It was a cold, beautiful morning. Temps were in the high 20s-low 30s at the start. I settled into a comfortable pace, reminding myself of the course's deceptively difficult stretches. As the sun came out, I hooked up with Miles, a lawyer from Houston with whom I ran part of the race last year. We were soon joined by Clea, an accomplished ultrarunner and registered nurse from Austin. (Clea would eventually be the first female to cross the finish line.) The three of finished the first lap in just over 2 hoursBy the second lap, the clouds had dissipated and the sun had crept out. Clea and I lost Miles (the lawyer, not the distance), but she and I stayed together, chatting about this, that, and everything else. Clea remarked that ultrarunners were kind of like the characters on Cheers. Different backgrounds, different stories, but we all come together for races and share our lives with each other during the hours that we are on the trail.
About 6 miles into the second lap, we came across Donaldo, who was hiking the Waco 1-0, a single, 10 mile lap of the course. This was his first trail attempt and longest hike/run in years. At the young age of 63, he looked strong and happy.Toward the end of the second lap, I bid Clea farewell. We had run lap two a bit slower than the first lap, and I was feeling good. I decided to pull out the iPod and push it a bit on lap three.I ran most of the third lap, including some of the hills. (I typically walk even the slightest incline on a trail run. That had been my m.o. for the first two laps, but I decided not to pull any punches on lap three.) Before I knew it, I had reached the bamboo -- a sign that the end was near.But first I had to climb THE STAIRS. Ugh. A new addition by our sadistic race director. At the conclusion of each lap, we had to climb some brutal stairs to the top of a hill before descending the gentle decline to the finish.I finished in 6 hours, 19 minutes, 42 seconds at a pace of 12:13 per mile. 19 out of 38 50K finishers. More importantly, I bested last year's time by nearly 34 minutes.
Donaldo also did great!
We'll be back again next