I hated the fact that I was wearing a pair of Inov8 Mudrocs. I had thought mud = Mudrocs; they had to be better than road racing flats, I figured. Well, it wasn't super muddy, and whenever it was muddy, it was on the low flats, where the mud was so deep it wasn't really a question about traction.
Those shoes were bugging the hell out of me. My toes were burning, like I was in a road cycling shoe that was too tight. The shoes are so inflexible that I was forming all kinds of blisters. And it suddenly occured to me they might be low-drop shoes.
But anyway, except for the much-maligned Mudrocs, I was where I wanted to be at 7 miles to go.
I was running with Alex kurt; Rubesch was a little bit behind. Jordan Hanlon and another guy were up ahead. I had run conservatively all day. Nutrition had been good. I felt ready to put it a nice little late-race surge. I drank a 5-Hour Enenrgy (which contains caffeine) and told Alex I was going to go for it. I turned on my music and charged for home, honestly thinking I had a chance at catching up with the two leaders.
Yeah. That didn't happen. At 5 miles to go, Jordan Hanlon suddenly came running toward me on the trail. He thought he was lost and wanted to run back to find the right trail. Alex caught up and said he thought we were on the course. At which point Jordan turned arund and took off at what looked like 6-minute mile pace.
That's when Ultra Death had started to set in. Alex disappeared in the distance. Rubesch went by me with a cat-like stride. I walked on, hurting everywhere, feeling faint. I walked and hobbled the rest of the way in. Another guy passed me on the last hill, just for good measure.
Jordan Hanlon ran the last 5 miles 16 minutes faster than me! He passed the second-place guy, whose name I didn't catch, in the last few miles. I was impressed.