This was my first year running Ultra's. Early January I was planning to run the half at Terrapin, but was talked into Holiday Lake, and that led to completing the LUS, oh and a DNF at Grindstone. I wasn't planning to run HellGate until talking it over with my wife over Thanksgiving. There were times during the race that I was wondering if I'd regret the decision.
I started the race feeling good and even ran(a slow pace) the climb to Petite's Gap. When I got there Horton told me to "be smart". I later told him that I was thinking that we knew I wasn't smart, if I was I'd be in a warm bed with my beautiful wife, not running in the cold.
Like usual, the trail sections were my strength. I ran the snow covered grassy road, noticing head lamps catching up to me. My goal was to just hold them off to the trail section down to Overstreet Fall's so I could run it hard and let them catch me on the climb to AS4. I had fun blasting down the trail in 4in or so of snow and somehow made up enough time that I was able to walk most of the climb to AS4 with out seeing another runner.
When I got to AS4 they asked "where is your drop bag?" I said I think she is in the truck asleep! I was 40 minutes ahead of what I told Sarah I would be. The LU students were great! They filled my pack and one handed me some blocks as I asked him to wake Sarah up and tell her I was on the way to Jennings Creek. I continued to feel good and stay ahead of schedule for the next several AS's. The trail section's remained fun and I ran them well, but as I got more tired the roads became harder to make myself run.
By Bearwallow Gap my legs were beginning to wear down and a few runners passed me. At Bobblet's Gap I told my crew that my pace was going to have to slow down for my legs sake.
The final climb was tough and the downhill to the finish was painful but very rewarding. My dad met me for the last quarter mile, thinking he could run me in, but I got a little last boost and left the old man! I was glad he was able to finally make a race and see exactly what the Ultras were all about. In the end I'm so glad I decided to run. It was a great way to end the 2010 season and a beautiful course with great weather. Of course Horton made sure I knew that I may not have finished as well if we had the normal "HellGate weather".
Thank you for a great year of new adventure's Dr Horton! And Thanks to all of the volunteers and students that helped so much!
Trail running has brought me so many new experiences and great friendships this year! I can't wait to see what next year has in store.
A special thanks to my wonderful wife for all of her support and my kids for cheering me on!