Lake 50K++ 2012
that big lake over there? Let’s run around it… twice!”
By Steve Hinzman
2010 was my last and at that time only foray to Holliday Lake for the annual
ultra-marathon and that experience was less than satisfying to say the least.
Many of you will remember that as the snow and ice year and while some
were unhindered by the conditions I was most definitely hindered by them.
Hellgate 2010 followed closely by a very frozen Frozen Sasquatch 50K in January
2011 and then decided to give myself a break. “Just a couple of weeks” I
told myself and before I knew it 2 weeks had turned into an entire spring/summer
of leisure. Ah those were the days. The trouble with leisure, in my case, is
that it leads to my clothes no longer fitting and an overwhelming desire to
leave my shirt on at the beach. September rolled around and I decided enough was
enough and I had to get started so in October I went for a run. UGH! I
couldn’t believe I had become so out of shape. Then fate stepped in and at a
family get together several of us issued challenges to each other to run another
Frozen Sasquatch in January and I had something to aim for. Mind you we were
only going to do 25K and at the time I felt that was a reasonable goal. “So”
I said to myself, “If you are going to do it then do it! Make a commitment and
get to work”. So I decided to add HL to my race schedule.
basically how I ended up driving from South Hill to Appomattox in the wee hours
of the morning last Saturday and boy am I glad I did. Everything leading up to
the start was mostly uneventful, no snafus to speak of although I somehow missed
the singing of the National Anthem and I regret that but I lined up way at the
back with no real goal in mind other than to just relax and finish.
as soon as someone said “Go” I forgot all about relaxing and took off (for
me). The run up the hill and the traffic jam at the stairs flew by and before I
knew it I could hear the whoops and hollers at the first aid station. I knew I
was pushing too hard and there was no way I could keep up the pace but I was
just flat unable to slow down. The only issue in this section was a rolled ankle
that bothered me more mentally than physically and soon it was a non-starter.
uneventful. I was still keeping a pace higher than I wanted but I felt really
good. That feeling would go away later. The creek crossing was fun but to avoid
falling in the creek I was really watching my foot placement so the picture that
was taken there will be poor at best. Oh well.
spent most of this section just running. I chatted briefly with a few folks and
spent a lot of time planning the second loop and trying to guess my time into
the halfway point. This section passed very quickly and I really love that
little downhill into AS3. I don’t really love it all that much on the way back
to AS4 Halfway
a quarter mile out of AS3 I heard someone ahead of me yell “Runner Up” and I
looked up the hill to see Kalib Wilkinson (sub 2:20 finisher at Boston last
year) flying down the hill. His feet didn’t even seem to be touching the
ground. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of him! What a talent. A few
minutes later I caught up with Marianna and she was maintaining a really good
steady pace that felt great so I thought I would pace off of her for a while. I
hope she’s not too upset with me because I dogged her steps all the way to
AS4! One of the things I really like about HL is the course layout. Running the
first lap clockwise and then retracing your steps on the second lap allows one
the opportunity to see the faster runners as you’re coming into AS4 and the
slower ones coming out.
AS4 my lovely wife Gwen was waiting for me and my thoughts were to get a drink,
change to a dry bandanna, give her my sunglasses (as they were unnecessary) and
get out as quickly as possible. Well I got a drink but that was about it. What
makes me go brain dead when I reach an aid station? Rhetorical question please
don’t answer. Anyway I remembered all the stuff I didn’t do as soon as a got
150 yards up the trail. C’est La Vie. I met Sheryl very shortly after leaving
4 and thought to myself “Well I’ll see her again shortly” She was looking
strong and I knew she was a better runner than me so…
walked the climb out of 6 (truth be told I was walking most of the climbs by
then) and tried to re-hydrate and get some food in me but my stomach was
uncooperative. I never lost it but it was close here. That seemed to pass
quickly and I started jogging again at the top of the hill. I could feel my body
starting to rebel at this point so I decided to go into step counting mode. I
would walk 100 steps and then try to run a minimum of 440 steps. I find that by
concentrating on the counting my mind is distracted from the aches and pains
I really remember about this section is the fact that I was walking more than I
wanted to. I kept telling myself that I was saving something to the last section
but there wasn’t really anything to save. I kept seeing the same runners over
and over. We all seemed to be in the same predicament. I’d pass them then
I’d slow and they’d pass me.
fueled up best I could at the last aid station, filled an empty water bottle and
headed out. This section is very runnable with great footing and I tried to run
it, I really did. I did better than I thought I would. I was able to put
together some relatively long runs followed by short recovery walks but I was
out of salt and I could feel the cramps coming.
Shortly after passing through the open area where the shelter is I heard
someone behind me shout “C’mon let’s get this thing done” and I turned
to see Sheryl motor on by me. I knew she’d catch me when I saw her at halfway
so I wasn’t surprised. She did give me a little motivation though and I picked
up the pace and before I knew it I was reading “1 mile to go” on the ground.
I decided to “run” the last mile no matter what and was able to do so
although the last bit on the pavement hurt a lot. I came into sight of the
finish and heard Gwen and several others shouting and I tried to pick up the
pace and keep my head up and crossed the finish line at 6:13:03.
could think of was a shower and something to eat. I was honestly spent. I know
6:13 isn’t fast but it was an event and distance PR for me and was 17 minutes
faster than my goal so I was pleased. I need to get better at pacing. I say this
after every race but it’s true. I need to get in control of the adrenaline at
the start and work on saving enough so that I can get some negative splits.
It’s frustrating to feel so bad at the finish!
of thanks go to my wife Gwen. Those of us who run know and some of us will admit
that ultra running is a sort of selfish indulgence. While I’m out for fours
hours enjoying the countryside on a long run Gwen is back home doing laundry,
paying bills, cleaning house, cooking and just generally keeping us headed in
the right direction. I couldn’t do this without her! Also thank you to Dr.
Horton, his wife Nancy, Clark Zealand and his family, all the volunteers and
well wishers that make this sport so enjoyable!