Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Holiday Lake 50k++ Race Report

I had anxiously been awaiting the 2011 Holiday Lake 50k and finally it was time to start off my 2011 race season and it was my first Horton ultra (MMTR was my first one but I DNF).  I made my way down to Holiday Lake on Friday afternoon and after getting stuck in Route 95 traffic I arrived at about 6pm (took approximately 5.5 hrs).  I had just enough time to check in and eat a few bites of my dinner before Dr. Horton started his pre-race speech at the mess hall about the impending race the next next morning.  After his speech I headed to one of the bunk houses and grabbed my bunk and tried to go to sleep and get some rest for the race.

I woke up at 5:30am and went to the mess hall and grabbed some breakfast then took my Vespa shortly afterwards.  Next I had to decide if want I wanted to wear for the race.  The temperature at 6:30 when the race started was about 30F, but forecasters were calling for it to be a nice day (ended up going up to 45F by the end of the race, couldn't ask for better weather).  I was contemplating wearing shorts, but it was just a bit too cold so I wore my running tights, UA compression shirt, long sleeve shirt, and my North Face light weight jacket.  This was also my first race that I wore my Montrail Badrock shoes (they are great!).

The race started promptly at 6:30am as promised by Dr. Horton, so off we went.  The race started up the camp road for about half a mile then we turned off the road onto a single track trail.  The runners didn't really have a chance to spread out by this time so it was slow going especially considering is was still dark out and I even needed to use my headlamp for the first 45 minutes.  The sun started to come up and everyone started to spread out.  I wanted to try to consume 90 calories every 30 minutes and take an S! Caps every hour.  This proved to be a winning combination as my energy levels and hydration felt good all day.  I got to the first aid station and grabbed some water and moved right out there, I needed the water because the water in my tubing for my Nathan hydration pack was frozen (which can be remedied by placing the tubbing inside your jacket or shirt)

ah, there's the sun
I was feeling well and rolled through aid stations 2 & 3 and I was starting to think I would be able to set a PR and maybe even sneak in under 6 hours.  I reached the halfway point in 2:51 and took a few minutes to unload my used trash and pick up some more nutrition.  Shortly after leaving the halfway point I was starting to feel the effect of my efforts so I decided to slow down a bit so I wouldn't blow up.
coming up on the halfway point
Holiday Lake view
During the race I chatted with lots of runners enjoying the day, no one I spoke with seemed to be hurting too badly and most people were in good spirits.  Time was flying by and I only walked a few of the inclines and still was feeling good coming into the last aid station.  From there it was time to finish strong and maybe finish in under 6 hours, but it was not to be.  I ended up finishing in 6:11, which was still a PR for me (by about 56 minutes).  I ended up burning 6,500 calories.
Nice trails which were in great shape

almost there!

Overall the course was more geared towards first time ultra runners as the course had 4,000 of elevation change.  But there were lots of fast runners all looking to get some early high milage in.  I will say that sleeping at the camp the night before the race is a must.  There is a buzz going around the camp and everyone was extremely friendly and of course swapping war stories too.  I understand now why Dr. Horton's races are successful and popular, the races are well run but the people (especially the volunteers) are what make the races special.  I would like to thank Dr. Horton for organizing this race (which is done extremely well) and the volunteers.  These people take time out of their day to fill water bottles, cheer you on when you need it and do a lot of behind the scenes things that they don't get the recognition they should.  I highly recommend this race to both novices and old goats as this race is one of a few that truly offers something to both parties.

Here are my splits from the from the race.

See ya on the trails,


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