I ran into Adam chase before the race today. Michelle Barton and Adam won the mixed category last year. He told me about the 2:09 marathoner and just how serious the competition was in the men's open race. Because today's stage does not suit our strengths as runners, I told myself (but not Sean) that top 10 would be good. Adam said the same and he knows the competition better than me.
We started a bit hot. Both of us breathing pretty hard. We started at 8,000 and ran most of the race at 8,700 ft. We settled onto a just over threshold pace and ran in 6th for a bit. Before the first and only control at mile 7, a couple teams passed us. We hung just behind them through the control. I surged ahead to get in and out fast (Sean thought I was surging for the camera). We dropped nuun tabs, grabbed a gel and were gone. I looked back and couldn't see 9th place. Up until then we ran the dirt road side by side. For the last 6 miles, I sat right behind Sean, basically drafting him. He was setting the pace and I was just holding on. I told myself I just needed to suffer for at most another 45 mins. So I stared at the Mountain Hardwear bolt on the back of his Montrail jersey and got to suffering.
We finished in 8th overall in 1hr 34 mins.