This was my longest run ever by about 10 miles and nearly 2 hours, and I'm feeling it right now. We stopped by Catherine's parents' house in Bountiful on the way to the race, and I missed the freeway on ramp, a mistake I compounded by not doubling back, and as a result we made it to the race ten minutes before the start. I was lucky enough to make it to the bathroom and still get to the start with a minute to spare.
I tried to stay near the front from the beginning, but I didn't want to dig too deep too soon. A few runners broke away early on and I didn't think about chasing them. Some of the other runners in the lead group gapped me and I thought about chasing, but I decided to let them go, too. It turned out to be a smart move, because I caught and passed most of them on the climb to the first feed zone.
Eventually, I wound up running with two others up the big switchbacks on the south end of the course, and I decided to stay with them because the pace felt comfortable. Just before returning to the second feed zone, one of the runners pulled out because of an injury. The other continued straight through the feed zone while I stopped to eat a gel and drink a few glasses of Coke, but I caught back up with him a mile or two later, and shortly after that I pulled away on a small climb.
I was feeling pretty good at that point, but as I approached lap 2 I didn't realize I was supposed to drop down to the start before starting my second lap. So, I continued straight ahead. I was still felling great at the second feed zone until the volunteers started congratulating me on leading the 50K and I started to suspect something was wrong. Shortly after that the real leader past me and I figured out where I had gone wrong.
At that point, I pretty much lost the will to run. I figured I would be DQed, and I was afraid everyone would think I had tried to cheat by cutting the course, so I decided to start walking until my wife, who was running the 25K, caught up with me, at which point I would finish my run with her.
But as I walked I decided I would try to finish the course. Instead of crossing the line, I would turn around at the feed zone, run back up the climb I had missed at the start of the second lap, and then run right back down to the finish, thereby covering the entire 50K course, although not exactly in the traditional sequence. I hoped that if I did that, the race directors would consider my time official and all would be well.
Of course, as I already mentioned, by then I had lost the will to run, and my legs were killing me, so the final miles were a miserable mix of walking and shuffling. Miserable enough that I considered not rerunning the part of the course I had skipped. But my brother-in-law was waiting for me near the finish, and he was willing to run back up the hill with me, so I turned around and ran back up before limping back to the finish. I think I ran back down the hill at the end slower than I ran up it at the beginning.
Anyways, I crossed the line with an official time of 4:32:37, and although it was a little out of order, I did end up running the entire course. (And I made a point of telling the race director and anyone else who would listen what I did and why, because I would hate for anyone to think my race was anything but on the level.) I wound up first in the 20-29 age group and sixth overall. My race was far from flawless, but whatever the official results, I think it was a pretty respectable first (mini) ultra.