Last weekend I ran the Stone Cat 50 Mile Trail Race. This is not a race report. I wish it was but I just can't seem to find the time to say everything that needs to be said about this race. I will summarize by saying two things:
1- This was probably the best race of my life.
2- I couldn't have done as well as I did without the help of a lot of people.
I should clarify that I may have an unusual definition of what makes a good race. The 50k race that I ran three weeks ago was not a good race, despite finishing first. Stone Cat was a good race because I set myself a goal that I honestly didn't think I had any chance of coming close to (breaking 8 hours) and even though I didn't meet my goal I came closer than I thought I really could. I usually go into a race with three goals, one very optimistic, one very realistic and one to cover my ass. Typically I fall in the 'realistic' range, but many of my races so far this year have fallen in the 'cover my ass' category. This is the first time I can remember where I actually came close to my optimistic goal.
The other part of what made this such a great race for me is related to #2 above and will take a long time to explain, and will eventually appear in my full race report, but for now I want to thank all the people who helped me come close to reaching my optimistic goal. My fellow Trail Monsters have provided amazing inspiration and have been the best training companions, helping push me to places I never thought I could go. I was also grateful to see so many TM's come down to the race to support me and Mindy as we ran. It makes such an incredible difference to have friends lending a hand and providing encouragement during a long race.
This is a photo that Emma took at mile 45 of the race, just before she started pacing me to the finish. I am very lucky to have her as my wife and in many ways I feel like I owe everything I have achieved in running to her. She was my inspiration to start running, she paced me at my first 10k in 2001 and has been there for every milestone I passed since then. If it weren't for a lingering knee injury brought on by her stellar performance at Pineland earlier this year she would have been out there running with me, or more likely in front of me. For now she still holds the 50 mile record in our household, she has set the bar high but I'm still reaching for it.