This was my second crack at the Sulphur Springs 50k, last year it was my first ever ultra and despite it kicking my ass I loved it and the Dundas Conservation Area became one of our favorite running spots.
The day before the race it dawned on me that this was going to be my first solo ultra, Heather to this point had been right there on the start line with me. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be today. Very glad I hadn’t acknowledged that I was going to be running this race on my own earlier, I think it would have freaked me out a bit.
My plan was to aim for a 6 hour 20 min finish, it didn’t take too long to realize that this was a little ambitious. It was hot hot hot, I suck in the heat, also if I am honest my legs were not fully recovered from the 50 miler 3 weeks ago. So I decided to just have fun with the race and see how the cards fell.
Running on my own meant that I had to keep myself entertained, so along with the usual things that go through my head as I run I decided to chat to a few of the other runners and had a grand old-time swapping stories with all sorts of runners, and non runners. One of the more bizarre moments came when I was approached by a young man and woman with clipboards who explained that they were doing a kinesiology project and wondered if I would mind being filmed and answering a few questions. Of course I am not one to shy away from a little attention plus I was struggling a bit at this point so this distraction seemed like a win win to me. They agreed to keep up with me while they filmed an asked questions, not hard as I was at a bit of a low and had started to walk. They peppered me with questions, think I did an ok job of answering them, other than the on about the technology on my wrist, I explained that it was a buff (you know the things off survivor) that I was using to mop the sweat off my face. Only later after retelling this story to Heather did she point out that they were probably referring to the very expensive GPS watch on my other wrist not the free buff on my left arm!
I also got the chance to be a good Samaritan a few times on this race. I stopped a 100 mile relay runner going the wrong direction. Even though I don’t really like relay runners, actually not all relay runners just the ones that don’t wear their race bibs on the back. It really pisses me off when they come blasting past, this can be a bit crushing when you don’t realize they are running on fresh legs. So if by chance any relay runners are reading this follow good race etiquette, and would it hurt you not to be the rudest runners on the course, without fail you are the least likely to acknowledge another runners efforts. Rant over…
I was also able to help the special guest race marshal by covering her post so she could take a quick alfresco wee. It seemed to confuse a lot of runners when a fellow runner was telling them where to go!
Not too long after this came across a pair of 25k runners one of whom was having a pretty nasty calf cramp, they didn’t have any water or salts on them so I stopped gave her a salt tab and handed her my handheld and told her to drink what she needed. Nice of me I guess but it turns out that she needed a lot more water than I had anticipated, so I ended up running the hardest part of the headwater trail with half a bottle of water, oh well she needed it more than me they were only 2k from the finish, I hope they managed to finish strong.
So how did I do? All in all I was pretty happy to come in with time of 6:54 which was 7 mins faster than last year, not bad considering the tired legs and the distractions. Next year though I want to try it again without tired legs, I am convinced I can do it in 6:20 or less.