Oh boy do I suck at pacing on trails. I was rather overexcited at the beginning and ran the first mile like a road half marathon. My initial philosophy was to open it up on the flatter parts like the southern portion and just slog it through the most technical parts. After today, I'm convinced I'd be better off relaxing on the flatter portions and surging on the technical parts since that plays to my strengths better. Anyway, I was keeping up a good clip through the orange to darling house segment, but I knew in the back of my mind it wasn't sustainable. I eased off a tad as I got closer to the dreaded climb up to the northern terminus, but I don't think it helped. I found myself walking up virtually the whole way. I rested my hand on the tree with the two blue blazes side by side at the junction with the Q trail and checked my watch. I really should have turned off autopause because my watch paused for 2 seconds at the very beginning of my run, but the time I saw was 54:10, so 54:12 for S2N. On the way down from the northern junction, I found my feet were heating up from friction. It was as though I passed some kind of threshold point because this quickly became a significant issue for me the entire way back. The bottom of my feet, specifically the balls of my feet, would just burn every time I stepped on a slanted rock and my foot slid forward or sideways in my shoe. I had actually tightened my shoes extra tight before driving over to west rock, but by the time I parked my feet were numb so I had decided to loosen my laces to even more than usual to make sure there was plenty of blood flow. Maybe I loosened everything a bit too much. Nevertheless, I managed to sustain a decent pace for the first half of the N2S segment, but I was definitely settling in more than I had while traveling north. By the time I passed the darling house feeder, I was very much longing for a sip of water. As the trail dragged on ever further, this turned into a primary motivation to keep moving. I took a particularly demoralizing fall/collapse on a luckily rock free muddy patch near the road crossing by the cell tower, and just laid there for a second before getting up. Soon, I found myself at the bottom of the notch above heroes tunnel and gazed despairingly at the last significant incline of the trail. The speedy miles at the beginning were catching up to me, and a short way up I suddenly felt the outside of my right hip siezing up. Worried I might find myself unable to continue, I just walked my way to the top which I'd never had to do on this incline before. My body must have thought this meant the race was over and let my adrenaline drop because I felt unexpectedly and almost deliriously exhausted as the trail flattened out again, causing me to briefly consider walking all the way back. But after 30 seconds of running again, I was back in the zone. I reveled in the glory of 30 meters of flat road as I passed by Judge's cave, and then it was back to the trapp for the final stretch. By this point, I knew I was quite comfortably on track for the FKT, so the only thing on my mind was just getting to the end and drinking water. I was also kicking myself for not bringing up my water bottle on my warmup from the parking lot at the bottom, but I tried my best to push the thought out of my mind until I was done. Finally, at 1:52:32 (my watch autopaused for 3 seconds on the way back), I stepped foot on the flat, secure ground of the empty parking lot and hobbled over to the cliffside to enjoy the view. Overall I'm satisfied with my time, and it was a great experience for my first FKT!
out & back
1h 52m 32s