This was my 3rd straight year running this race. My times have progressively gotten faster and this year was to be no exception. I'm running faster then at any other point in my short career running ultras. I think there are a few reasons to this: #1 -I'm getting at least a 3-6hr run every Saturday (even though I don't run more than 3-4x/wk...thanks to my wife and other family for being so supportive!!), #2 - I'm monitoring what I eat (cutting out almost all dairy and eating very little meat), #3 - I haven't been injured - this is attributed to my monthly massages, #4 - running with local fast guys - Yassine Diboun, Joe Grant and Nick Triolo.
My Dad, son -Mason- and I left Portland at 4:30am. We made quick time - arriving in Sisters right at 7am.
All 115+ people toed the line and off we went. Yassine immediately took the lead - knowing I nor anyone racing today - would see him till the finish. I settled into a nice pace behind Jeff Browning and Matt Hart. As soon as we hit the single track they both picked up the pace. I guess this is why they're ultrarunners.....and sponsored. Soon Jeff was out of sight. I followed behind Matt for an additional 20-30minutes before he too was out of sight....after I paused to squat behind a bush. I was concerned that I was moving too fast, too early on...but I thought, "what the hell. might as well see what happens". I was hydrating well and eating regularly. However my intestines were in an uproar and had to relieve myself 2 additional times along the course. I did skip one crucial aid station - not filling up my water bottle. Big mistake! I misjudged the distance to the next aid station, so I dunked my handheld water bottle in a stream (time will tell if I get giardia, crypto, or campy) knowing that I would need the water.
I thought for sure Matt was gone for good. Then, on a long uphill stretch of a gravel road, I saw him about 2oo meters in front. I was on autopilot, putting one foot in front of the other. Within a few minutes, I caught up to him. Hills are my saving grace in these races....since I suck at downhills and the flats I'm OK. "Good job Matt. Keep it up," I said as I passed him. He said the same.
From that point on, I was running scared...thinking Matt would catch me. I stopped briefly at the second to last aid station - mile 28ish. I dumped what was left of the stream-fill water and refilled with Nunn. Grabbed a banana and I think a gel. Around mile 30, my legs on the inner aspects of the thigh started to cramp...just like what had happened at Hagg. I just kept moving and was able to shake off the cramps and reach the final aid station. Again, I filled my water bottle with Nuun and left in a matter of seconds.
The last 4ish miles went by relatively fast. I turned around countless times thinking Matt was going to be on my heels....but he wasn't.
I finished in 4hrs 40mins in 3rd place. Jeff was second in 4hrs 39min. Yassine was first in 4hrs 17mins.
Sean put on another great race. The volunteers were awesome. Next race is McDonald Forest 50K. I'll be volunteering at one of the aid stations at Capitol Peak 50miler.