I decided on the traditional start time of midnight. Took my obligatory tower picture and took off. The first half is mostly downhill and flat with a few hills to keep it interesting. I took it easy since it was dark and didn't want to risk a fall. Got to the FAC at 8:09 feeling good. Everything was going well until just after the Rattlesnake Lodge area. That's where the real climbing starts. The climbs wore me out, and I realized I wasn't recovered from Massanutten 10 days earlier. From that point on, I just tried to maintain an average 20 minute pace, which didn't happen. The climb from the Walker's Knob Overlook parking was just brutal, technical, and seemed to be never-ending. I also got to where I couldn't chew/swallow solid food well and started feeling really nauseated. Luckily I had Tailwind and gels. 5 miles before the finish just before the Buncombe Horse Trail it started raining unexpectedly. I didn't have rain gear, but I managed to stay warm enough just moving. With less than a mile to go my waist lamp died without any warning, so I had to climb the most technical trail of the route with my phone in one hand for a light and my poles in the other. When I got to the summit, my friend Josh Folan was waiting for me to take the obligatory photo. He brought a chair and Coke which was heavenly. I'm so happy I finished, but I will never run 2 hard efforts like this so close together again.
19h 53m 29s