I had stuck to my training plan and was able to finish, however not at the pace I wanted to run. There is no substitute for actually running technical trails. I had the distance down, but the extra energy used to run the technical parts wore me down. I will definitely do some real trail running before Black Warrior 50K.
The race re-cap.
The race consists of a series of loops south (less technical and flatter) and north (technical with more relief). The race consists of laps utilizing both loops.
My first lap I started out among friends. I felt pretty strong and ran accordingly. The south loop is easier but seems endless. At the end of this loop the trail run right by a bathroom so I made my one and only nature break.
The 2nd lap wore me down some more, but I manged a pretty good pace. The aid station was looking pretty good by now and I stopped and stayed a little longer each loop through.
By the 3rd lap my legs were on fire and some cramping started near the end of the north loop. Eric Patterson happened along near the beginning of the the north loop. The interaction helped me pass the time and motivate me through this last technical part of the race. I downed a pretzel and salty crackers to help me through the cramps. I was alone most of the south loop but managed to run a fair pace most of the way. Mentally I was able to muscle through the pain in my legs.
By the numbers: Officially I placed 23rd with a time of 5 hours 20 minutes and 30 seconds.
I have a 5K race and the Rocket City Marathon next. Before I run another trail race I will definitely run some trail practice.