The HAT 50k!

Also known as the time I ran/walked/climbed/slid for 8 hours straight.  🙂

The 28th Annual HAT Run took place on Saturday, March 21st at 9 am.  I was excited and VERY NERVOUS to be running my second 50k (you can read about my first 50k experience here).  Since the race didn’t start until 9 am, I got to sleep pretty late for a race morning.  Please note that the Ragnar Relay alarm remains ready to be used when needed.

Since I had all of my stuff laid out, it didn’t take me long to get ready and head out to my car.  I had totally forgotten about the fresh snow that had fallen the day before and I spent about 10 minutes scraping the ice and snow off of my car.  After a quick stop at the gas station (where my gas tank was frozen shut), I was on my way.  Seeing this sunrise was a great start to the day.

At 8 am I arrived at the race and found my training partner and BFF Jeanette.  We quickly picked up our packets, hit the porta potties, and suited up.  It was right around freezing at the start of the race and it was expected to reach 50 degrees by the afternoon.

The race started promptly at 9 am and I could not feel my ankles, feet, or toes.

From the race website…The course is mostly single track trail with a mix of open fields, dirt road and some paved road. The course features nearly 7,200 feet of climbing. There is a starting loop of 4 miles followed by two identical loops of 13.5 miles. There are 4 stream crossings that can be challenging depending on the water level – there is always the chance of getting wet feet.

At the end of the first 4 miles, we ran back through the pavilion that held our drop bags.  Many people took the opportunity to shed some clothing since the day was getting warmer and the temperature would continue to climb.  Since I am always cold, I kept everything on and headed out for the first 13.5 mile loop.  Sadly, I lost Jeanette soon after this point and I didn’t see her again until the end.  She is a really great trail runner.

After about an hour and a half, I had a Honey Stinger gel.  I didn’t feel like I wanted it yet, but I knew that my body needed the fuel and I felt it kick in soon after.  I was feeling good and finally starting to feel my feet…and then I came upon the first stream crossing.

Caption this photo however you would like, but I can tell you I was not a happy camper.  Since I saw there was no other option, I headed across the stream and just hoped I wouldn’t fall and get my entire body wet.  This actually happened to a number of people!  Luckily, this stream was only high enough to cover my ankles.  The second stream was up to my knees!

Since I was running pretty much alone, I made some friends along the way and would run with people from time to time.  It never lasted long as one of us would pull ahead and leave the other behind.  I mentally split the course by the aid stations, but I honestly can’t tell you how many miles were in between each station.  There were two main stations and one smaller one that seemed like it was in the middle of the woods.  At each main station I ate one quarter of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a few pretzels, and a cup of Gatorade.  Towards the end I substituted the pretzels for salty french fries (man these were good) and I added in a cookie here and there.  Why not right?  I stuck with water while I was out on the trail.

I finished the first 17.5 miles in about 4 hours and headed back out for the last 13.5.  Since it was about 1 pm when I started my second loop, the temperature was climbing and the trails were in BAD shape.  I have never seen so much mud in my life. Many parts were so slippery that you really couldn’t run if you tried.  I tried to keep up the pace and keep moving forward, but I had some very slow miles thrown in there.  There were a few miles on the road and I was so happy to hit dry land. I made up some time and rocked 9 minutes miles on the pavement.

After running/walking/sliding and probably staggering to the finish line, I crossed in about 8 hours and 4 minutes.  Man was I happy to receive my hat and umbrella.  Everyone got a tshirt for signing up, but you only got the hat and umbrella after finishing.  🙂

Jeanette finished in just under 7 hours and look how good she looks at the finish line!

  Here is my finish line picture…not too bad right?

Jeanette was all clean and dry in comfy clothes when I finished and I was so grateful to see her standing at the finish line.  I was so happy that we both finished, but that was not the best thing about that day.  Jeanette’s family dog had been missing since that Thursday and he was found while we were out running.  I was so so happy to hear the good news.  🙂

My thoughts about the race:

1. I LOVED it and I can’t wait to sign up for next year.
2. I really do love trail running.
3. French fries are awesome.
4. I have never been so sore in my life.
5. Why stop at 50k? I think it’s time for a 50 miler.

🙂