We were greeted with a beautiful, crisp autumn morning for the start of the Derby 50K Ultra. Three 10.5 mile loops with a mix of paved and dirt road awaited us as we set off promptly at 8 am. With my running partner Hannah still recuperating from an ankle injury, I had talked my fried Mika into joining me for the race, which would be her first ultra.
Lap two was a little slower, and we took our time navigating the rolling hills. The temperature was rising, but there was a nice little breeze to help keep things cool. I carried my hand held, as there were three aid stations along the course with food, drink and awesome volunteers. I was concerned about how the body would feel with all the road running, but everything was holding up fine. Mika was having some ankle issues, and was going to change shoes at the end of lap two.
Around mile 23, I felt strong and picked up the pace. Mika's ankle felt a little better after the shoe change, but it still bothered her. She had told me to go on ahead. I knew she was still in good shape and would finish, no problem. So off I went. I ran a little while with my friend Jimbo, and we crossed the 26.2 mile mark, just before we turned onto the dirt road. I was still feeling good and kept running along the dirt road stretch. Leaving the aid station at the end of the dirt road, I headed out for the final push. There was a steady incline before the course flattened out for the last 1.5 miles to the finish. I ran/walked the incline, then picked up the pace again for the home stretch. Making the final right turn, I had a half mile to go to reach the community center and the finish.
I made it. Right around the six hour mark, which was my goal. I was happy. I was even happier when I saw Mika cross the finish line 20 minutes later! We were then treated to an awesome meal of pasta and all types of yummy stuff provided by the local "Church Ladies". A great ending to an awesome day!