Last time, we met, I was noting how I hit 500 miles and some race statuses. 80 more miles have passed since then. Also, races are becoming clearer. I appeared to be the last person in off the wait list for the MD ultra AND I got in to the Broad Street Run. Getting into Broad Street really helps to shape my 'season'. It gives me some road focus and forces some speed work before my 50 miler in the Toronto region a few weeks later. That also means if I want another 50K, I might need to do it a bit earlier than the week before at Ironmasters. Luckily, I got into Hashawha Hills at the last possible moment. This allowed me to get my 1st official 50K (not counting the fat ass 50K in the Wissahickon) on the books for the year.
By chance (well not really), Hashawha was this weekend down in Westminster, MD. Rather than book a room for the night prior, I got up at 3:30am and drove down in some drizzly conditions. Allowing extra time for 'weather traffic'. My drive down benefited from the extra time as I got turned around in Westminster at the transition from MD 140 to MD 97. But in the end, I got there in time to get some wonderful parking next to the host building. With temps, slightly warmer that I expected and very little precip from the skies, I opted for regular running shorts with a short sleeve tech tee with a long sleeve tech over it. Attached to my shorts, I pinned two GUs. For shoes, I decided to rock the La Sportiva Vertical K's, the same shoe I did the fat ass in. Since it was a double loop course, I prepped my drop bag with some extra gels, my Inov-8 Talon 190s, extra socks and a spare set of shirts. With respect to hydration, I decided to leave my handheld in the drop bag. If I was going to need it, I would grab it for the second loop.
At just about 7:30, the field was off. Knowing I had 50K ahead of me, I took it comfortable, much like I did at Rosaryville. Also, I did not want to tax myself too much not knowing the terrain ahead. Plus, it allowed me to get a sense of the field. The course had a mix of road, rolling hills, single track, double track and stream crossings. Due to the moisture and winter, the trail itself had icy patches that were easily avoidable by sticking to the grassy spots on the edges. What I disliked the most were the spots that had been muddy and then froze over. These had 'ruts' from both people and horses using the trails. My feet felt these ruts pretty well. Despite these conditions, the course was very runnable. As a result, I felt like I could begin to distance myself from the field. Because there is a point where we do a small out and back, I was able to see two people as those I needed to be concerned with. By the 8 mile mark, I began to have maybe a .2 mile lead over second. At this point is our 1st time past this aid station. I grabbed a cup of gatorade and was off. Not far after was the last time I saw second place for the rest of the 1st lap. My first lap time was around 1:44-1:45. Course record pace. Here, I hit my handheld for some gatorade but decided to not bring it. I did grab another GU to replace the one I downed at around mile 9. On the second lap, I was really able to use the turnaround second to see how far back any one was. 4 minutes with about 11-12 miles to go. I didn't feel comfortable with that so I began to push myself. had it been 4 minutes with 3 to go I would have been like ok. But I felt I would crack at some point and did not want to risk getting caught too late. I pounded it. My increased pace started to hurt a tad. Much more than at Rosaryville. But then again, I would say Hashawha was tougher. With about 6 miles left, I started to feel some suffer. Luckily the course during this stretch was a lot of meadow which was an easier stretch. It was after passing the last aid station with 4.5 to go that the fun started. This section started off with the muddiest portion of my race made possible by thawing ground and the mid-calf height stream crossing. First time through, it didn't feel nearly as cold as the second. Once beyond this stretch, the trail hit the portion with the climb I hated the most. It was a rooted and gouged climb that really felt like I was hitting a wall. I wouldn't say I walked this but I felt like I wasn't running it. After scaling it, I just maintained through the finish. While I slowed down, it was not by much. My finish time was 3:31:44. Course record shattered. 37 minutes. 2nd and 3rd was around 3:48. Also under the old mark. You could sum up my second lap this way: pushed my pace and then towards the end I suffered making my second lap around the same time as the 1st. Probably could have paced better.
I'd say lesson learned but we know that is not the case. I'll run by reaction again when I get 'scared' by 2nd being so close.
Hey, I did really well. 1st place. Course record. Not a bad day.
Funny note: one of the other runners was also at Rosaryville when I broke that course record too. Maybe I need him at all my ultras. Further funny note about that is when they were announcing winners, he stated to everyone about the Rosaryville performance.