Ignorance is bliss. Good thing I didn't know how much of a roller coaster this thing was. It was either up or down or running through the grass in a field while baking in the sun. Good thing I don't know about pacing for trails (or XC), I just race and let the chips fall where they may.
I started too fast, as in half marathon pace for a full. After 5K that wasn't sustainable so it was back to reality. Somewhere before mile 2 another runner pulled along side and we both did a double take. It was OB from GLRR. We chatted a bit and then got down to business running the thing. He had run it before and knew what we were in for. He did a great job coaching and coaxing me through the race. I think we pushed and pulled each other along as the race just got tougher and tougher. By about 4 miles we had settled into our position and only passed two more runners doing the 25K from that point. None passed us. The final 5 miles were horrible with hills. We kept going down this steep hill. Normally I like that but knew we had to run back up it all. The downs always seemed too fast and the ups were long grinds. Climbing back up that mess I lost some contact with OB. He had been climbing better and I'd been defending better when it wasn't too steep. Fortunately I reeled him back and with one K to go I really went for it. It was the longest 1 K of my life as it felt like almost 2. With about a mile to go I felt I had the sub 1:50 well in hand but was having some serious doubts in that last K. I had just about blown up with another minute or two to go. Running uphill through the heavy grass felt so heavy. Fortunately I survived at it and finished better than I expected. Without OB I'd have been 5 minutes slower.
I didn't feel that bad immediately but really was in rough shape 2 hours later when we were walking about Freeport. I had to just sit with cold sweats while the family shopped. Looking back I can't think of much I could have done better. The hill training paid off in spades. This was fun but so painful in the end. If I didn't have my family waiting for me I might have signed up and jogged the 50K but that would have been lame compared to racing the 25K all out.
GPS was totally bullshit. This is an established and well measured course. The GPS was a mile off, similar to the single track half I ran earlier this month.