I actually started on time this year, so it was went better than last year right from the start : ) The race last year saw all sorts of bad weather but this year was nearly perfect for running. The temperatures for the day reached into the mid to upper 50s with overcast conditions and while it was a bit breezy in exposed areas, most of the trail is through heavily forested areas that provided plenty of wind block. There were a few showers but nothing that amounted to much and the trails stayed in good condition all day. Leading up to the race, my preparation had been steady but minimal so I had expectations of focusing on having fun rather than going out hard. Paige decided to run the 50K version of the race (her race report can be found here) so I was on my own but early on, I saw fellow CHUG Ed Kelly and latched on to him for the next several miles. It was great catching up with Ed and there was plenty catching up to do. Somewhere before the Rice Lake AS, we got separated and I settled in with a train of unknown runners for a bit as we cruised along the single track. This section is one of my favorites in the area with a lot of rocky sections, some steep inclines and all single track. Brian and Kelly were at the Hwy 12 AS with the pups, seeing them is always a lift. I felt good and the easy pace early on was paying off as my energy held steady and my body remained strong. At some point during the middle section, I ran into Jack, a friend from Iowa City. This race is turning into our annual reunion of sorts and I always look forward to it. I was getting reports from folks along the trail that Paige had had a great race and finished third in her race – wow, she’s getting fast! When we hit the Horserider’s AS, Brelly was there cheering on runners along with Deanna, I stopped to chat for a minute and grab some food. Then it was off for the Emma Carlin turnaround. I was feeling the miles, but holding together pretty well for this late in the race. I decided I was going to push it a little on the way back, it was only nine miles back so even if I blew up, I knew I could still finish. I passed a few people but mostly ran alone. It felt good to be moving a little faster and I was started to get excited to finish so I could see my soon-to-be-wife and hear about her race. I finished much stronger than last year even though this year’s time was a few minutes slower. Paige was waiting there at the finish and I quickly got the story of her race before heading to join the others in the post race festivities. This has always been a fun and well run race but it seems to get better each year. Congrats to my (now) wife on her awesome race!