Stared this year race schedule off in full gear. We ran the Harbison 50k on January 9th in Columbia, SC. The race would be 2 16 mile loops. I was happy that it wasn’t going to be a continuous repeat over and over and over again. Since this wasn’t a really hilly run we were using it to help us train for our “A” race in April. Neither of us had done any really long runs prior to this so I felt a little under trained. I thought going into it just work on the nutrition and hydration piece since that seems to be where I’ve run into issues during the first two I’ve done.
Shawn and I ran together off and on during the first loop. My pace felt good even though I knew Shawn was running slower than normal. We would catch up with one another at the aid stations. The trail was a nice trail to run on. Lush green and some cool rock areas. We ran past the Broad River which was nice. The thing I didn’t like about it was I sort of felt lost most of the time. Markings were ok, I didn’t get lost so that was good. We just seemed to be running back and forth along the same area so I lost my sense of direction and nothing seemed familiar especially on the second lap. We completed the first lap and I was tired and my joints where feeling it. Shawn and I walked the first 3 miles of the run a good distance apart. I used this time to eat and drink. I hit a dark point during that walk. One thing I’ve noticed that happens when I push my miles is my emotions are hypersensitive. I’ll think of something and get mad or cry or sad. So for miles 16-18 that was me. Most of this part was on a gravel road and once we got to the trail Shawn said to me “We’ve walked for 3 miles, we need to run my hands are dead”. He was trying to be nice and he knew I had said I needed to walk but he also was hurting and mad about his hands. We ran and I watched him get further and further away. The lack of time on my feet was starting to show when I got into the 20 mile mark. There was an odd point in the race where we did a run around circle area (to add on miles) that you go in and come out the same way. Once this was completed there was maybe 4 miles left in the course. Shawn was on his way out as I was coming in. We stop briefly and made sure each of us were okay. At this point my ankles and knees were really aching. My energy and hydration felt ok but I won’t lie I was ready to be done. He asked do you want me to wait for you and I said have you done this already. He said yes, I was like NO… finish the race. I’ll see ya at the end. He took off like a dog after a cat. Those last few miles were LONG for me. I started to feel a hot spot on my big toe. Crap, I’m getting a blister. I tried to stay off that side of the toe as much as I could. One mile left and I tripped on a rock and stumbled and boom the blister burst. SHIT that hurt… now to finish. Deep breaths and just tried to not focus on it. The end of this race seemed to drag on FOREVER. Final miles ended up being 31.62 per my watch. My finish time was 7:38 which I was disappointed in. I thought I would be closer to the 7 hour mark for this one. Goes to show you time on your feet matters. I was glad that I have a better handle on my nutrition and hydration. Over all it was a good race and a great learning experience.