Was it a great day, yes, was my time good, no. I made it through the hills and the heat of Afton without injury, that for me is an accomplishment.
This is the first time in years where I ran in heat without major incident. My time was 7:44 and some change, not a great pace, I ran the first half in 3:35+ so I dropped off quite a bit but I am ok with the effort. I had a hot spot on my right foot that made walking and running painful, my knees held up but ached throughout and I didn't get severely dehydrated. I did have quite a bit of hand swelling which concerns me, I was taking an S-cap about every 45 minutes to 1 hour and was afraid to take more. I kept thinking do I take more or fewer to deal with the swelling. I let my stomach rule, I only got queasy once and had no bloated, bouncy sensation at all. The one thing I had to deal with was the "Heed", I didn't plan enough of my Clif Shot Electrolyte and had to drink Heed for the first time. Not a good idea, I didn't like the taste and switched to just water and s-caps the last 6 miles. Along with the issue you aren't supposed to try something new on race day. OK, I have broken that rule more than once, and yes, I paid for dearly for doing so.
Afton is beautiful, I stopped on top of one of the hills and just took in the view. I love the challenge of the course, even if it's safe to say Afton 1, me 0. The volunteers were great, plenty of friendly smiles and lots of help and plenty of food choices. I did try a potato dipped in salt, kind of disgusting but I did have a decent stretch afterward, next time I will have to try the PB & J sandwich. I met Steve Quick, talked to Londell after the race and saw Phillip Gary Smith on the course but didn't chat with him. When I am running or waddling/shuffling (more accurate description) and not doing particularly well, I am not overly interested in talking. I passed him and another runner together and just wanted to get by and get through the stretch I was enduring.
My appraisal of how it went, too much heat and hills and not enough training on hills and heat. With the knees tender, hills aren't a good training idea and the heat well we haven't had any. My wife was amused with my training process for heat, for the last 10 days, I have kept the AC off in my car and the windows up to attempt to get acclimated. Did it work, maybe. I got through the day but I did walk the hills and I walked the stretches where I couldn't breathe that well from the lack of wind.
I was right in my pre-race prediction, a PR at Afton (yes, it was my first attempt at the 50k at Afton, so no surprise there) and I was able to beat my Chippewa time by about a 1/2 hour. Did I want a better time, absolutely, was I in shape to get it, No. I am gaining an understanding of pacing and fueling on trail courses that will benefit me on my marathons and in future trail races. I left Afton thinking no way will I ever do a 50 miler but by the time I got home, I was thinking maybe I would but I am leaning to next year so I can get my times faster and my weight lower, I still think the two go together otherwise it has to be my age, ability or training.
One final note on Afton, I ate a hot dog, some cookies and drank some Coke afterward, not a monumental thing for most folks but for me to eat anything after a race is a huge deal. Another advantage of Ultra events, free real food. And I would be remiss to not say a big thank you to John (great job as a first year race director) and all of the volunteers who put on a first class event.
Next race, the Turtle Trot, my kind of race...........................