I hope I'll age gracefully. I know it's inevitible, but I don't think about it much, perhaps beacuse I'm in denial. This was my 8th running of the Mac Forest 50k. 8 minutes faster than last year, but it was the farthest back I've ever placed at 6th.
This is one of the few races I focus on each year, thinking of it as my home-course. No one has ever won the over-all twice. The age group record is fast, but not as fast as I ran it at age 39.
I pushed harder than I hoped to early on to try and keep the leader in sight. There are stretches that often are rough- I often languish somewhat in "the maze" around the half way point and got caught by the guy who ended up 2nd. There are stretches that usually are good- I don't hardly hurt the first 10 miles, the long steady uphill to Dimple has been good to me (I caught back that same guy there), and I pulled into the lead coming down Dan's trail through mile 20.
I had this hope of hitting the Chip Ross aid station in first for my daughters, even if I wasn't going to be able to hold it. Turns out I couldn't even hold the lead as soon as the trail turned uphill on the back side of Chip Ross. So I adjusted my goals to limiting the number of guys that passed me. Andrew, then Lewis and Dan are all nice guys that I see frequently as these events, but I hate seeing them pull away. There are stretches that have been good some years and bad others.
I have this recurring hope that I'll feel strong through it, because that has happened before, even though statistically that's unlikely, especially since I was pushing earlier. Heading up the horse trails was worse than usual. The section from the gates to the high-point on vinyard mountain has been very long and horrible some years, and felt short and really great others. At least I didn't vomit this year.
It was fun seeing Pam and my girls on the course and at the finish. They made daisy leis for me. This left me motivated to train hard and push harder next year... after I take some time off.