Third Time Is the Charm,
Even If It Takes a Month to Realize ItI’m just getting around to writing this race report after over a month has passed since running the 2019 Hyner 50k and less than a week until I will be running the Worlds End 100k. This is less of a traditional race report in the sense of an overall course description and background information on the race, but more of a reflective piece on my expectations and reactions to how the race went for me. The reason being that much of the race is not fresh in my mind at this point and I’m more focused on mentally preparing for WE 100k. An additional reason is that I have written race reports on the past two years of the Hyner 50k and feel like I would just be rehashing the same info. If that’s what you’re looking for, my reports on 2017 and 2018 Hyner 50k are still available. However, this is the story of the 2019 Hyner 50K.
|The Hyner course had a very slight course change this year.|
I went into the race with the exact same goal as last year, however with one added caveat: to not destroy myself to the point that I thought a marathon PR would be unachievable the following weekend. My goal last year was just to get close to my 2017 Hyner time (5:36:36) in order to be able to better my cumulative 2017 Pennsylvania Triple Crown time (47:47:36). Since in 2017 my Hyner performance was probably my best of all three races that make up the series, I thought just getting close to it would make my season’s goal of improving my cumulative 2017 Pennsylvania Triple Crown time achievable. Since Eastern States 100 was cancelled last year, I was not able to find out if that held true. So, I’m giving it another shot this year with a few additional goals added. One of those additional goals was to improve my marathon PR and the marathon I chose to make that attempt at happened to be the weekend after Hyner. With all this in mind and knowing how last year’s Hyner 50k went where I felt like I gave it my all and was still somehow slower than the previous year, I wasn’t sure if both of these goals could be achieved within the time frame I had set. But I wanted to give it a go anyway.
|Strava data for the three years I've run Hyner 50k.|
I went into it with the same plan as last year as well, attack the climbs and hammer the downhills harder than 2017, only this time try not to feel like crap around the 20 mile point like I did in 2018. Without doing a lot of homework and studying my splits, it felt like I was accomplishing this even with less than ideal conditions to start the race. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms were forecasted leading up to race day, but come race weekend, all the rainfall passed through the night before the race. This made a course that is well known for its many stream crossings (or using creek beds as the trail) a bit more daunting. How deep would all the water crossings be? How sloppy would the trails be? Thankfully, other than the first stretch of trail following the initial road section near the start, the trails were in surprisingly great condition. Given the few mini landslides that caused minor bottlenecks and more than one runner’s shoe to be lost in the muck, the great condition of the rest of the course was shocking.
|All packed, ready to go!|
I tried to be even more focused on efficiency at aid stations this year than last, spending little more time at each one than it took to have a water bottle refilled, grab a couple energy gels (Carb Boom, not my favorite, but what the aid stations offered), and throw out my mess of sticky gel wrappers if I remembered. I also forewent my beet juice plan (chugging some beet juice just before the start and then starting the race with a water bottle filled with mostly beet juice) that I tried to employ last year and apparently didn’t do much good. I used my standard fueling plan that has worked pretty well for me for anything up to a 50k. I ate a gel just before the start and then another basically every half hour. Thankfully, it worked well for me this year and I never had any signs of bonking or just feeling completely depleted.
I ran the early road section harder than I ever have in three years of partaking in the Hyner 50k festivities. I also attacked the climbs in what felt like it may be a risky pace for a tough 31 mile trail run, but I put a lot of faith in the extra gym training I had started at the end of 2018. I really was banking on all of those stair stepper and inclined treadmill sessions paying off on this day. Since this is the first time in years I had incorporated any kind of gym workouts into my training, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but was hoping to see some benefits. The last secret to improving my time was to run the downhills faster. It sounds simple, but a lot of people struggle with downhill and worry (with good reason) about blowing out their quads due to hammering the descents to hard. For me, downhill running has always seemed to come pretty naturally and I’ve never been too afraid of a nasty fall to try to make up some time by hitting the downhills hard. As tough as I find the climbs at Hyner, the descents are the opposite for me. In my opinion, nearly all of the downhills at Hyner are nontechnical and super runnable, which is perfect for me. The real blessing about the whole situation is that with the race being only a 50k, who cares if you blow your quads up. It will be over before blown quads really matter that much.
|The muddy parking lot the morning of the race.|
|Sloppy the night before the race.|
Table 1 shows my finishing times for all of the Pennsylvania Triple Crown Series races I have finished as of the publishing of this report.
Table 2 shows my splits and cumulative time for the Hyner View Trail Challenge 50k for 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Figure 1 shows my pace (min./mile) for the Hyner View Trail Challenge 50k from 2017, 2018, and 2019.