Pine Mountain 40-Miler Rocks!

Update: Pine Mountain 40-mile race results

Is it smart to run a 40-mile trail race nine days after a road marathon?

Probably not, but the Pine Mountain 40 just sounded too tasty to pass up.

“40 mile ultra marathon on the beautiful Pine Mountain Trail system of FDR State Park. This GUTS event will test your endurance and your ankles over rocky single-track trails. The trail follows the ridge line, going up and over it for the duration. Depending on water levels, the few water crossings could be dry or ankle deep. You’ll experience both pine & hardwood forests, rock outcroppings, waterfalls, beaver ponds, and CCC fish hatcheries”

I ask, what would you have done?

Yep, I got on the waiting list.

The first half was heaven

We hit the trail with just enough light to bail on the headlamps which was perfect, since I had forgotten mine anyway.

From the first steps on the trail, the biggest challenge of the day would become glaringly evident.


…and lots of ‘em.

…hidden under a thick layer of leaves that blanketed the trail for 95% of the course.

but, what can I say, I love that stuff.

I felt great at the start and went out a little faster than I probably should have, but whatever …it felt good cruising through the forest with other runners, chattin’ it up, swapping race stories and pointing out trail obstacles.

I cruised into the halfway point feeling very strong. My New Balance 790‘s were holding up well, and this pleased me since this was going to be the longest distance I have run in the trail flat to date. I feared sore feet, but it never happened.

People were busting butt everywhere. I saw people with raspberries on their heads from smacking trees, and a dude with a busted up, bloody nose staggering along the trail …and to keep it real, your humble narrator took his fair share of nasty spills as well.

It’s all part of the game.

20 miles down, 20 miles to go

“hmmm… where’d all my spunk go?”

I started to wane a bit into miles 25, 26, 27. I was catching myself heel-striking and leaning back on descents. My 100% effort approach was rolling in at about 60%.

I got a little crabby, but passed a couple people, while also getting passed myself, and around mile 35, I started to perk up a little.

“Let’s ensure an 8-hour-something”

And I started to push it.

Pushing it actually felt better than slothing.

This has been happening to me lately. I have a great beginning, suffer horribly in the middle, and then finish the race strong. I get some kind of mental lift about three to five miles from any finish and this lift produces strength and effort that I could not seem to tap into during some of those previous middle miles.

Why can’t I just stay even throughout?

And the clock reads 8:49

Just like that, I pop’d outta the woods and there was the race clock, plus a few people clapping and hootin’, and my buddy Jason, who beat me by 20 minutes. {way to go, Jason}

The winning male finished the course in an unbelievable 6:13, and the winning female, 8:27.

I loved the race.

Thank you to RD, Spyder Tynes and the GUTS crew. The volunteers were exceptional, the aid stations plentiful, and the organization was typical top-notch GUTS.

Everything you need. None of the crap you don’t.

Cool finisher fleece and skull cap too.

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Good job. I find that all of my “good” races are strong at the start, terrible in the middle and then strong at the end. I guess if you are going to have a bad stretch, better the middle than at the end.

I like that: “Everything you need. None of the crap you don’t.”

Was that Rockman you were referring to?

Glad you liked :)

Thanks David – sorry for the short and “meat-less” report, but I just couldn’t get into writing for some reason.

Happens, I guess.

Sounds like a good one. Congrats on a nice race so soon after the marathon.

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