At the start, I hoofed it ahead a few steps to run with some of the top 1/3 faster runners so as to not get caught too far in the back at the beginning. Bad idea? I don’t know. It felt good to run and I never felt too tired in the end so I think it was good. I finished the first loop in 3:47 and the second in 4:30 feeling great at the end of both of those loops. I didn’t feel I was running any slower the second loop and I was surprised that my time was so much slower but I figure it was the mud that slowed me down a bit because the mud pits we had to run/slog through seemed to be deeper and stickier and sloppier as the day went on and more people traipsed through them. Normally I like to get in a pack or pair and stick with somebody running to chat and share the joy/pain, but that never really worked out this time and I ran pert’near the whole thing alone. That was okay, though. The day of reflecting and solitude on the trail was refreshing. In 2009 at Free State, I only ran 40 miles because I had to leave for OKC to run the Marathon the next day and my time was 8:50. This year, even though I had another lap, I finished the first two laps in 8:27 so I see that as good progress. Plus, the conditions of the trail were much, much muddier this year.
The 3rd lap in 5:37 I’m not really proud of but it was just survival, I guess. My shoes were coming off in the mud the third lap and the drive, will, determination to push harder was lacking. I still don’t remember walking that much but the running pace had just slowed considerably.
I did a good job at hydration and energy throughout the day never falling behind at either. The next day I was surprisingly not sore (meaning I could’ve pushed harder) other than a sore right calf (from lateral movements in the mud?).
This was only a little bit better than my last 100K at Free State in 2008 (14:12, I think). This year the story was all about mud. There was a lot of mud. When I say mud think quick sand, standing water, bog, swamp, deep mud, slippery mud, sticky mud, sloppy mud, dirty mud, and mud pits, mud pies, mud trenches, and mud bath. Did I mention there was some mud?
The whole day was eerily similar to 2009 – cloudy and humid. But this year we only had rain in the afternoon and some in the evening. It rained the last 1 and ½ hours I was out there or so, which as it because dark for my last couple miles, really made everything dark.
When I finished, I was soaked, and completely covered in mud and grime from head to toe. Even after 5 days of showers I still have mud in my toe nails that hasn’t come out thanks to Free State!
2009 Report: http://adammonaghan.blogspot.com/2009/04/free-state-trail-ultras-09.html.
2008 Report: http://adammonaghan.blogspot.com/2008/04/100k.html.