ORRC Hagg Lake Ultra 25K (Feb 18, 2005)
What a great time. 2:30:34 was my finishing time which put me as 74/209 and #2 women masters (7/79 women). I hear that the course was a lot easier than in the past, since we haven’t had much rain lately and the mud was less watery. I think watery mud would have been better in some respects than the slippery mortar-consistency mud that was there.
The first 3/4 mile was up a gravel road, then back down the road and onto the trail. It undulates through the forest and along the lake shore for the first half and this section was the fastest for me. I averaged around 9 minute miles. It was also mostly dry. It was cold enough that some of the mucky spots were frozen so the footing was good. After about halfway, the mud started and was there, more or less until the end. The going was substantially slower with 5 pounds of mud on each foot, even on the occasional flat road stretches.
The mud tracks are basically single track bike trails. Think deep V-shaped ruts with muddy sides. Ugh. Lots of slipping and sliding. I didn’t fall, unlike many others, but I came close a few times. It really was slow going and I think I averaged about 11 min miles in the worst of it. I never twisted my ankle which is something I do regularly at home on the trail I’ve run.
I didn’t see many women around me except for the ones I passed in the first half. Just one got by me, then left me in the dust. There were plenty ahead of me that I never saw. In the last 1/2 mile I was in a cluster of guys (about 5 of us) when we came upon a washed away foot bridge surrounded by a mud hole. All the guys paused to plan out a crossing strategy and I just gazelled right past them…none of them ever caught up. hehe
I seem to have some talent going down hill. I pass an awful lot of people on the road downhills, but also on the technical trail downhills. I do those short mincing steps and just fly. I also do well on the uphills with the short steps and rapid turnover. The only thing that holds me back is endurance, which I hope will improve over time.
I don’t feel too thrashed, so far. There’s a definite attraction to trail racing – the aide station and post race food. What a junk food feast! I think I’ll stick with carrying my water bottle next time, though, for a race of this length. Standing around to drink and eat at the aid stations cost me about 1-2 minutes. If I could sip in the run, I wouldn’t take much time to grab a handful of M&Ms and chips and be on my way.
Next year maybe I’d like to do the 50K. Those guys must have twice the fun, right?!