This has been on my bucket list for a long time. I've been feeling a lot of urgency to take my shot before this new crop of college guys lowers the time. ML said that for my birthday present she'd crew me, so I decided to give it a try. We got a 5 am text from Alex saying he was up and packing a bag, too. So I had TWO aid station volunteers helping me! They had water and blocks waiting at Rt 42, Downs Rd, Q/R junction, and Whitney. So much better than wearing a hydration pack! ML is particularly pleased with herself because she was able to time the walk signal on Whitney perfectly so I was able to just run straight across the road. I felt pretty good the whole time, and my legs weren't as trashed as I was expecting after so many low mileage weeks. I was feeling ready to be done at the tower, but thankfully at that point there were no more big climbs. I found a nice rhythm on the way down to Chestnut Ln and was surprised to see Jamie with ML and Alex! (Today is Jamie's birthday too!) In my mind, it was supposed to be all downhill after Chestnut, but there's a short 100 foot climb that I forgot about. Ugh... I was out of gas so I took a few seconds to walk, but then suddenly Alex was behind me scolding me like a drill sergeant to keep running. Thanks Alex, it was just what I needed. After that climb, it was finally all downhill. I'm very happy about this run. I was super pessimistic going in as it's always intimidating racing against Neil.
A couple notes. There have been two big redirects since the tornado. The first is at the North end of Downs road. This shortens the course, and makes it about three minutes faster. The second redirect is in Mad Mare. This lengthens the course and adds about three minutes. So hopefully it's a wash. Also, there's a small disjointed horseshoe shaped bit of trail in the SW corner of Sleeping Giant. I stuck with precedent for the one-way and didn't include it.