Friday, February 26, 2010

Hagg Lake 50K

The Pain Train is back…he’s running well and getting the publicity he deserves. He ran a great race last Saturday…finished in 4:04:11! I’m glad I don’t have any bets on up-coming races with him…I would be nervous.

By the way, I’m not impressed with the winning caption for this picture. There were several better ones…in particular, by William’s Aunt Darlene.

All things considered, I felt like I had a pretty good race too. I’ve been telling myself that I’ve got a singular focus this year…the Eugene Marathon. My plan was to stick to the plan…that meant a high mileage week before Hagg Lake and not surprisingly my legs were feeling heavy. I could tell right away going up the hill on the out-and-back…there was no spring in my step. I ran the out-and-back and several miles of the first loop with Will Kalenius…enjoyed catching up with him.

Once we hit the trail, I was trying not to go too fast, but I ended up needing/wanting to pass a couple guys, and Will didn’t come with me. We unexpectedly did not take the detour for the bridge that is out…that was more fun than running the road, but was noticeably tougher on the second loop. A short while later, I could hear the Pain Train, not far behind, discussing with Will how he was lucky someone saved him from taking a wrong turn.

The Pain Train and Will caught me at the dam aid station. At that point, a group of five of us ran together for a few miles. Then the Pain Train decided to make his move…about 10 miles into a 31 mile race! One by one, our group broke up. I was trying to keep the Pain Train in sight and eventually I was by myself. Every now and then I caught a glimpse of him and then we hit the muddy section about a half mile from the start/finish area and he lost a shoe so I caught up.

All day I was making a point of going right through the mud/water on the trail…not worrying about getting wet feet. It worked well except at one point not too far into the second loop. I tried to go right through the middle of a big mud puddle…it ended up being a lot deeper than I expected and I went down. As I went down, there was a lady carefully making her way around the puddle and she accused me of trying to mud wrestle with her. Pretty funny. I shook it off and tried to get back in a rhythm…very hard to do on the Hagg Lake trail.

Before the dam aid station, I passed a couple guys and when I finally popped out on the road just before the dam I could see the Pain Train. He was about a dam length ahead of me, but I knew I had no shot at catching him. Mainly because after the dam aid station, I could tell I was slowing down. There are some short/steep ups that were tough and I was expecting someone to catch me at any time…surprisingly, no one did. I had finished the out-and-back plus first loop in about 2:12 and I was hoping for a second loop in at least 2:00. I actually ended up being pretty close, though there were points when I was trying to estimate finishing time and I was thinking I would be lucky to break 4:20. Then the good old one mile to go sign appeared at about 4:04…alright, I’m going to be faster than last year! I finished in 4:13:28.

After the race there was a lot of good trash talking between The Pain Train and The Colonel. They’ve got a little wager on the Buck Mountain Mudslinger and Tumor Shooter trail races this weekend. This should be fun.