I got a late start on my trip to
Howl at the Moon is an 8 hour timed race. My main goal was to cover 50k, so I could call it an ultra. I was far from recovered from Burning River, but I felt good enough to run. The course is a 3.29 mile loop consisting of about 1 mile of roads and the rest gravel or grass. There is only one hill to speak of in each loop. It was steep but very short, about 25 yards long. Other than that the course was flat and runnable.
My strategy was to run at a normal pace for the first 3 laps (roughly 10 miles) then walk and run the rest of the way to cover 50k in the 8 hour time limit. I felt pretty good when I started running. I was able to keep up a 9:50 pace for the first 5 laps (16.45 miles) then I started my walk/run.
I thought I would be walking a lot more than running for the rest of the race but I didn’t feel like walking for very long periods of time so I was still doing a good amount of running. When I completed my 6th lap I realized that my walk/run was a lot faster than I thought it would be. I at this point I thought I would be able to complete the 50k distance very easily in under 7 hours with this walk/run strategy. As I continued on laps 7 and 8, I thought I might be able to do it in 6:30. It was surprising, because I was going about as casual as I could. I could definitely feel the 100 miles from last week, but I didn’t have any pain in my legs, just muscle fatigue. When I started the 10th lap I looked at my watch and saw that If I just ran two 10 minute miles I could reach the 50k mark in sub 6 hours. Those 2 miles were pretty tough, as I was tired at that point but I passed 50k in 5:58.
I don’t know when it became so easy to run a sub 6 50k but it was a nice feeling. I walked the rest of the 10th lap then decided to take a rest. I had 1.5 hours left. When the clock gets down to 30 minutes they open a short course which is a .25 mile out and back. I was going to rest for an hour until they opened that and run a couple more miles. About 20 minutes into my rest I saw Rosie about to start another loop, She had been at Mohican and
She asked me if I wanted to go out on another loop with her. It didn’t take much arm-twisting, I decided to join her. We ran/walked that lap while we talked about or running. She is a very experience runner, with many 100 miler finishes and she is just a really nice person. We finished that loop 30 seconds before they opened the short course, perfect! The short course was all on grass and didn’t have very good footing. I went out and back four times. When I got back the fourth time there were only 4 minutes left on the clock. I was pretty worn out at this point but I thought I would see if I could cover the last ½ mile in less than four minutes. I finished up with about 15 seconds spare, Bringing my 8 hour total to 38.69 miles. Not bad one week after a hundred. I’m not sure what I could have gotten on fresh legs, maybe 45 or so. I was happy with the race, glad that I was able to take it easy but still reach my goals.
Are you wondering how Marla did? She won the women’s race, it wasn’t even close. She ended up with something like 51.5 miles, finishing second overall! What a freak! I was happy for her, but I wasn't suprised. I think she was the only one who didn't think she would break 50 miles.