2018 Hagg Double

It’s 2 days out from the 2018 Hagg Double. What a great experience it was.

Going into the race I told myself that finishing was my #1 goal. I’ve had the flu all of 2018 so far and couldn’t train much for the race. Every time I would go for a run in January my flu would come back even worse. I kept telling myself, “Take a few more days off and then bust out some long(20+ mile) training runs.” I never really felt better, so I never got those long runs in.

Saturday was the 50k. Strava Activity Link. This was two counter clockwise laps around Henry Hagg Lake, which is really a reservoir. My watch put it at 29.33 miles, which is close enough to 50k.

The day started off pretty well. I got there before sunrise to get my bibs and parking passes. I walked Chard so he wouldn’t shit in my truck while I was running. I didn’t really know how long I’d be out there and I didn’t want him to have an accident. The race started around 7am with the sun just coming up so no need for headlamps, although a lot of runners carried em. The weather was a somewhat cold 42F mist. The mist really soaked me so it pulled the heat out. My first lap was way too fast. I got into a good conversation with a guy. Our pace was too fast. We both agreed on that. After 3 or 4 miles together I dropped back to go at my own pace. The first lap was pretty uneventful for me. No real issues physically or mentally. Lap 2 was when things really got bad. About 3 miles into lap 2 I got hip pain which was expected. I pushed through, it went away. At around mile 20 I got some pretty bad hamstring cramping. I, again, pushed through. It went away. My left ankle really started to hurt around the same time. It felt like a mild to moderate ankle sprain but I didn’t sprain it. My left knee also started to hurt around this time. Basically my body really started to show some strain around the marathon distance. I walked a lot of the uphills on the second lap but I still ran most of the flats and downhills. I finished running so I was pretty happy about that. My 50k time was 6 hours, 13 minutes and 3 seconds. My left ankle was pretty painful post race. Into the night I had trouble with it. I took a long hot bath but didn’t ice it. No pain killers.

Sunday was the 25k. Strava Activity Link. This was a single clockwise lap around the lake. The trails weren’t too bad, surprisingly. The weather was much colder then the previous day. I think it was 32F when the race started. It snowed for much of the first half. I was worried about my ankle going into the race. It really felt like crap. I was having trouble walking, let alone running. The race started on mostly pavement and then came back to the start/finish to start the real loop around the lake. The aptly named Pig Trough was first up. I don’t know if it was because the water/mud was so cold but my ankle pain pretty quickly dissipated. It was there, for sure, but it wasn’t bad. I was favoring it a little bit but not too much. Knowing the course on day 2 helped significantly. I knew what to expect, what hills to take easy and what I should conserve on. I took less time at aid stations. Going into the 2nd half of the 25k I felt great. When I approached the road section over the dam after aid #2 I saw a pack of about 8 or 10 runners. I knew I could catch them on the road. I managed to bust out a sub 9 minute mile which I’d consider quick for my physical condition. I caught the runners and passed all of them. I was definitely weak going up hill but the flats and downs I felt great. I told myself to just get it done, over and over. My ankle pain actually went away almost completely in the last 3 or so miles. I passed quite a few runners on that part. Seeing the finish was a huge boost as well. I wound up crossing the finish line at about a 7 minute pace. My 25k time was 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 45 seconds.

My full double time was 9 hours and 48 seconds. Total race distance according to Strava was 44.26 miles so that puts me at an average pace of 12 minutes and 13 seconds per mile. I’m satisfied with that.

I learned a lot from this race. I can’t wait to get out there again next year. The community around this race, and all ultras, is just amazing. Nobody is ever down, nobody is ever negative. It’s all positive support out there. The volunteers can’t be thanked enough for their positivity and aid support. One interesting fact about the race is it only generated 4 lbs of trash in total. Not even a quarter of a trash bag. The race took big steps to minimize waste and it worked.

My left ankle is noticeably swollen even two days later. Monday was a painful day but by the evening I felt significantly improved. Today, Tuesday, I feel so much better. I’ll take another day or two off from running but the mountains are calling and I must go.

Thank you everyone.