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Previous record holder Christof Teuscher said he thought it could "easily" be done in under 8 hours. Running 22 miles to the turn around under record pace felt good and was pleasant if a bit warm. My goal was to set a new FKT but when I hit the halfway point in 3:45, and feeling pretty good, I decided to go for a sub 8 hour time. Plus, Christof said it could be “easily” done! On the way back it was warmer and humid and my legs were feeling the effort. This should not have been a surprise since I trained hard the days leading up to this. There was water along the way but not as much as I would have liked on a warm day. I filled bottles and my stomach at each stream and cooled off.
Miles 30-33 were a low point. My legs were really feeling it now. I was overheated, low on water and trying to conserve. I walked, ate, drank and let my body reset-hoping to get back on record pace soon. After 3 miles of taking it easy and arriving at a stream to rejuvenate, I hit it hard again hoping my body would respond. It did and I was back to pushing hard and trying to do mental math every few miles to make sure I was still on sub 8 hour pace. The last big climb in the Lester Creek section was tough but I pushed hard alternating running and walking the 1200’ of climbing. I ran the downhill after that pretty hard and got to the King’s Mountain trail junction still with some hope of sub 8. Oh that last 3.8 miles hurt! I tried to get myself to run every step but did a few walk breaks when I thought I might pass out. I had a few vivid hallucinations. I saw a pencil that turned into a stick. I saw someone walking toward me but they became a stump. And I definitely saw a black bear running through the woods except I didn’t. I was very happy to see the end and even more happy to get there in under 8 hours.
I'm sure some people could “easily” do that with one set of quotation marks but in my case it looks more like this: """""""easily"""""""! I think this route could “easily” be done in under 7 hours. J