February in Western Oregon is supposed to be gloomy, rainy and cold. But this Saturday the weather Gods gave us sunshine and 50 degrees for the annual Hagg Lake 50K Trail Run. It was a bit chilly around 30 degrees at the start but with just a touch of fog that gave way to blue skies very quickly.
As usual I got to the race only 10 minutes before the start. I hadn't planned on that but I got a bit turned around in Hillsboro (guys way of saying lost!). I threw on my clothes, synced my GPS, got my bib and hit the biffy one last time. I had my usual PBJ and an apple for a pre-race meal, but one thing I forgot to do which was stupid was I forgot to drink anything other than coffee. Not sure how I forgot but I did.
The course starts out with a flat stretch for a 1/4 mile then up some pretty big climbs. So lots of walking for me right away. Back down the hill we come after a 1.5 mile turn. My quads actually started to hurt coming down the hill which was quite surprising to me. I had a tough recovery run last weekend of 11 miles after the previous weekends marathon. I was worried I may not be ready for this 50K and my quads seemed to be telling me that. As mentioned in previous posts my training has not be very much this winter. Most my long runs have been at races. So maybe I would pay the price on this day?
As we finally got back on the trail after about 3 miles I went by the spot the broke my ankle two years ago. (It got spit on each lap!) The trail was in great shape with very little mud to speak of. I was running up most the little hills and walking the big ones. On the road I would run a 9:20 pace or so. As we crossed the dam for the first time around mile 9 I was feeling real good. At the Dam aid station I saw Rick, who's bib I stole to get in this race. (Thanks buddy!) Back on the trail we went. The first part of this portion of the trail I really like. But also on this side there is allot of very narrow rutted single track which is kind of a pain for me to run in with size 13 shoes.
Back at the start at mile 17 I felt pretty good. I dumped my long sleeve shirt and headed for the second lap with just my short sleeve and hat. Amazing to run like this in February here. I stuck to my plan of drink two swigs of water every 10 minutes, a gel every 1/2 hour and 2 ecaps every hour. I took my first Ibuprofen at about 3 hours. The race was going good till about mile 21 or so. Then I started getting a bit light headed, nothing serious just what happens to me sometimes. I could tell my pace slowed way down and I also was getting fatigued. At mile 22 Rick asked how I was. "Tired" was what came to mind. Not exhausted but just tired. The last 5 miles was the real struggle today. Probably walked 35% of the time. I was sick of the sweetness of the Gels but still forced my self to suck one down every half hour. I had some chips at a couple of the aid stations but that was it. 3 runners I had passed around mile 24 were now passing me. Didn't make me feel too good but thats the way it goes.
It was great to see the sign that says "Pick it Up" " One mile to the finish". It helped to get the adrenaline flowing and I felt much better. I wanted to run all of the last mile but some of the little up hills were just a bit much. I crossed the finish in 6:16:47, which I think is a PR for me in the 50K by about 30 seconds. I know its pretty slow but this big fat-boyee will take it. It worked out to a 12:09 pace.
After the race I did the usual social stuff. I wanted to stay longer but I wasn't feeling too hot so I figured I better get to the car before I can't get to the car! Oh and thanks to Stacy for letting me convince her to give me a new Montrail hat. Last year Ronda was nice enough to give a "back of the packer" like me a door prize. I really liked that hat and 1 year later it was getting a little worn out and had shrunk do to numerous washings.
What I like most about this race is the variety. Its got hills, mud, single track, wide trails, open areas, even some road running. It has really got it all. This was a great event. Even if you are not an Ultra runner I would suggest coming out to run the 25K. It's good fun! I will be back again next year.