This was to be my 3rd attempt at Hagg Lake to complete the 50k. The first was my best, and also the least muddy. Last year will be remembered as a disaster, and this year I decided to switch to the 25k (only one lap around the lake). The weather was fantastic and we had about 4 sunny and dry days leading up to the race, which lessened the mud situation, but there was still a good amount of mud, which there will always be at Hagg pretty much no matter what.
On the way to the race I had to get gas, and during the fill up with the engine off, i left the car lights on. Upon attempted re-starting the engine, it barely turned over, and I thought, oh crap, come on car!! so after I shut off the lights and waited a few seconds, it still turned over real slow, many times, but eventually fired and i was on my way.
After getting through Forest Grove, I missed the left turn on to scoggins road for Hagg lake, oh crap and it was no big deal, because I wasn't late. And I arrived with plenty of time to chat with the local crowd and jog a little bit. The race started, and the out and back was short, and then we hit the trail. I think I took a wrong turn in the first spot it was possible to take a wrong turn, and didn't lose much time, but it was kind of a bummer. I also realized while trying to make up time, that I have not been racing on trails much and you can't just put it in cruise and hammer out miles like you can on the road, you have to pay more attention on the trail or you'll fall down. So even though I didn't fall down, I attempted to miss a couple of significant mud puddles and pretty much completely failed, getting both shoes wet on the first half.
The second half on the run around the lake I was going OK, and had lost all hope of trying to keep the feet dry, and was monster trucking straight through the mud sections, which was great for the mentality and enthusiasm. But then I missed another turn, and didn't really go too far off course, but did add some distance. You'd think this was my first lap around Hagg lake, but it was actually my 5th (counting the last 2 years).
With about two miles to go one of the dudes in the 50k that we were passing told me I was the 10th one, so I decided to hold that position. Or try to hold that position. I could hear people behind me, but was feeling pretty good as running through the mud (instead of trying to awkwardly avoid it) was great fun. Then on what I thought was a huge mud section (that I didn't remember from years past) with about 1+ mile or so to go, I was racing through it, and it was deeper and stickier than I thought and I lost a shoe. I went a couple more strides before I could turn around and retrieve it, but this thing was buried, and another 25k-er was right there. So I left it and continued with one shoe. I got about 40 yards, and figured out that it really was awkward running with one heavy mud soaked shoe so I took the other one off too, and went minimalist style (socks only) for the last maybe 3/4 mile into the finish, holding off the dude who passed me when I lost the shoe, for an official finish of 9th.
Then, as a slight reward, I was handed the medal for the age group winner for the 30-34 age group!!! wait, I'm 35!??!?! I tried to say, "Well I'm 35" but I think they used the age that you were, when you registered, which I apparently did when I was still 34. So that was pretty cool, even though the dude that I out raced while barefoot in the final mile, who was 10th, was actually really 34 years old and probably should have got the medal, so it was a bit awkward, but the race people told me to keep the medal so I did.
Anyway, it was fantastic weather, and even though I lost the shoe deep in the mud, it was a good race. My next race is officially the shamrock run 15k (thankfully on the road, probably closed roads to boot), but I might go to silver falls next saturday for a low key trail run, and then I hope to run the April 3rd Vernonia half marathon. I will have a busy couple of weeks with important work meetings, job interviews and finishing up two classes at school, so the schedule is a bit up in the air, but the shamrock run is 100% on.
Here's the shoe that made it:
The other one will probably become fossilized and the next civilization will find it in a million years.