Saturday- 34 miles- 5:07
Great fun yesterday on the trails around Holiday Lake State Park! I went to (and finished) the infamous Horton creme puff ultra the HL 50K for the first time finally solidifying that I am an ultrarunner.....It seems HL50k is most folks in Virginia's first ultra. Yet it took me 10 years and 70 ultras to get there.
The weather was perfect 40's all day with a clear sky little wind and trails that were not too muddy. a few stream crossings and slight grade hills keep the double 17 mile loop interesting. And the double track trail/road for most of the run allows two folks to run abreast and chat....which is what I did all day long with VHTRC bud Ryan Henry. We were together from the first rays of sunrise until we cross the finishing tape. Fun! Great conversation and company was had with many others as well. We finished just shy of the top 50 in the race showing that ultras are indeed getting more popular and competitive. A 5 hour finish here in previous years was normally place top 25.
I ran steady with very few walk breaks and managed to hold 9:02 pace for the run. Splits for first and 2nd half fell off (2:24/2:43) with a long pit stop in the bushes accounting for some of that. The course was opposite of Uwharrie two weeks ago in that it did nothing to my quads but worked the hamstrings due to all the steady running. No technical trail sections and no real hills really spared the legs so walking around this morning after is completely fine.
This was an impromptu race for me, but with entries not closed, my Saturday unplanned, and the start line a mere 90minutes from my door I could not pass this one up. And for all those who hate this run (like mountian specialist Keith Knipling- who stated "Give me two loops of T.W.O.T. over this anyday" at the finish) there are just as many roadrunner types who really enjoy it. Like me yesterday.
Now off to Mt Mitchell!