By mile 3 I had moved comfortably into 2nd place with 1st only 25 yards ahead. We ran along through the trees on jeep roads slowly gaining elevation as we ran up Iowa Gulch. At mile 7 I caught up to Ethan Linck. We continued up Iowa gulch taking in the breathtaking beauty. What a climb! The trail continued up to nearly 12,000 feet before we gained the Iowa Gulch road and started our decent. The Iowa Gulch road ends at the base of 14er Mount Sherman. Ethan and ran comfortably down the road perhaps pushing the pace a little but I can usually use some downhill pounding. We continued rolling in a controlled manner up to Ball Mountain and around it. Both of us felt comfortable and neither of us tried to drop the other. We ran into the Stump Town aid station, the half way mark. Our time was 3:25. Not bad for a leisurely stroll of a training run.
We turned around ready to repeat our steps. We had about a 20 minute over third place and we both seemed confident yet patient of our running ability. That being said, I started to notice confidence rise in Ethan. It was his day and he was ready for a race. We continued to run as I started to look for crack in Ethan’s demeanor. I was content not to push the pace and just keep a steady pace. Meanwhile I stayed patient and hoped eventually to wear down my opponent. Alas, it was to be the other way around.
We sent back up Iowa Gulch matching each other step for step. At the top we turned back onto the rocky jeep trail and stared our fast pace decent. Within a few minutes I started to cramp up. Ethan must have seen my obvious straining because he instantly took off. We came to the last aid station with Ethan leading by a measly 10 seconds. He blew through the aid station and I stopped for some much needed ice, liquid, and substance. I was there for no more than a 1 minute before I took off again.
I figured I was only a minute back however I never saw Ethan again. He was running scarred and therefore quite fast. I followed the course feeling decent and half expecting Ethan to show up around the next bend. I kept up my pace and finished 2nd in a respectable 7:13:08. Results can be found here: http://results.chronotrack.com/event/results/event/event-6402?lc=en
I was pleased with my run. It was a solid training day that boosted confidence and made me think of how short a 50 mile race really is. A mentally tough place to be, and right where I want to be.