It didn’t take long to realize it was going to be a very tough run. The snow was deep and dry making any forward motion an energy draining experience. With each step I never knew what direction my foot would slide. I really had to work hard to maintain my balance and forge ahead. After only one mile I had doubts about my original plan to run the marathon distance or more. After working my way through the long line of runners, and expending a ridiculous amount of energy, I caught up to KZ, Michelle and Bill around mile two.
I finished the first loop about 3 three minutes slower than planned. That wasn’t bad but I worked much harder than the pace indicated. After eating a few boiled potatoes with salt, and grabbing a handful of pretzels to go, I ran off in pursuit of Michelle who didn’t stop for aid. Conditions on the trail had deteriorated from the pounding it took from 100+ runners on the first loop. About half way through loop number two I realized I wasn’t having any fun. It was frustrating trying to run in the deep snow. I believe it would have been easier with snowshoes, and if I had them in my truck, would have tried them for a loop. The best description I heard of the trail was, “This is like running in sugar!”
The second loop was a little slower than the first but I was much more tired now. I didn’t want to run any more but also wanted a bigger mileage day than 20K. I was determined to do one more loop no matter how difficult it was going to be. KZ and Bill called it a day at 20K but Michelle was willing to go out for one more and off we went. The trail was even worse now although I would not have thought it possible. For the first 3 miles we leap-frogged one another but ran the last 3 miles of the loop together. I tried talking to past the time but sensed Michelle preferred some quiet time on the trail. I can respect that as I am often introspective when running in the woods. On one particularly difficult, long stretch of trail we did talk about how we were soooo done with this run. We couldn’t wait for the third loop to be over.
With a little less than a mile to go, and without saying anything to one another, we picked up the pace and finished strong. I guess we both could smell the finish line. With the end in sight I felt a huge sense of relief. I was tired and hungry and just wanted to eat something from the incredible spread at the aid station. Some hot soup and a grilled cheese sandwich made everything feel better. I hung out for a while watching runners come into the aid station and head out for another loop. Anyone that completed the full 50K really earned it (and must have wanted it real bad). Thanks to the folks at G.A.C for hosting another excellent event!