Steamboat Springs: What better place to go run 50 miles in the back country? The Run Rabbit Run 50 started leisurely with no Rabbits taking the lead. Well only a Timmy Rabbit. I took the lead but kept the pace extremely slow and controlled. By mile 2 all runners were nowhere to be seen. My goal was to run the first half of the race based solely on feel. Trying to go way too slow was the game. I felt fantastic. Half way up Mount Werner I ate a Honey Stiner Waffle to supplement my breakfast. At long last I made it to the Mount Werner aid station in 1:07:30 almost identical to a year ago. Finally, I could start rolling along the high forested alpine terrain. I still held back not wanting to push the pace just yet.
I gobbled down a few Honey Stinger Chews and took off with a package of Grapefruit flavored chews. For the next many miles I methodically ate 1 to 2 chews every 20 minutes. I felt fluid and smooth as I glided over the rolling landscape focusing on enjoying hidden lakes, open glades, the vast views, and mostly trying to ignore the race. I ate and ran on. In a 50 mile race one has to stay focus yet also not expend too much energy early on. It is a fine razor edge balancing act. I kept rolling. Every aid station had a different flavor of Honey Stinger Chews: Orange, Pomegranate Passion Fruit, Cherry Blossom, Fruit Smoothie, and others.
Finally I reached the half way mark in 3:47 which was a solid 10 minute lead from last year. I left Rabbit Ears Peak and raced back down the trail I had arduously come up. I saw 2nd and 3rd place. I had about a 10 minute lead on them. I pushed on staying consistent with the goal of staying consistent and continued running. Last year I had not eaten enough and severely bonked in the second half. This year I was going to eat more and keep my energy up. I ran through the mile 28 aid station fueling up getting liquids, salty chips and more Stinger Chews.
I ran on even racing a pack of 4 mountain bikers that were out enjoying the day. I felt good but still did not push the pace. I had to maintain. I power hiked the steepest uphill sections, but overall kept a strong cadence and mushed on. I did feel solid, but one always wonders how close 2nd and 3rd place where.
Finally I bombed down Mount Werner to the finish line winning by over an hour in 7:26:59. I felt solid and had ran 16 minutes faster than last year. My energy stayed consistent with the constant supply of Honey Stinger Chews and my stomach felt great all day. After the race I realized I was 18 minutes away from the course record. Why had I not gone for it? Sometimes you have to run the time first to realize you can run it. This was one of my best 50 mile races, next time I’m running faster!