Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hagg Lake 50K race report

What to say about this race? The short of it is that Sharon and I finished in 7 hrs, 0 minutes and 21 seconds. That's slower than I was hoping and expecting, but I suppose the conditions warranted a slower run. This is supposed to be a mud run. And yes, there was mud, lots of mud. But really, the overall factor of this race was the water....the falling rain, the water...err...streams on the trail. It was really wet.

Sharon and I took the early start, which I'm very glad we did, because based on our time for the first loop, about 3:40 (which is actually more than halfway), we would have been pulled. (Now that I think about it, 3:30 for ~17 miles is a pretty strict cut-off.) It was raining, but not too heavily. After the out and back on a gravel road we started the first loop around the lake. The trail conditions reminded me very much of Wildwood. By the time we cut up the road to cross the dam, it was raining pretty hard and it continued raining steadily for the next four hours. The first two sections around the lake had some muddy spots but it really wasn't that bad. The real muddy areas were on the last third, after the final aid station. It was very sloppy, with a lot of deep puddles. One advantage to all the water was that the mud wasn't sticking to our shoes. But it sure was slick. And my feet were soaking, sloshing wet. Our biggest laugh of the day came when Sharon, who was leading, stepped into what looked like a shallow puddle and sunk down almost to her knee. Okay that doesn't read funny, but it was hilarious. For a moment it looked like she was going to be swallowed up into a mud puddle alternative universe. Another funny part was when I started to slide on a steep uphill and I gently put two fingers down, not wanting to plant my whole glove smack in the mud. Sharon was right behind me and sort of had to lift me up to get me going again. That was the closest I went to going down. We may have thrown our backs out from slipping and sliding and twisting, but we didn't go down!

Fortunately we had parked very close to the start, so when we finished the first loop we quickly changed our jackets and gloves. It didn't really matter that much because by the time we got to the first aid station I was wringing out my gloves. I was soaked, and for awhile my fingers were especially cold, even though it wasn't really a cold day. The second time around the course looked like a whole different trail. It was one big stream in many spots and on hills we had run down without a care, we now had to step more gingerly. The good thing is that the second loop went by really quickly. Before long we had arrived at the one mile to go sign. Sharon wanted to have our traditional, near the end of a run Resen, but I looked at my watch and saw we had about 13 minutes to beat 7 hours and told her I wasn't stopping now. So we ran it in and I was pretty sure we'd break 7 hours. But when we crossed the line the clock said 6:00:21 (plus one hour for the early start.) However they may not have synchronized the early and regular starts exactly, because my watch still said 6:59:something. I don't care for myself, but since it was Sharon's first 50K, I told her that she should consider that she beat 7 hours.

At the end we got to chat with Tom R and Maniac Hippo as we warmed ourselves under the heaters. Despite being my worst time, it was probably my best 50k so far. I ate pretzels, pbj and/or fig bars at every aid station and in between ate the sports beans and candied ginger I was carrying. I wore my hydration back which was filled with Ultra. The sports drink served was G2O, which probably would have been fine. But when I refilled my pack after the first loop, I opted to use the Ultra powder I had brought again. I never felt nauseous and had a lot of energy throughout. I'm finally realizing the importance of starting to eat early and then just keeping on eating. I felt some ITB pain in the last few miles, but I attribute that mainly to all the slipping and sliding. I was tired at the end, but I could have kept going. And despite running for miles with a stream inside my shoes, I had no real blisters to speak of.

My next 50k is McDonald Forest. It's hilly so I doubt that there's a PR in store for me there either. My age is working against me, but I would like to get faster. But right now my focus is on the 50 miles in July and being able to finish that distance. Maybe after that I can start working on speed. Or maybe I'm destined to be on the cusp of mid-packer, back-of-the-backer. All I know is that it isn't any less fun back there!

15 comments:

maniac hippo said...

Hey Sarah! it was so awesome to meet you. I had a blast there and I'm glad you sound like you had fun too.

I'm going to remember talking to you face to face, because something tells me that in future runs all I'm going to see is your back, receding into the distance.

Bob Gentile said...

GREAT JOB Sarah...YES sounds wet from what you and Olga have posted about the day...funny about the mysterious puddle that almost took Sharon and the finger tip fall --lol

Well Done to you and Sharon!!

Bob

robtherunner said...

Glad you have a great attitude about running in streams and mud. Prepare yourself for hils, hills, and hills at McDonald Forest. It's brutal, but great. You'll love it. I am sad to miss it this year. I have run it the past three years.

Backofpack said...

Congrats Sarah! Sounds like a sloppy fun run. I know what you mean about something being hilarious on the trail, but not on the blog. I think that things are much funnier on the trail - either because we are giddy or delirious.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

oh sweet, that sounds like fun!!

resen?

Jessica Deline said...

best 50k so far? yay! And yeah I think 17 miles in 3.5 hours is rather strict. glad it was a fun sloppy run!

rick said...

That sounded like a really great run, all that mud, all that water...man I wish I was there. I love the stuff. Last year I was pacing Olga at AR50 and it was like that on the trail parts. Personally I was loving it. I definitely did one of those things where I planted my foot and I sank to mud up to my knees. Sounds like you're run was more fun though. First 50k of the year! Congratulations persevering through the conditions.

Anonymous said...

Sarah-

What do you use to transport your sports drink powder?

hydrateme

olga said...

You guys did awesome! People who ran it many (or all) times said it was the wettest muddiest one. I didn't mind neither mud no rain. But I guess all of it did slow down the finish:)
Yesterday morning, when it was raining heavily again, I couldn't believe I actually enjoyed and almost didn't notice it the day before...

Carrie said...

I know you're used to running in rain and mud, but I found that the times I've run in true rainstorms with rivers running down the street my times are much slower. Everytime. It's the foot placement thing or something.

Great job! I just so can't even imagine doing what you're doing. Well, I can imagine, but I definitely don't have the drive!

mtnrunR said...

Great job Sarah! Sharon did great also for her first 50k! Good to talk to you.

Tell Mark he better put his "running" legs on for PRR. You have to run the whole 35 miles! Yikes! Well, there is one grunt but that is it. Tons of RUNNING!

See you soon. (maybe on Wildwood) Rest.

Joe said...

Awesome, Sarah. Wow, is that a great story! You compressed 7 hours of running really well...and I could sense the flow of the whole thing.

And what rain!! Oh my!! Way to keep going!

So glad you didn't slip into the alternative universe, either...

Darrell said...

Mud sure adds a whole new dimension to running. You get worn out just trying to stay upright. I saw a woman take a face plant over a stream at Tecumseh. All she could do was laugh, trying to get back up in all the slippery mud was near impossible. Helping her up almost took a couple more people down in all the muck. But like you know, it sure was fun! Congrats on a good time and getting Sharon through her first 50K.

Kim said...

Excellent run and race report!!

Julie B said...

Hi Sarah! Sounds like you had a ton of fun, the people are just wonderful, aren't they! I think that is what makes the races so much fun. You are well on your way to 50 M!