Race Report: Pisgah Mountain Trail Race 23k

Got my map. Got my race swag coffee mug. READY!

The Pisgah Mountain Trail Race 23k this past September 18 was a joy to run. There is also a 50k option, so this is the closest ultramarathon to my home. 
23k equals about 14 miles, which makes it a little over a half marathon distance. This was also a rugged trail race, so I was expecting to finish in around 3 hours--maybe more.
This was my third trail race for 2016 after the West River Trail Run and the Vegan Power 25k. I really adore trail racing by now! Every course is so different; every experience is so unique. And this was definitely my best trail race of the year. I felt good the whole time. When I dug deep there was always more energy and strength there to tap into. I never "hit the wall" or reached that point where I had to cajole and bully myself into continuing. I had a great race the whole way! And I finished in under 3 hours at 2:55, which made me really happy.
A few other notes:
Pisgah is a gorgeous state park about 15 minutes from my house and I had NEVER BEEN THERE BEFORE. I can hardly believe this fact. At 13,300 acres, it seems to be pretty large (for New England) and has plenty of fabulous trails. The race was a great introduction to the park.
The race was a nice loop with some great ascent & descent work. The 50k was an even wider swath of trails. A New Hampshire park in September is a sight to behold—the day was a little rainy but the foresty trails and ponds were quite gorgeous.
For the first time, I used only GU Roctane energy drink. I've been using this stuff for over a year now, but this was my first time to not try mixing in water or other nutrition like gels or bars or ramen. And this was the first race where I never crashed or felt tired... coincidence? My body just seems to love GU Roctane energy drink.

Above: my vertical data from the race. The minimum elevation was 794' and the max was 1339', with a total course gain of 1838'. I spent a lot of my training time this summer running up and down hills, and here's where it really paid off. I also LOVED that the last 2 miles or so were mega-downhill.
I'd love to do this race again. And I'd love to get more familiar with Pisgah State Park—it is a real local gem!