As soon as heard about this race I knew I wanted to run it. This is a 40ish mile race through Letchworth park. Put on the best of race directors, Eric and Sheila Eagan.
A year ago I tried to run the mighty mosquito a second time and gave up around 33 miles (then did another 5ish miles helping out a relay team). I just wasn’t seeing the point of doing the full 99 miles a second time once I was actually in the race. Following life got annoying which made an easy scapegoat to not do real training. And it seemed like every day I was trying to start eating healthy again. I did get in some 15 milers in. And even a 20+ miler at High Tor where I was planning on a shorter run so I didn’t bring water and ended up drinking out of a creek on the BHT. I was relying on a outdated base to make it through this race.
On race day, I was up before the alarm, and my father in law whose driving me was up even before me. I was concerned it might be an issues to wake up Carter, one of my sons, but he got up they kindly dropped me off at the finish line. Then onto a bus with some of my trail running friends to the starting line. As I prepare to exit the bus the shoulder strap on my drop bag breaks (I thought about sewing it when packing the bag earlier in the week, I ended up sewing it back on the day after the race instead).
The first 2ish miles were weird since we went in one direction just to come back to the start, but I guess it helped thin the runners out before we got onto narrower trails. I ended up running near Sean Storie and Dave Cornell for a good set of miles at the start. After a few miles there was about a group of 15 of us sticking near each other. I had to pee and once we hit the most amazing waterfall on the course I had to take a leak and it took so long I lost the group I was running with.
Soon afterward I was ended running with Laura Howard off and on throughout the first 20 miles. Also we caught up with Dave Cornell a few times. I don’t even remember aid station #1, but aid stations #2 was quite amazing! I filled up one water bottle with tailwind and one with water, and it was my first time ever drinking the stuff but I wanted to see how it was in case I wanted it later in the race.
As I was pulling into aid station #3 I recognized Ben Murphy right before the stairs so I couldn’t run to catch up since no running on the stairs. I ate my packed lunch of kielbasa, bacon, little weiners, and sprite. Added a buff. Packed more meat into my pockets just like I had in the first half. I headed out after Ben and before Laura. I was feeling ok for 20 miles but on the way up after the footbridge I started getting doubts about the rest of the race. How far do I have to run before I can walk it in? But I soon got distracted from negative throughts being on trail 6A, my favorite Letchworth trail going into this race. Of all the race miles, I only knew a few miles before aid station #3 and trail 6A, I wanted to keep most of the race a surprise for race day.
Once we hit the gravel road those negative thoughts came back. What do I need to do to finish? It wasn’t even physical, it was completely mental. But a few minutes on that road and I just wanted to run. Drank extra and refilled my bottle at the water spigot at the end of the gravel road. And up the hill where some hiking boys gave high fives and encouragement. At precisely 50 minutes after leaving aid #3, I was like I got time to walk 10 minutes. Again, mental fatigue. Not even a minute and Laura passes me and I decide to run with her and ran about 30 minutes before I slowed down my pace. With 2 miles to the next aid station I run out of water. With a mile to the next aid station I decide to drink from one of the clean looking creeks. The people behind asked if it was “safe to drink?” and I responded very unassuringly.
When I hit aid station #4, I had a good pace to this point and knew I could walk it in at this point. But I was thirsty so I hung around a bit to drink some coke and extra water before heading out. If one of the comfy chairs was available, I might have stayed longer. I saw Ben head out and decided to catch up to him to hang with him for a bit. He was walking fast (at times I had to run to keep up with walking on certain sections). But this seem liked a great pace, nice and steady.
At the aid stations they mentioned 4 miles to the unmanned water. I ran out at 5 miles. It was really around 7 miles out. Good thing I was walking because I would have ran out quicker. I really thought a 12 ounce handheld and 16 ounce waist bottle would be enough. It wasn’t even that hot out. Ben didn’t stop at the unmanned water so I ran to catch up to him after filling and eating some meat. If I wanted to be miserable I probably could have ran the rest of the course. But my goal was to enjoy the race. And here, walking and talking with Ben was so much better than miserable late miles running alone. I was already thinking that I need to train better for next year so I could “runjoy” the course at a faster pace.
Aid station #5 was a beautiful sight. Bustling with runners who passed us or about to pass us. So many helpful volunteers. At our walking pace if was questionable if we would get under 12 hours. Since my watch already died, I was using the FLT mile markers to plan when I run to the finish. My goal was to run the last mile and a halfish to ensure the sub 12. And that running that final part felt great.
I definitely ran the race slower than I thought when I first signed up for the race. But I enjoyed it way more than I ever imagined.
Thanks to everyone who helped MOTG be an awesome race!