WOW! Tough course is an understatement. Sure didn't look bad on paper, and only shows 800 something feet of climbing.... but DANG those hills were killer. Very steep and some were never ending.
Temps were a little chilly, but with the sun out it felt good. Went with shorts and the Mizuno top. Probably could have gone with a lighter top, but the wind was a little nippy, so played it safe. Good call on the running cap instead of the skull cover. Need to find some better gloves!!! Hands were done.
The race started flat and easy for the first 2 miles, tried to keep it in the low 7's and not speed up with the leaders. Still not sure if this strategy works, but sticking with it. Got caught by 4 or 5 people from behind later in the race, so not sure what would have happened if I had pressed harder in the beginning.. might have made it harder in the end, might have put me farther ahead??
Anyhow, about 3 miles in we hit some major inclines. Big hills, slowed the pace, tried to use the downhills to speed up, but man the quads were feeling it.Fell in to following another guy (152) for most of the race. Couple spots I would pass him and lead, especially the downhills, but tried to let him set the pace for most. There were some tough areas for footing and some really sloppy muddy sections. Slipped a couple times and twisted the left ankle, but nothing too bad.
Just past mile 4, we were heading through some sloppy grass fields and I was leading the group... but paying more attention to the puddle jumps, and completely missed a turn. Stupid mistake. Only missed it by 50 yards, so made it back in line pretty quick. Next issue was the water table not being setup yet. So no water.... bummer. We continued around the perimeter of a large field. Caught another runner and passed him. The field was about a 1.5 mile loop, so we came back by the water table... and still nothing! That sucked.
We pushed on, finally making it back into the woods, where a different racer (older tri guy) caught us from behind. The two of them pulled on me a little in some of the nastier creek and muddy crossing. But I was able to get back with them before long, some good downhill patches helped out there.
We finally hit another water stop, near the top of a pretty good hill, so I took a moment to walk and drink, and grabbed 2 gels. This allowed the two of them to get a little gap on me, and I never made it back up from there. They were always in sight, and felt like they were in striking distance, but just couldn't cover the gap.
We were on a crushed gravel road for the rest of the run. We crossed a main road just before mile 9, and the climbing and hills hit again. They just felt like they kept coming, and one in particular just never ended! I was caught by someone heading up the giant hill. We exchanged encouragements... but my legs were feeling dead.
Did what I could to stay with him, plus it felt like there was pressure from behind. Felt great to finally hit the levee crossing, knowing there was a small incline, then downhill to the finish. Pushed as hard as I could, made it to within a couple yards of the guy in front of me, but ran out of time.
So decent race, tough course, legs were spent before the start. Had an issue with very dark urine after the race again. Possible muscle break down and dehydration? Need to look into this.