The race was a very casual atmosphere similar to my 50 mile race in Nevada in April. We actually ended up starting around 6:37 instead of the posted start time of 6:30. I approached the start line with the other runners thinking about my mindset for this race. I decided that if this was an easy flat trail course, I would run the entire 50 mile race. However, if there ended up being a lot of short up and down climbs that would wear on my legs, I would cut the race short. I didn't want to jeopardize the race I had planned for on the 17th. The course seemed fine at the on-set. I was on my planned pace of 6 mile per hour. I ran the first 5, and walked the 6th mile with a total time of about 55 minutes. Once I started to run again, a couple things changed. The course became much more up and down, single track, and I was stuck behind a group of runners for several miles. It was difficult to pass due to the number of runners in front of me and the terrain. I settled in at a 10:30 pace for the next few miles which was discouraging. I could no longer stick with my planned run 5 walk 1 paces I had wanted to maintain. The course became very hilly at this point as well. Not gradual, long elevation gains and losses, but quick up and downs that I'm not particularly good at running. On top of this, my water bottle actually did have a leak, so even after refilling it at an aid station, I had no water within about 200 yards. This was really discouraging. To make a long story short, I decided at about mile 18 that I would stop the race at mile 21. My main reason was that I knew this was going to be an 10:30 - 11:00 hour run if I continued on, and this would without a doubt impact my race at Headlands. The next factor was my inability to carry water with me. I didn't want to risk dehydration. So, I decided to take the safe option, which even after all consideration was a very difficult decision to make mentally, and stopped at mile 21.
I had mixed emotions about stopping. I still have a feeling of being a quitter, which is a hard feeling to overcome no matter what justifications I give myself for stopping. I hope to redeem myself next Saturday with a strong race at Headlands. This week will consist of little running and lifting. Mostly stretching and resting to make sure I am fully recovered.
With the exception of my personal issues, The Dawg Gone Long Run would have been a great race to run. I will definitely consider it again next year. Everyone was friendly and helpful, aid stations were well stocked, and there was some type of aid station about every 3 miles. Hopefully next year they will plan on having finisher awards. I believe they only had awards for the top male and female. It would be nice to get a finisher award for completing a challenging race such as this.