I started out a bit fast and purposely slowed down by walking after the first aid station. I told myself if I didn't real it in, I would be done sooner than I hoped and it wouldn't be the back that took me out. It was then Karen caught up to me. She commented on my fast start and I said yup too fast, having not run all week I came in feeling good. We ran together for the next 7 miles until I let her leave aid station 4 without me. I was talking with my wife and daughter and I knew my back was hurting and that I might be probably done. It had started hurting about 4 or 5 miles into the race and coming down the hill into that aid station it was hurting a whole lot.
My wife and I talked about what I was going to do, I said I was going to try and get it worked out and see what happens as I didn't want to drop 2 years in a row. I did my best to stretch it out along the flat section, I kept bending over which felt good, tried to stretch out the calves, hamstrings even tried some ibuprofen which I normally will not take during a run and it did not improve. After I got up the hill in Meatgrinder, I thought if I could just pick up the pace and get into the 2nd loop I would be able to endure the pain. So during the snowshoe section, I kept trying to run and every time I tried to pick it up, my push off was weak and my pace was continuing to get slower. There is nothing worse than to think you are moving and then to look at the Garmin and see otherwise. I was crashing big time and walking hurt but running hurt more especially on the downhills and the uphills weren't much fun either. So I knew I should drop at the 25k point. To give you an idea of my fall off, my time for the first 9 miles was 1 hour 57 minutes and for the last 6.5 miles it was 1 hour and 55 minutes. I will now focus on getting back to running health and race another day.
I called my wife and she came back out as we stayed to cheer on other runners. I very much enjoyed sticking around seeing Karen, Lisa, Jim, Rick, Les, Carl, Paul, Mark and many others finish on such a hot day.
Some highlights of the day were getting a "Run, Race, [Retire], Repeat" shirt from Helen and being a member of the "Team Steve" club, if only for a day, I will wear it with pride. Although maybe I should retire as well, naw, I like being out there too much. The new race loop, it allowed for some nicer views of the park. Soaking in the river after dropping. Talking to visitors about the race, some folks were pretty impressed with those of you that ran 50k in this park. The snake on the path coming into Aid Station 4 that had a few runners jumping. Hearing about Karen's Big Horn race. Driving up with my wife and daughter who got their morning run in after we took off. Walking up the path to the campground with my wife so she could experience that hill but like I told her it's much easier coming down it than going up it. I think she said we wouldn't be camping there anytime soon. Talking with Londell and many others through out the day.
My thanks to all of the great volunteers, race officials and to the folks at Afton State park for allowing us to enjoy their park for another year, what a great event. I can't wait until next year.