|The MCRRC Stone Mill 50 miler turns out extraordinarily, uneventfully well this year, after a DNF in 2012 and a fun-but-rough off-course detour in 2013. The weather is great, the volunteers are helpful, the route is lovely, and there's wonderful conversation and fellowship among the ultrarunner participants all day long.|
Official results put me across the line in 181st place (of 252 listed finishers) with a time of 11:40, and 140th of 179 males. The Garmin GPS measures 47.8 miles with 3800 feet elevation gain; Runkeeper on the iPhone more generously estimates 49.6 miles and 5000 feet climb.
|This great photo of ^z at mile ~6 is by Dan Reichmann (click for high-res version). My son Merle captioned it, "My dad, giving that ridiculously photogenic runner meme guy a run for his money."|
|At the mile ~23 aid station, just before runners leave Muddy Branch Trail and join the C&O Canal towpath, Quatro Hubbard supplements the usual fluids with a special high-octane recovery drink.|
|Cheerful friends Stephanie Fonda and D. Marshall Porterfield lead me most of the way today. This photo of them is by Tom Foreman.|
|About 5 miles after not sampling Quatro's kind offer of whiskey, I'm descending a steep hill just ahead of my ultra-mentor Professor Paul Ammann (cf. Injury Avoidance, UltraMan, etc.) I'm chattering away, slip on wet leaves, and suddenly find myself in Mother Earth's cold embrace. "That was a full-body fall!" Paul helpfully observes, as I clamber to my feet, fortunately undamaged.|
A few hours earlier in the race, as the morning fog lifts, a haiku springs forth:
Many miles later, in the deepening twilight:
Finally, with a minute of poetic license on the total time so the syllable count scans:
The photo is by Paul Encarnación (click for high-res version).
|Comrade Stephanie Fonda is caught in a happy morning moment by photographer Dan Reichmann (click for high-res version) near mile 6.|
|On Tschiffley Mill Rd, near mile 28, I make new friends: Janet Choi (aka "Tape Girl", as per her knee and calf bindings), KC Guevara, and Toni Aurilio. They're flying along so cheerfully that I can't resist pausing to take pictures. KC and Toni finish a few minutes in front of me; Janet is not far behind.|
|Today I'm testing out a new minimalistic vest, the Nathan HPL model #028. It has a pouch on the back which holds an extra water bottle, and ample zipper pockets for candy, gels, Succeed! electrolyte capsules, and cellphone with supplementary battery pack. The photo of me is by Tom Foreman (click for high-res version).|
|I cross the finish line a few seconds behind Stephanie and Marshall. Kind friend Barry Smith comes in a bit later. It's a long, great day!|
^z - 2013-12-08