|Harbison 50K...that's me second in line of this race convoy. The guy in front had a great pace going for the first few miles and we all drafted off of him for a long while. (photo: Ray Krolewicz)|
I was going into this race feeling pretty good about it. My 40-miler in December could have been a lot better for various reasons, but for the Harbison 50K, I had the confidence of having a couple of good long runs under my belt. Plus, no screwed up "death" virus a week prior to the race. So, I didn't want to have any expectations, but I have to admit that I was optimistic about what was about to go down on the trails in Harbison Forest.
|Dan addressing the crowd.|
|Early on, right after the start.|
|Me and Rox before the start.|
At this point, I was thinking about the tougher last six miles of the loop. They were coming up, but I felt good and while the trail was easy and rolling, I picked up the pace a bit. Once you hit aid station #4, there's the first significant climb of the route taking a couple of switchbacks up the side of a hill. When I hit it, I was glad to have a change in the terrain and the next few miles would prove to be different from the start for sure. Still, every once in a while...hot pocket. The trail also became more technical with more roots and more rocks. I was slowly catching runners and while they were walking the inclines, I ran them. I would slightly pay for it later, but while it was good, it was good.
|Where's the guy in the red |
We crossed one last road, climbed up a hill where I passed my "rubberband" friend for the last time, took a couple of turns and with out even realizing it, I was heading into the finish area. First lap in the bag and I felt great! First lap done in 2:33 by my watch. Could it be? Could I, dare say, shoot for a five hour 50K? I stopped at the aid station to refuel and top of my bottle. The cool weather and the strange pockets of occasional warm air, would give way to sunny skies and climbing temperatures. As I ran by Rox's car, I left my arm sleeves. I wasn't going to need them any more.
|My friend, Rox|
After passing Rox, I passed an aid station and was about half way around the second lap. I was feeling good and enjoying the sunshine, but I was starting to feel the heat some what and also my pace was starting to drop. Kind of normal at this point of the race, but I still felt confident. I was still catching runners and I would soon hit the aid station before the beginning of the climbs. I gobbled down some salty potatoes, drank some Coke and tackled the first hill. I managed to jog up it and felt OK. I hit some of the tighter turns and the other climbs and I could feel that it was taking more effort with everyone. By the time I was back on the Spiderwoman Trail, I was paying for my earlier effort and I walked several climbs in this section. No worries, I was still moving fine on the flats and the down hills, so I was mentally OK. After finally reaching the last aid station, I knew that a PR was a done deal. I just had to hang on for the last few miles.
|See ya later!|
Rox ended up toughing it out and came in about seven or so minutes behind me. She did keep her fourth place female standing.
P.S. Thanks to Dan Hartley and all of the volunteers for making this such a fun event! Check out the Harbison 50K Facebook page for photos of the event or visit the Flickr site. (I stole a few photos from Ray Krolewicz for this blog, I hope he doesn't mind.)
Official 2012 Harbison 50K results.