My 4th Derby. Probably my last
These races, these Mangum Track Club races, each and every one of them is like a family reunion. Catching up with friends making new ones and of course the run itself, taking in the wonderfully scenic North Carolina countryside.
As I set off on the run, I really had no goals in mind, I certainly had no visions of a PR. I truly believe that my 4:52 that I ran at New River Trail 50k last year will remain a lifetime best. I figured around 6 hours would be a good time, so I set off at a pace that would get the first 10.5 mile lap in 2 hours. Highlight of the first loop was my friend Tim doing the Floppy Bacon Dance©™ at the first Aid Station. The second aid station had “Chili Con Queso Pringles” which was another highlight.
With the exception of the wind, the weather was delightful. Yeah, and the wind, errr, it was a loop course, that means a circle of sorts. So, how come the wind was a head wind for 9.5 miles of each 10.5 mile lap? And I asked, it wasn’t just me. Others reported the same, so that meant the wind was going in several different directions at the same time. HTF does that happen? Anyway, I sighed, said WTF? and LOL’d several times and continued my merry way.
1:59:xx was my first lap time. YEAH! Happy with that. Grabbed some cookies, filled my bottle and set out on lap two. At aid station #1 again, I learned a lesson about keeping my mouth shut. “My only goals today are to finish alive and not get lapped” (managed not to get lapped on two of my previous Derby’s). Not two or three minutes later, I got lapped. WTF? LOL. OMG!
The eventual winner Tomasz Kochanowicz, coming up behind me. WTF? (Picture Lee).
Kept my pace “easy-ish” until I was just a little before half way round, and then opened it up a bit. Things always seem to go better when I run the first half of a race at an easy and manageable pace. 1/2 way split 2:57:xx. Then I had an idea. If I do the second half of the race at the same pace, I could finish with all the 5’s. Yep, 5:55:55 became my goal. It is the kind of goal that people dream of. For REAL! People dream of this crap! I once tried to do a marathon in 4:44:44. And failed (meltdown the last two miles). So, with the goal set, I figured that there would be a fade at the end, so best put some time in the bank.
My push for the second half of the lap got me to mile 20.5 with an accumulative time of 3:54. Cool, 2:01 for lap 3 should do it.
Of we go on lap 3. The day had gotten pleasantly warmer, so I ditched the vest and proudly showed off my Mangum Track Club shirt. Still pushing it until the 4 mile aid station (ANY FOOL CAN RUN A 10K RIGHT??). It was around then I started to slow down. Marathon split 4:51. (it did cross my mind at that point that it would have been impressive for my 26.2 mile time to be the illusive 4:44:44. But I didn’t think of that until 4:51 and I had forgotten my time machine. 5 miles in 1:05. OH YEAH – I CAN DO THIS!!!!. Aid #2, grabbed me some of them awesome Pringles. 3.5 left. (ANY FOOL CAN RUN A 5-and-a-bit-K RIGHT?). Then the fade. I knew it would happen, but was happy I had budgeted for it – sometimes, I even amaze myself with my incredible foresight and extreme awesomeness.
Mile 8 of each lap sees that start of a pretty good climb, just about a mile long, and I knew I would have to work it if I didn’t want to see my dreams unceremoniously shattered – it was a tough climb, my run walk pattern, became more of a walk walk plod run pattern. Mile 9-10 is much flatter, so I pushed hard to make up for the time I had lost on the hill. 1/2 mile to go, I knew I could do it. I eased right off, and just walked some – now though it was to kill time. 10 yds from the finish, I saw Ricky, had a chat for 30 seconds, walked to just short of the finish line, and told Mark “not yet”, and counted down from 5 … and …. NOW! and stepped across the line.
Just before crossing the line (Photo: Ricky)
A wonderful spaghetti lunch capped off a great run. Many thanks to the volunteers – Gene, Tim, Frank, Charles, Jamie’s mom and those whose names I have forgotten or don’t know, y’all are why runs like this are special to me, and thank you to Lee for just showing up randomly for the encouragement and photos! And a huge thanks to Mark for putting on such a great run.
So there you have it. My last Derby 50k. Maybe. They have awesome vests for five time finishers. Hmmmm, so perhaps we will call it “probably my last Derby 50k, but almost certainly my last one as a resident of NC”. How’s that?
And now follows a message to all of my friends in the Mangum Track Club, as I start up the process of packing up and heading west. This is truly a wonderful organization. The spirit of the runs and runners will remain with me when I move to my new home. I love the fact that each and every walker and runner is embraced and welcomed by the club, whether you are a ultrarunner or a just like to walk some, whether you are fast or slow, short distance or long distance, I love the fact that there are no dues or committees, no politics or rules. It is awesome that the only requirement to being a member is the ability to walk or run the 15 miles from Mangum to The Dog Pen in Ellerbe, you don’t need sponsorships or someone to nominate you. Thank you one and all. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Y’all have motivated me, inspired me and given me more joy as a runner, more friendships than you will ever know.
Coming soon MTC (west) WTF? LOL!