Sunday, March 22, 2009

H.A.T. Run 50K

The 21st annual H.A.T. Run 50K (run on the 21st of March 2009) is in the books. I had a wonderful experience heading down to a little bit warmer weather and to an established ultra marathon event.

I went down a little early because a friend of mine was running The Sun Trust Half-Marathon in D.C. on Saturday as well and she needed to get her packet, etc. so I was able to check out the (Hinte Anderson Trail) course for an easy 6 mile run on Friday. While I was out there I met race directors Tim Gavin and Jeff Hinte (the "H" in H.A.T.) and learned a little bit about the race, the history, and the deceitful toughness of the course. Both were very friendly and accommodating and they (and the volunteers) put on one heck of a race. Thanks y'all!

OK...on to the race! The morning was beautiful...chilly but sunny. Perfect racing weather and as the sun rose higher it turned out to be a picture perfect day. I saw some friends before the race (Christine and Joe Reynolds, Margie H., and met some new ones) and we all lined up in the open field awaiting instruction to do what we love...RUN! 9 am sharp we all took off following the lead bike on a paved road out and back. I thought that with over 400 starters this would be a good time to get out way ahead to avoid any congestion. That is what I did and was surprised how many others were doing the same. I raced in the Roclite 285's (one of my favorites) and they served me well for the type of terrain in Maryland in spring time.

The first few miles were quick...I mean blistering fast! At times there was a voice in my head that said, "slow're going too fast too early", but I stayed with (and often led) the lead pack. David J., Jason L., Matt W., Stephen and myself put a decent gap in between the rest of the racers and got to know each other as we navigated the ups and downs of Susquehanna State Park.

We came through 13 miles in about 1:35 and for a course that climbs almost 10,000 feet over 50K I was so surprised (and a little nervous) that these guys were so ambitious. I continued to hang up there though and we all kind of switched out the lead.

Around mile 18 or so I pulled away as some of the others stopped in at the pavilion to refuel, etc. About ten minutes later Matt W. pulled up behind me, exchanged a few words, and then passed me. We still had about nine miles to go so I thought I could still catch him despite losing sight of him. Around mile 25 things started catching up with me. My legs were slowing down and I was losing power going up the short steep parts. Also, my left IT band was starting to tighten up and I was forced to slow down a little. Soon there after another person passed me....then another...ugh! I couldn't believe this was happening! I quickly went from 1st to 4th place and was wondering how many more were hot on my heels.

With about 5K to go and after getting some more fuel in me and quickly stretching out while walking some uphills I was able to get back into some nice running grooves. I knew that 1st and 2nd place were out of contention for me but I really focused on catching the 3rd place guy (Glenn Redpath). The harder I pushed myself the more I reeled him in and with less than a mile to go I passed him in the open field before the finish line.

I came into the finish with a time of 4:05:22- good for 3rd place overall. Click HERE for full results.

Can't say enough about this race and glad I was able to participate in it as I will be out west next spring. The people were so friendly and experiencing the essence of ultra running was truly displayed in camaraderie and friendliness at this popular established event.

Well done to all the runners who took part this weekend. Frank Leiter placed 2nd again and ran a very strong second half of the race and mega props to newbie Matt Woods who broke 4 hours and the course record in only his second 50K ever! Nice meeting everyone and we'll see you out on the trails!...after I recover that is!


AnthonyP said...

Way to reel in Glen and take 3rd. Hope the IT band gets better and you make it for a little Bear Mtn. pre-race run.

Ultra Chris said...

Way to go, man! I knew you would be right up there. I hope you got a chance to enjoy some of those awesome fries - I ate a bunch & they saved my butt. Rest well & heal. Maybe we can hit the FLNF Fifties trails soon.