So this was my fifth straight Harbison 50k at this 5th annual event, held at Harbison State Forest near Columbia, SC. There were supposed to be a few other 5-time runners at the race, but I was the only one to show up.
Spent the night with my family at the host hotel near the race (both a first for me for this race), and had a nice group dinner with some other Greenville runners-Kerrie, Michael, Terri (and her sis!). Race day morning was pretty low-key...just hung around and talked with a few others I knew (Chris). Wondered where Viktor and some others were...
Very happy not to have driven down that morning.
Temps were nice just around 49° at the start, and had a new course this year as a true 2-loop design, bypassing the Lost Creek section, added the Eagle trail, and extended the Firebreak trail.
Started off on the gravel road and found my pace, not too concerned with anyone else then. Hit the trails toward the front of a group including Terri and Kerri. Dropped a Gu at some point and that whole line passed me. Good thing I didn't need to stop at the first AS (52min)...passed most of them back right there.
At some point - I joined up with Hilary, settling in right behind her, with Kerrie always within a few minutes of us. Hilary is a very strong runner and I was lucky to be feeling well enough to keep up with her. I was going to hang on as long as I could.
I was so engrossed with either our conversations, keeping up with her, or something - that I didn't even notice that we had already gone thru Spiderwoman the first time around. Guess that was a good sign!
Made it thru the Halfway point in 2:42. That was a good 10 minutes faster than when I ran my fastest Harbison in 2013 (half at 2:52). Going back to 2014 - I had not raced since January 2013 and ended up shuffling/hiking the last ~17 miles of the race. My finish time was 7:36. I was secretly hoping to take 2 hours off that time.
I stayed with Hilary thru the next AS (this time faster than lap 1, 49min) at mile 21. It was in the next few miles that she left me. Kerrie was still right there behind us (we had flip-flopped on and off for awhile) but then she also went ahead to stay. I moved well a lot longer than I usually did at this race and knew I was i for a good time, My left knee was nagging me some, and I did walk some, but my motivation was still high as I went thru the last section. Not having been down Eagle Trail before that day - I wasn't entirely sure how much further I had. A few other people passed me on that last section, but I was still thrilled as I came down the finishing stretch. My wife and daughter were there to see me finish, and the RD (David) shook my hand, gave me my finisher award, and called out my name as the only 5-time finisher of the race.
|Greenville 50k Finishers|