Glacier Ridge Trail 50K Report

I ran the Glacier Ridge 50K in the inaugural event, in 2011. It was cold, windy, and very muddy.

The same conditions presented themselves in the 2013 race. I was hoping for dry conditions; but the totorrential spring rains that started Tuesday rolled through.

It was cold and 41 degrees at race start.  I had the right race clothes for the conditions: capris, merino wool long sleeve shirt, gloves.  I wore my La Sportiva Ultra Raptors to see how they would fare.

The GRT 50K route was the same, muddy, some climbs, lots of nice runnables.  The variable here was the runner.  She was in  much better shape than 2011.

I had to pass some runners in the first 2 miles. We were climbing up a hill, and it was just too slow for my current effort. 

I took a spill about mile 4, hitting my knee and elbow. It just hurt for a minute, I shook it off and assured the two runners right behind me I was fine.

Another runner-I think his name was Don-caught up to me, and we chatted until the 10 mile Aid Station.

I stopped for a bio break, and Don disappeared.  But in this section was where the 50K runners were meeting the 50 mile runners coming back, as they started one hour earlier.

Just for clarification, there were three races occurring.  The 50 Mile Race started at 630 am.  They ran the 50K out and back, but with another little loop around the 15 mile.  The 50K just did the 15 miles out and back.  The 30K kind of did an out and back.

I got to see Coach Hanks and The Professor from NEO TC, both running the 50 miler, and that gave me a huge boost.

The GRT 50K was a training run for MMT.   I wore my Ultraspire Waistpack, with just the one handheld in it.  I carried one Clifbloks (200 calories) and one EFS shot (400 calories.)  I had 400 calories of maltodextrin in the handheld.

I had a huge caloric breakfast. Nutella tortilla, cranberry juice, peppermint patty, most of an Egg McMuffin.  So, about 800-1000 calories right there.

I felt pretty sluggish for the first hour, probably due to the cool temps and my full belly.

I hit the 15 mile turnaround in 3.30.  Hmm. I wanted to run a sub 7 hour 50K.  But could I negative split the second half?  In all this mud?

I resolved to not look at the watch at all, in the second half.  I changed my headband, and put in my music for the first time.

I started to feel really good, about mile twenty.  I also started picking off 50K runners.

One green vested guy was pretty determined not to be Number Six. He stayed ahead of me, but I kept nipping at the gap. I caught him on a bit of an uphill, where he was going around the mud, whereas I ploughed straight through it. 

Everyone I passed I dropped pretty dismissively. Nobody came back. I passed eight runners (although I believe one was the last 30K runner) so seven 50K runners.


But then, as I was singing out loud to “Red Solo  Cup” I got passed by this Timmy Olson look-alike and a chick in almost bun huggers.  And they were gone!   Huh? Where did these 50K runners come from?

I got passed, in the last 5 miles or so, by 6 more runners.  Decisively, and quickly!

I finely figured out it was the fastest 50 miler guys blowing by me.  Finishing their race in about 8 hours! No wonder I was being passed so quickly!

Many parts of the GRT are very runnable.  As I knew I was around mile 28, in a runnable area, I kept running. I envisioned parts of the MMT through here.  I got to the last two miles, which is back on a paved bike trail. I envisioned the Moreland Gap Road, on the way to the MMT finish line, and kept chugging along.

Spotting the finish line clock, I was surprised!!!!  to see the time of 8.20 on the clock!  Then I remembered the clock started one hour earlier, with the 50 mile race start.

So, 7.20 finish time.  I didn’t glance at my watch, on course, after the turn around. I had already determined, to myself, that I had a good run, a good effort, no matter what the time said.

My time in 2011 was 8.06.  A 46 minute improvement.  I will take that.

My word for 2013 is “improve”.    I am working well on this.

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