Yesterday I ran the Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50K for the third year in a row. I've run well here the past 2 years, but I had a particularly good day this year and ran 4:42. That was good for second place and a 13 minute PR in the 50K.
The MGM 50K is a fantastic VHTRC event that has a solid post race party. I almost didn't show up this year since I had been traveling nonstop for work from Tuesday through Friday and was exhausted. But I managed to drag myself out of bed and figured I'd give the run a shot.
The course is 12 miles on the Bull Run trail, 7 miles on the unmarked and unnavigable "Do Loop", and the same 12 miles back. My legs felt pretty good at the start, and I took off at a decent pace feeling pretty relaxed.
I was running out front with 3 other guys for a while. My main concern in this race is always how the hell to make it through the Do Loop. 2 of the other guys were on the course for the first time, but the other guy said he knew the Do Loop pretty well. My plan was to try to stick with him, but he started to push the pace and take off after the first aid station at mile 5.5. I didn't want to push too hard, so my hope was that I could stay close enough that I would catch up at the aid station right before the Do Loop. He was my only hope!
I came off the Bull Run trail in 1:45, which was right on 8:45 pace. Luckily my plan of catching up at the aid station worked, and we headed off into the Do Loop. Our fearless leader navigated us through successfully, and man did we haul some ass. We ran a lot of it at sub 8 pace and ran the whole thing in just over 8 minute pace. That was a real stretch for me on that tough terrain, but I had no choice but to keep hanging on. I was worked over by the end of the Do Loop, but man did we make good time!
I came into the aid station again and was thrilled to see my good buddy Greg! I haven't seen him in a while, so it was great to catch up. His dog Ziggy was also there and was the life of the party as usual.
Given how exhausted I was, my plan was to dial it back and just try to survive. But somehow I managed to crank out a great pace and ran the six miles from 19 to 25 in 8:40 pace, which was even faster than my pace on that section on the way out.
I rolled into the last aid station at 25.5, refilled the water bottle, and grabbed some Coke and a cookie. I got back on the trail but was just toast at this point. I haven't been doing many long runs since I've focused more on speed, and I just couldn't hold this kind of pace beyond 25 miles. I pushed as best as I could and still managed to keep it together somewhat. The last 3/4 of a mile is straight uphill, and my legs started cramping up. Luckily that didn't happen until very close to the end.
It was quite a relief when I made it back in 4:42 with a big PR. My stomach was great the whole time, and the new system continues to work extremely well. The speedwork definitely paid off, and I have realized that I should do a lot of speedwork even when training for the longer stuff.
The only down side is that I had to leave before the beer and pizza got there. Quite a tragedy, but you can't win em all!