It is so much more fun to be at races with friends!!! Dave Lavely, Scott Wingfield, Michael Forrester and Cam Kelly all ran (see above picture)! Got to spend a bunch of time together before the race! Friends just makes it better!
Talk about tough . . . this marathon was a tough one! Two factors: 1) hills and 2) temperature.
Umstead is a great place to run and it has it all! Single track trails, fine gravel roads, flat areas and, of course, hills . . . lots of hills. The first half of the race seemed to be a tad flatter then the second half. But it maybe I just got tired for the second half.
The hills were hard but really not that bad, I've run much harder hills.
About half way, we went through a section called Turkey Creek North. Three tough hills in a row, hit a flat section for maybe 1/2 mile, then turn around and go back the way we had come. Really hard given the temperature . . . by this time the temperatures had climbed into the low 80s. For the last three weeks, we have had temperature daily highs in the 20s, 30s and low 40s. Snow the previous weekend. Just no time to get use to higher temperatures!
When I finally got back to the RMEC (Rocky Mount Endurance Club) manned aid station a little past mile 19 , the race official told me I had missed the cut-off by seconds. I talked him in to letting me try to make the next cut-off point. Not sure how far it was . . . maybe 1-1/2 miles. But I gave it all I had (which really wasn't all that much!) but I can't remember when a ran that hard! And I made it! So, from that point on - no more cut-offs! All I had to do was finish. Got to admit I really struggled and was spent at the finish. But I finished . . . the last official finisher!
A special thanks to the RMEC members who gave up a beautiful Saturday, drive from Rocky Mount to Raleigh and man the aid station! Ryan Bullard, Steve Cooper, Larry McKeel . . . I remember seeing all you! Believe Ursula Forrester was there too, but I don't remember seeing her.
And another special "thank you" to the Godiva Track Club and all the incredible volunteer out! Aid stations were great! Smiling and encouraging folks at every stop! Especially liked the "South of the Border" stop on Turkey Creek trail . . . they cracked me up and picked up my spirits! All through the race, but especially after mile 16 or so, volunteers on bikes were constantly coming up and asking if I was okay and if I needed water, gels or electrolytes (I'm sure they were worried when they saw me . . . I probably looked like hell and was moving at a snail's pace!) I've done a number of marathons on warm days, but I've never been to a race that was so supportive to the runners! THANK YOU ALL!
Here are some more pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/triple_f/sets/72157614892534807/