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Horror Hill Trail Race

On Saturday I ran the Horror Hill Trail Race.

I did not however run Horror Hill. That was reserved for those running the companion 15k Road Race.

I did however have one nasty little set of hills 1k in.

Oh and my race was a 6hr race on a 2.5k loop so I got to do those hills over and over and over and….

My race and a 5k trail race were scheduled to start at 9am, with the 15k starting at 10am.

I arrived my usual hour early and went through the normal pre-race routine. Then I hung out with some teammates and friends from the ultra running circuit.

Just before race time they announced that they were delaying the 5k start by an hour. The chip timer had not shown up. Apparently he thought the races were Sunday. They did lose some runners who didn’t want to wait an hour to do 5k, ended up with 59 runners completing it.

During the pre-race announcement they told the 47 of us doing the 6hr race that they would time us through each loop using a stop watch until they could give us our chips.

A couple of my running group showed up, doing the 15k, and wished me luck.

And just after 9am at a lovely 39F we were off.

Two weeks ago I had hurt my chest and back falling, after tripping on roots hidden by leaves, in another trail race. That was unlikely to happen in this race, the entire course had been swept of leaves. (I did stumble on a couple during the latter part of the race, but stayed on my feet).

I was doing well during the first couple of loops, shouting out my bib number each time I passed the line, to ensure my splits were recorded.

The guys from my group were cheering me through each loop until they headed out for their race.

Passing through I could see the chip timer setting up. About an hour in, he was setup and they started the 5k. I personally liked the delayed start for the 5k. It let everyone get spread out and I never ran into any congestion.

As I completed my 5th loop, they passed me my chip as I ran through. I noticed the clock was behind my watch by almost an hour, timing the 5k.

As I passed through the aid station on the first several loops I shed my extra layers as I warmed up.

As the 15k finished the guys from my group came back and cheered me on for a couple of more hours until they finally had to go. They did well with a 1st and a 2nd in their respective AGs.

About halfway through my race another friend came out to cheer me on through several loops. We had a quick chat at one of my stops at the aid station before she headed home.

Around this time I noticed the clock, now that the 5k was done, was now in sync with my watch.

As I continued through my loops I noticed that there was some seismic activity. That damn hill was getting taller.

Finally with about a half hour to go they handed me a flag with my bib number on it. I knew I would get through that loop easy, but I didn’t know how much further, so I tried to pick up the pace. I got through and saw I had enough time to get most of the way through one more loop. So again I tried picking up the pace. As I ran through the last loop in the woods and started down to the finish, I thought it would be close. I rounded the trees and saw the clock, 18 seconds to go and too far to go, but what the hell. As best I could I started to sprint and crossed the line with 4 seconds to spare. They sounded the air horn and I planted my flag, 10 feet past the mat. If I had been that close on the other side of the mat, they would have credited me with the complete loop. But I wanted it to be complete, but that sprint was hard.

I finished with 22 laps, 55k, finishing 20th out of 47 starters.

Also a 50k PR by almost 3 minutes.

After we had hamburgers and hotdogs and some nice warming beef broth.

I had a massage for my one leg that was tight (I had developed a blister on the one foot and had been favouring that leg).

They then brought in lasagne and pizza for us.

I also got a couple of draw prizes, a gift card to one of the larger hardware chains and a pair of running socks.

A good day overall.

Thanks for reading.

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