Sorry this race report is a little late, I've just been a bit busy with work and school and all. StoneCat was certainly one of the most fun races I've done this year. As you guys already know, Miss Bethany ran her first 50 miler, which was awesome. She totally inspired me to do a 50 next year. A few of our other track club friends ran either the 26.2 or the 50 as well.
The race had a 6:15am start time, so we got there bright and early. We got our headlamps strapped on and headed into the woods. I don't wear my glasses when I'm trail running, for the simple reason that I don't want to break them when I undoubtedly fall numerous times. So with it being pitch black except for the light of our headlamps, I had a bit of trouble staying upright and on the right course for the first 45 minutes or so, until the sun came out. I was very tentative weaving in and out of the trees and rocks until the sun came out, and I felt I could open it up a bit and run a little harder.
Here's the photo of the starting line before we headed into the woods. (Photo by Keith Magnus, http://www.broadreachphoto.com/)
Once the sun came out, I picked up the pace, and really felt good on the trails. I really liked these trails, as they weren't very technical, and pretty run-able for the most part. Some roots, some rocks, some water crossings, weaving in and out of trees, but overall a really good trail for a marathon. The course was a 1.2 mile loop, and then 2 times on a 12.5 mile loop. I felt pretty good the whole way, and finished in 4:50:56, about 10 minutes faster than I expected. The whole time I was just thinking about doing the 50 next year. As soon as you cross the finish line, you get a finisher's jacket, which was nice as it was something different than the usual medal or whatever. (However, Bethany's 50 mile finisher jacket was about 100 times nicer than the 26.2 finisher jacket. As it should be, though. Haha, more inspiration for doing the 50 next year.)
I think this is around mile 13.5. (Photo by Keith Magnus)
Bethany around mile 13.5, all smiles as usual. (Photo by Keith Magnus) It was nice, since it was a loop course, I got to catch up to and pass Bethany around mile 6 or so. She looked great and was happily chatting with our friends that she was running with.
Bethany with our track club friends, Mark Kruger and Kenny Rogers. (Photo by Keith Magnus) All 3 finished the 50 looking strong. They've definitely all inspired me to step up my game.
After I finished, I hung around with our track club friends who ran the 26.2, and we waited for our 50 miler buddies to come in. When Bethany came in after her 3rd loop (mile 37.5), I was waiting to help her out in any way I could. She felt hotspots developing, so I grabbed the Vaseline and lubed up her feet. (That's true love.) Then (after wiping my hands, of course) I grabbed a bag of her all-natural cookies, her cranberry juice, and her organic toaster pastry and ran back into the woods with her, making sure she got everything she needed into her pockets or into her mouth. Sure enough, she stayed well nourished, and even finished the race with cookie crumbs on her face, haha.
She looked great when she came back around to the finish line at the end of 50 miles, and I couldn't have been prouder of her. She's truly an inspiration. Hopefully next year we'll be crossing the 50 miler finish line together.