2018-02-24 - Hashawha Hills 50k Trail Race

~29.7 mi @ ~17.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Hashawha_Hills_50k_z_2018-02-24.jpg"People pay big money to bathe in this at a spa!" Thick shoe-sucking mud turns the ground into an impasto painting of ridges and super-slick potholes, framed by thorn bushes. This year's Hashawha Hills 50k is a Winter Olympics but with ooze instead of snow for downhill slithering and surprise sideways dance steps. Big Pipe Creek cleans shoes at a wide water crossing, miles 10 & 25, but further quagmires follow. And it's all good, especially wide-ranging conversation about linguistics and life, families and friendships, and of course upcoming race plans.

"He's a Curmudgeon!" Femi (of the local soccer team The Curmudgeons) trots ahead, along with Adeline and Jon and flock of other fast folk. The course this year includes an out-and-back segment and a clever verification that nobody misses it: take a rubber band from the stack at the turnaround sign and wear it on your wrist to show Race Director Alan Gowen at the finish line. Banter ensues as runners meet: "Will you sell me that band?"

Rain starts and stops as Sirisha drives us to northern Maryland for today's ultramarathon. Before the event a taxidermy black bear gives high-fives in the Bear Branch Nature Center; afterwards a stuffed hawk swoops in for an attack. We start a minute late, dead last of 120 entrants, make the midcourse cutoff with ~20 minutes to spare, and push the final loop pace to arrive in just under 8.5 hours, ~45 minutes behind awesome Kate Abbott. Finisher awards, handmade ceramic mugs, are lovely!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2018-03-25