Saturday I made my way to Carlisle Massachusetts to run the TARC Fall Classic. I was running the 50K option which ended up being five, 10k loops. I planned to run with Julie and our friend Brenda. It was an extra special day because it was Julie's birthday and we planned to head out for dinner after.
I really love the variety of trails at Great Brook Farm. From the rocky ups and downs, to the fast twisty single track and grassy open fields I enjoyed every minute. My typical 50k pace is around five and a half to six hours. This race took me over eight hours and I was one of the last runners across the finish line along with Julie and Brenda.
I felt great and I am very pleased with the way the day went. Could have I finished faster? Of course, but Julie has a 100 miler next week so we were running together for fun. Her pace was slow and at times she was walking...in fact the three of us walked most of the very last loop just talking and laughing.
When I was younger I cared a great deal about my "time" and my finishes. Now I run solely because it brings me joy. I rarely register to run races competitively as I prefer just going out for long runs on the weekends. So when I grabbed my number Saturday the goal was to stick with Julie for the duration.
Once I was out there Julie shared that she felt great but had "lead legs" so she was going to run slower then usual. I stuck with her but at times I just felt the need to explode and run my legs out. Julie said to run ahead without her and then wait around for her to finish and head out together. I decided to run three of the five loops at my pace. So for loop two, three and four I left Julie after we started the loops and ran my pace right up to the finish line only to stop a few feet shy, turn around and run backwards on the course until I met up with Julie and run in with her. I ended up doing about 6 extra miles for those loops as well as confusing many athletes. One moment I am far behind them, and the next I am passing them all only to turn around and pass them again as I run away from the finish line.
Sure I could have finished this course at least two hours faster, but then I wouldn't have got in the extra 6 miles and I would have missed time on the trails with my friends.
When the results came up I was listed as dead last...a second after Julie.
Am I a dead last ultrarunner?
if I choose to be.
Do I care about my "ranking"?
To me it is truly about the journey...
and not the destination.