way up Sinks trail. I told Malinda that she was in 4th place, so she turned it up a notch as we left the aid station to start the South loop.
South Loop 3
This was completely miserable. I was alone the entire loop. I just couldn't convince myself to do this loop again. It's the easiest of all the trails physically. However, mentally, it's mind numbingly boring! This loop is an absolute test of mental toughness and I failed. I didn't want to run another step. I knew that a reasonable 50k time was long since past. I had no desire to do any more than 50k. So I made my decision to just quit when this loop was over. I walked a lot of this loop wondering if that would convince me to keep going. Nope. Not if this loop is included. I believe I could have run the North loop 3 or 4 more times, but there was no way I could run the South loop even once more.
My hamstring held up and I feel pretty good several hours later. I'm going to run the Sunday morning 10 miler tomorrow. So, today was just another long run. I didn't give this race the preparation and respect it deserved. Then I didn't commit to either of the 3 distance options available. This is what happens when you do that.