Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yeah Yeah Hagg Lake 50k

That is the way I feel about the Hagg Lake 50K race. Yeah, yeah, whatever. I don't mean to sound insulting or anything but the last couple years I just go "blah" the last 14 mile lap. This year was no different. It is a fun little course that takes out around Hagg Lake in Western Oregon's Coastal Mountain foothills. You do a killer little 3 mile loop to start to make sure you get your 31 miles in.

I got to the race early so I could get a good close parking spot. It was a beautiful clear and cool morning. I chatted with the usual suspects and some I hadn't seen in a few months. They handed out a nice technical shirt with a nice new logo. I set my drop bag out with the resupply items I would need after the first loop. Then headed back to the car to stay warm for a bit.

(But I'm not ready yet!)

As I got back to the start area I was fiddling around with stuff and the next thing I know they are counting down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO! I still don't have my water bottle belt (not into hand-held bottles lately) on or my tunes plugged in. So once again I am last at the start. Sean yells at me "It's a run not a walk!" Oh I plodded. I know this course starts with a nice climb right from the beginning so I am in no hurry. I run and walk the first 1.5 mile climb hit the turn around and ease down the hill. Last year I blasted down this hill and it really took a toll on my quads so this year I just easy. Was fun as always to say hi to all your fast friends on these out and backs.

(The climb from the start)

( feet feel better already)

We hit the single track at just over 3 miles and it was nice to feel the soft dirt. My Brooks Cascadia's are so uncomfortable on pavement. I passed a few folks who started out too fast and settled into a nice rhythm. My goal was to finish strong and secondary was to beat last years 5:48 PR. I had run a marathon last weekend so I didn't really think a PR would be possible. This year the course was a tad different as we got to cross a little man made bridge that had been washed out for years. So we spent less time on the road. The course just meanders around the lake with some short steep climbs but minimal elevation change.

Hagg Lake Dam

See Olga I can smile

As I got back on the pavement to cross the damn I picked up the speed and passed quite a few runners. I hit AS one feeling good and moved on quickly. On this side of the lake there is a different feel. It was warmer for sure and you have more open space and mud. Some sections had been plowed which did help but at other times made for hug bogs of mud up to a foot deep. I just plowed through them as I knew there was no reason not to. I had my DryMax Maximum Protection socks on and my Dirty Girl Gaiters over my shoes. It is a nice combination but the Cascadia's are such a mesh shoe that the mud will go right through. The good news about that is that they dry out really quick. I also did not get one blister this entire race. I have been fighting side of my heel blisters, but not on this one.

(One of the few road sections)

At AS 2 I said hi to Caroline and Steve. It was good to see friendly faces. I refilled and left quickly. This section is very muddy in places and was only 4 miles to the start/finish line. I was feeling pretty good still as I rolled in at mile 17. I took off my long sleeve shirt and grabbed 6 more gels for the last loop.

After about 3 miles into this loop I started feeling a bit tired. I began to walk some of the steep climbs. On the road across the dam I was much slower this time. At AS 2 I was not having much fun. I took a bit more time. I headed out after taking my usual 1/2 hour gel and a couple of S caps. I gut felt fine I was just weary. I plodded through this section getting grumpier with myself. I had lots of self doubts of why I enjoy runs over a marathon in length. I thought this was a stupid hobby. Just the usual crap that I go through. I am just like a baby with a full diaper! Waaa- waaa - waaa!

Finally it was the last AS at mile 26.5 or so. I was full of complaints at this point. Steve was being nice asking about some of my running friends. Caroline was trying to be positive. I wanted a gel that wasn't sweet and they didn't have one (do they even make one???) so I continued to waste time. Finally Caroline goes "Get going, c'mon get out of here! Go...go...go!" and as I start to waddle back on the trail she takes off chasing me out of the Aid Station. Well it worked. I started running and it made me feel better for sure. I felt kind of bad cause I was complaining so much.

(There was frost on this side on the first loop)

I felt better this last 4 miles knowing the finish was close. I passed a few more folks but overall I didn't seem to pass as many as I usual do. Not sure why and I did finish a bit lower than my normal spot. I think I was 81 out of 125 or so. I ran through some major shoe sucking mud pits but never fell or lost a shoe. I heard that at least 4 shoes came off in this section. Then came the best sign in the race. The one they have that says "1 mile to so pick it up". "Yea!!!" I was a happy boy. I pretty much the entire last mile. I could here the folks at the finish line. I am so dang slow that there usually are not many other runners around when I get there. Kind of a bummer at times but it is what it is. I cross the line to a few chears in 6:08 and change. Twenty minutes slower than last year but I also tapered last year and had not run a marathon 7 days earlier.

I was tired and a bit grumpy as my gut had acted up a bit. I just grabbed some coke and a hot dog and wandered around for just a few minutes. I then went down to the creek and washed my shoes off as the mud covered to above my ankles. Went back to the car and started the hour drive back home. I wish I had felt better and could have hung around but I was in one of those moods where I just wanted to be done with this day. That last 2.5 hours was not fun.

Ain't that the truth!

Well my first Ultra since September is done. I love being back on the trails but it is tough being out there for so long again. Just now 4 days later I am sort of looking forward to my next planned race in a month at the Pac Rim 24 hour run. Maybe I will do a marathon or something before hand but I don't have anything planned.


Sarah said...

I've only done Hagg 2007 when it was miserably cold, rainy, wet and muddy. Had fun despite the conditions but I don't feel the need to go back, like I do some other races. You got it done...that's what counts. And it looks like it was a beautiful day!

olga said...

Yes, I see the smile, that's nice:) How 'bout stop complaining now? Did you wear a skirt to allow yourself whining?
6:08 is a good time, and not as long as you claim. You'll be fine this year. And how IS Caroline?