January 13, 2020 - 3+ inches of rain, ankle deep mud, Top 10 AG finish!
The plan was to train right through this race, but i did have to back off a bit during the week due to some IT band and general fatigue issues, but i was still by no means fresh and tapered heading into this race. It had rained over 3 inches in the 36 hours leading up to the 6pm start time, and it would continue to rain/snow for the duration of the night, which made about half of the 6.6 mile loop a complete slop-fest, which I loved. Stayed right within my plan during lap one, but my heart rate was about 20 beats higher than what i thought it would be given the easy breathing and lack of cardio strain i was feeling. Hit my lap 1 pace perfectly, then my head-lamp band snapped, forcing me to take my fingers out of my mittens to hold it properly so I could see. That stunk, and was really painful after an hour in low 30s temps with rain (shout out to the race director for stopping my Garmin since i couldn't move my fingers at the finish line!). An older gentlemen dropped me so hard in mile 7 i was feeling pretty demoralized but i kept chugging along. Miles 7-9 felt pretty terrible and 3 other guys dropped me during a long uphill paved section, and i told myself that no one else would pass me. Once I got back into the trails and the ankle deep mud my legs woke back up and I found some motivation. The mud on lap two had grown substantially after 500 people had gone through on the first lap, but this is what I normally race in, so I loved it. No one else passed me and I ended up catching 6 guys and felt pretty strong at the finish. I wanted to negative split the laps but missed that by about a minute, but finished 8th in the 30-39 age group and 27th overall, both of which were personal bests, and I was 15 minutes faster than 2019. I didn't wear my hydration pack and instead opted for a just 1 2.5 hour concentrated bottle of my custom mix, which I think was a mistake. I was glad not to have to carry 3L of fluid, but I definitely felt like i needed a lot more fluid than I took in as I overestimated the aid stations, which only provided tiny, tiny, cups. I also forgot my AMP PR lotion at home, but I did use it when i got home, and again in the morning before swim practice as I was unusually sore, and it did seem to help with that. Lots of work to do to get these legs in shape for my first marathon and ultra, but i'm off to a much better start than 2019!