(photo courtesy of Peter Lubbers)
Here's a shot of the lineup behind me at the start:
First few miles are pretty flat and simple, and I was trying to keep my pace in the 8:30-8:40 range:
As hard as I tried, though, my overall pace slipped down to about 8:20-8:25. Kept an eye on the Garmin; it was usually less blurry than this:
Came on to our first lake views:
And heading into the middle miles,the sun started hitting pretty hard:
My plan for the "Hill From Hell" was to slow down, run as long as I could, then take 20-breath walk breaks. Worked pretty well - watched my pace slip back to 8:45 or so as I ticked off the elevation with the help of the signposts:
Swept around Emerald Bay, used the same tactic on the second big hill (pace up to 8:55,) then ran the downhill super-scenic section:
This last section has been my downfall every year - the two big hills take it out of me so much that I have to walk a little in the last 5 flat miles. Disappointing - had I run it in, I'm sure I could have had a PR. But I did enjoy the themed aid stations - here is the "North Pole," complete with Christmas tree:
And "Hogwarts," crewed by witches and wizards:
I was hoping to get a better picture up the finish chute, but here's the final few feet:
Here's the graph of my elevation and pace - all the pace spikes in the last flat part are where I lost my PR. I did finish under 4:00, though, at 3:56 and a second or two. Pretty happy with that despite the pain.
Caught a wave from Gretchen coming into the finish - the women's winner! Amazing. Chatted for a bit with Peter, then moseyed my way back to the shuttle buses and napped on my way back to the casino and my car. Stuck in a traffic jam (motorcycle accident) for about 40 minutes on my way home, too - lot of time in the car.