Sunday, February 3, 2013

Holiday Lake 50k +

Holiday Lake 50k. February 9th 2013 the first race in the Beast Series!

I arrived at Camp 4H at holiday lake in plenty of time on Friday to get a look around the area and get settled in my bunkhouse which is located right at the Start/ Finish area of the race.  I met some really nice ladies in the bunkhouse all of us very excited for the race the next morning.  It was a little unsettling that there were so many ladybugs right above our heads in the bunkhouse, but it turned out fine and they made there way over to the lights in the restroom after we had lights out.
We had all planned to awake at 5am to get ready, but when I woke up at 4:45am I just got up and sneaked out for some breakfast at the cafeteria. They have a whole breakfast spread with bagels, juice and they also have a microwave, toaster and coffee maker that you can use.  I just went with my usual breakfast routine of oatmeal, banana and other fruit.
I was wearing my tights at first as it was a bit cool out but not as cold as most of us expected. A low of 34 is a pretty nice running temperature, a little cool but eventually it was going to warm to around 40's, so after seeing everyone else in there shorts I decided to change.

Since our bunkhouse is right outside the start line, we just hung out in there till a few minutes to the start.  Horton is always great about starting the races promptly on time.  I dropped a bag at the start/ finish as this would also be our halfway point.
We started the race up the road which was uphill to start, I walked the first hills as I usually do early on, It wasn't worth rushing too much because when we forked off the road right onto the single track it got all backed up. Still I was happy to walk the first hills as I wanted to feel strong later in the race. So it was a slow walk a least for the 1/4 mile pciking up to a steady walk. A little frustrating at first but soon it picks up...It would play out alright later on.  It was still pretty dark so the tiny LED flashlight I had helped a lot, you can just take something really small and then put it in your drop bag later on. The single track is rooty so its worth taking one... The sunrise was coming up as we ran the single track by the lake and it felt energizing.  I got to the first aid station, grabbed some fluids, a few chips, and an orange slice and the next section of the race was right along some more single track, gentle and rolling my favorite kind of trail! I could run that all day!... I passed a group of runners that I felt were holding me up a little too much and I wanted to make back a little time from the start.

The course then ran along some open dirt road with a large open area of pine trees, used mostly for logging, it really caught my eye - I just had to take a picture...
It looked pretty here in the morning sun which was feeling starting to feel good and take some of the chill off my cold red legs!

Feeling good and making steady time, the ground was nice and firm with the morning frost, I was about 2 1/2 hours into my run when the leaders came heading back.  We all exchanged encouragement as we pass by each other, I am amazed by there speed and how good they all look!  After running some more single track which amazing views of Holiday Lake...

 I finally made it to the half way point around 9:45am.  I got rid of my light, jacket, grabbed some food and Heed and off I went again headed back in the direction I just came from.  Feeling happy and strong I was now to be on the way back and I really liked this single track section again by the lake.

It was feeling good and warm now and I had a great run on the way back, it was a little more slick now on the roads, sliding a bit I tried to stay on the dry grass when I could.  I ran as many of the hills on the way back as I could and felt that my pace was picking up. I felt strong on the hills and was now passing quite a few people too.  There was one fun section I had this guy running behind me, he wouldn't pass me but he was right on my tail. It was a nice strong pace and I was having fun with it. It was a great section of single track too, mostly smooth trail through the leaves and pretty flat. Altough I did manage to take one fall here!  It felt like a little competition but I think we were just both eager to get to the last aid station and on to the finish.  He confirmed he was just trying to hang onto me!
After making it through the last aid station the energy really picked up. I did get some tendonitis around my right knee which was just beginning to bother me a bit towards the last couple of miles.  But I felt strong enough to keep running and fly down the last hill to Dr Horton.  I didn't have anyone else waiting for me at the end so Horton's hug made my day and a great finishing time (negative splits!) of 6:22:50

Thats one off the list for the Beast Series!