I was feeling really unmotivated going into the race. I felt so good this winter and spring, with my 11-win streak and all. Once it got hot, I just started feeling lazy. I'm not just running less, I hardly do any core work and swim much less. I was at work last night; it was slow in the ER, and I realized that a few months ago I would be doing push-ups and planks forever. Last night, I was eating gummi bears and watching the Tour.
Anyway, I met Aaron Drevlow before the race. Aaron, with whom I was battling at Chippewa. I told him my spring fitness was gone and he said something like, "fitness doesn't go away in a few months", and I thought maybe I could eek out a good race, after all. Aaron looked friggin' strong, by the way.
Apart from Aaron, I recognized Craig Hertz from Duluth. Other than those two, the top guys were all unknown to me. We took off slowly, but then it strung out going up the first hill. I let go of the front group coming down to the first aid station. I thought it prudent to start slowly, but although it felt slow, it did not feel easy.
I ran that whole first loop by myself, kind of getting into a zone. I started feeling a little better on the snowshoe loop right before the end of lap one. No runner's high per se, but a couple of sections of effortless joy. I have written about this before: if it's a good high, it feels lile I am about to cry. There were no tears, though.
Steve Quick appeared in the warm mist, like the soft-spoken wiseman that he is. I yelled something like "I haven't seen anyone is 2 hours. How far up is the next person?" He took what seemed like 30 seconds to think it over and then uttered the single word "minutes", as if that was supposed to help me. The Girl is certain that he was messing with us, to ensure that I would finish 5th and she would finish 3rd, just as he had predicted.
Shortly aften the halfway point, I passed the early leader (Tim Scanlon). He had dropped out, from the looks of it. Maybe at mile 20, a walking Aaron Drevlow suddenly appeared. He looked dead, but to his credit he was able to shift gears and jog it in, while encouraging other runners.
I passed Jordan Hanlon with 5 miles to go, and was able to push a steady pace until the finish. I got 4:06, 4th place. The race was won by Forrest Tracy in 3:55. Dang. I'm far from that level. I'm ok with the time and the way the race progressed. I'm a man of the far north, and even high 70's is way too much for me. After a few miles, I looked like I had just emerged from a lake; I was that sweaty. For the first time ever, I took salt tablets and, amazingly, I didn't cramp ip at all. I always thought salt caps were mainly placebo, as I have never seen low sodium in any young, healthy person. Maybe it was coincidental, but I am taking them at my next race, too.
The Girl. The Girl. She is a klutz, for sure. Some kind of abnormality always happens to her, so there is an actual, official finishing time and a if-the-sasquatch-had-not-tripped-me finishing time. At Afton, she lost part of her CamelBak tube and had to run back to get a belt instead. She did well, though, and finished 3rd in 4:49. She is in killer shape now; Afton isn't really her type of course. If she doesn't get injured, she will set all kinds of PRs this fall in Denmark. She was very proud of "relatively chicking" me, ie. finishing higher among the women than me among the men. Pretty soon she will actually chicking me, I think. And all joking aside: I'm very proud of her.
She is a little manic right now, not taking rest days and wanting to sign up for different races every day. The big question is whether she is doing Challenge Copenhagen on August 12. I am trying to talk her out of it, just because her running is going so well.