Sep 132011

By Jeremy Bonnett

Well, the day is finally here.  I had a whole bunch of trepidation about this race.  After having such a great season racing short distances, ultras, hilly courses, snowy courses and the like, I was starting to put some pressure on myself to perform at my best, all the time.  I was also nervous as I didn’t do much “quick” training between the 100MW attempt and now.  In fact I really only got in two, sometimes three runs a week over the last month.  So when I set my sights on cutting my time down from last years 9:05 minute miles to 8’s I wondered if I had it in me.

Leading up to the race was pretty typical except I had Alison and Francesca to see me on my way and cheer me on, which was fantastic.  The racers chatted as usual and Ian gave his pre-race talk in the cool morning shade.  He directed us to get behind the start line and I got in a position and looked around for my crew to run with.  I thought I was close to the front, and started chatting with George Alexion about the Jay Challenge race.  Next thing I knew Ian said “Go” and I look up and see 40 or so people in front of me.  Damn!  Rookie mistake!  I fumbled hitting buttons on my watch as I jockeyed for position and scrambled to get ahead quick before the single track.  Once there I was annoyed with myself for getting caught in the pack and felt like a caged lion searching for a way out of the mayhem.  It took over a mile to feel like I was actually running the pace I wanted.  At that point I dismissed the starting error and decided to make it work for me.  I figured a nice easy start warmed me up and would make sure I wouldn’t blow up too early.  No worries.  Shortly in to the run we went by Blaine who had twisted an ankle.  Not good.  I wished him luck and carried on.

Cruising right along now I came up on Ryan and had some fun words with him.  I probably only stayed 10 to 50 paces in front of him and whoever he was talking to for the next bunch of miles.  I would scream down a hill, charge up another, fly around some sharp technical corners gasping for breath and still hear him and the other dude casually chatting right behind me.  Incredible.  At the 4 mile aid station I glanced at my watch and realized I was two and a half minutes behind my goal.  Bummer.  I felt like I was really flying along now, and was trying to figure how to go faster.  Must go faster!  And still there was Ryan.  I think he left his running mate at one point, but now instead of his conversations, I heard his blowhole.  Like a Narwhal ready for a jousting match he spouted, and snorted and grunted towards me.  Relenting.  At the 7 mile aid station I counted seconds till he got there, one, two, three, four there he was, quick little bugger and closing!  Now my goal was to simply not get passed.  I had no one in front of me to pull me along so I was running scared at this point, and for my own PR.

I had planned on sucking down a GU before the O trail just to give myself that extra boost, but before I could bother I came up on a few people.  I think I went by someone before reaching Bob Poirier who graciously let me by and then it was on to the final aid station.  Around that time I caught a glimpse of Jamie Anderson and was psyched how well he was running.  I kicked in a bit and charged on hoping to catch him on the O trail.  I glanced at my watch, which read 1:13 and change and thought I’d really have to push the next few miles to ensure a good time.  Relatively close to the beginning of the O we exchanged pleasantries and he mentioned something about top ten and that Ian and another guy were in front of us.  Both of these updates were a complete shock to me.  First of all I had no idea I was even close to top ten. Second, I was pleasantly blown away by the fact Ian was crushing it on ahead.  I now felt the impetus to maintain position and catch Ian.  With this new found drive I started to get a bit ahead of myself and tripped, and skipped a few times never going down.  I would see Ian, we’d say hi, then I’d lose him again.  I pushed hard through the O, and at one point went right past a turn in to the woods, full momentum carrying me along.  OK, I was getting tuckered and getting sloppy.  Time to relax, finish strong and uninjured.  But Ian was just ahead.  Time to kick in the racing juices… sputter…sputter.  Nothin’.  Damn.  I know I was pushing hard through the O, but Ian was absolutely killing it!  Just when I thought I might be able to catch him he’d disappear around a bend.  It wasn’t going to happen today.  Hit the double track and flew to the finish with nothing left.

I was quite surprised by my PR of 1:35:38, 13 minutes and 13 seconds faster than last year.  Also super happy to have acquired top ten and helped the team to victory.  I am, as always, very impressed by the runners out there, all of them.  There were runners and TM’s that were out for a long time, some getting lost, a bunch getting injured.  I’m constantly inspired by people’s own challenges and triumphs and today was no different.  Another great job on the race by Ian and all TM volunteers!

efficiency: Start at the front of the pack stupid!

distance: 12
duration: 1:35:38

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