Some ultrarunners love doing back to back long runs. Others don't like it at all. I've never been a big fan of doing long runs back to back, but I wanted to get in a lot of miles this weekend. So, I decided to go long both Saturday and Sunday.
My plan was a very easy 20 on Saturday and then the Pineland Farms 50K on Sunday.
On Saturday, it was cool and breezy and I ran a nice, relaxed 20 on a mixture of paved and dirt roads. The course was rolling, but not exceptionally hilly - 1400 feet of climbing over the 20 miles.
Saturday night, I got to bed early because of the race on Sunday and to get as much sleep as possible between the two longer days. I got up about 3:15 a.m. and got on the road to Maine within 20 minutes. I was amazed at the number of speed traps yesterday. I was expecting an increase in speed traps because of the holiday weekend, but it was crazy. I got hit by instant-on radar at 5:30 a.m. in New Hampshire. In Maine, it seemed like there was a state cop every couple miles.
I arrived at the race about an hour before the start and had plenty of time to get a drop bag together and to socialize with friends. As we started at 8:00, I fell in with a speedy friend for a while and then had to back off after about 3 miles. From there, I just relaxed through the first loop, wondering when the serious fatigue might set in. As I started my second 25K loop, I felt pretty good. I hit the halfway point in just under 3:03. After the long day on Saturday, I was guessing I'd run at least 6:30 and maybe 7:00, so the 3:03 halfway split surprised me.
But, while the course was all trails and it was rolling (about 3500' of climbing over 50K), the footing was great and about as non-technical as trails can be. Around mile 22 or so, I started to push a little bit, wanting to be done. I caught up to a friend at the mile 23 aid station, and he made no attempt to run with me. I was starting to pass people somewhat frequently.
I hit the 25.8 mile aid station in about 5:15, and I was feeling great. I really pushed the 4.3 miles back to this aid station pretty hard and passed a number of runners. As I got back to the aid station, I ditched my bottle and my small pack and headed for the finish. One runner was close behind me and I didn't want to get caught. It wasn't close, as I cruised the last mile at a sub-9 pace. My final time was 6:13:xx - I didn't catch the exact number of seconds and I forgot to hit the stop button on my watch. So, I'd done the second half of the race in about 3:11 - not much slower than the first half.
By the time I finished, they'd run out of beer, which was probably just as well, given that I had to drive home. I grabbed some food very quickly and headed for home. I got a giant cup of coffee from an evil corporate coffee venue on the Maine turnpike; I needed the caffeine for the drive.
Oh yeah, on top of the ridiculous amount of money I spent for gas yesterday (way more than my race entry), I also had to pay almost $8 to drive on roads that I thought my tax dollars already paid for. Vermont has no tolls on their interstates, but the rest of New England sure does.