Aka a wake-up call for me!!
On Saturday Dan and I participated in the 3rd running of Run4RKids, which includes 2km, 5km, 30km, 42.2km, and 6-hour events. Dan and I were signed up for the 6-hour event. When Dan had suggested this run back in early December it seemed like a good idea, and although I figured I would only be capable of running 30 km or so Dan convinced me to sign up the 6-hour since it was the same price.
The event takes place at the indoor track and field facility at York University, it is really well run and supported. The longer events are run around the outside warm up track and the shorter events take place on the banked inner track. One loop was about 232m, we had naively thought this was going to be “springy” track but no such luck as I confirmed it was concrete when I sat down a little too hard.
There were plenty of familiar faces and race directors from the Ontario ultra community, which was comforting, but the reality of my (lack of) running was really starting to sink in. In the past 2 months I’ve run a grand total of 131 kms. Pretty sad (for me). I took a lot of pleasure in resting my foot (which apparently I shouldn’t have been doing) and had a very good, unrestrained holiday season which had left my shorts feeling a little tighter than usual, I should’ve signed up for the 5km. Dan on the other hand has been very good and still been running frequently, he didn’t look worried. My plan became, run as far as I can then sit around and wait for Dan to finish, simple enough, right?
At 9am we lined up at the start and someone said go and off we went, like hamsters on a wheel, around and around. On each lap you run over a timing mat and there was a screen showing how long the lap had taken and your cumulative distance. It only took about 5 laps for me to figure this out. And then I was bored. I was also running really slow, sticking to the outer edge of the track so the faster people could pass, this was going to be a long day, Dan had already lapped me twice. But then a man asked if I was Race in Pieces, his name was Peter and he’d been reading our blog since it started (more or less), and he has run the DeathRace 6 times! He saw us on course during our attempt, and later on our respective vacations at the hot spas, and multiple races across Ontario, and just recently he started working for the same company Dan does. He felt it was necessary to introduce himself before we thought he was a stalker. What a small world.
At the end of the first hour we changed directions which I (and I think everyone else) was thankful for. I was desperately needing to run up a hill or down a hill or some variation, but since there we obviously no hills, I decided to do a little tempo run. For the next half hour I ran 15-20 seconds faster per lap, I foolishly took a bathroom break and could not get back into the rhythm of running faster, so I settled back into slow. By the end of the second hour it was funny to listen to everyone grumble (me included) about how going one direction hurts their knee, but this direction hurt their back, etc. I was craving a hill, preferably up and really long.
Direction change over with and I was really starting to suffer (who am I kidding I’d been suffering from the start) but now it was really starting to show, Dan was concerned with my walk frequency and bathroom breaks (hey, a break is a break and those were the cleanest bathrooms at an ultra ever). My everything hurt, running flat hard ovals is hard on the body (and the few extra pounds I’m carrying don’t help that either). I told Dan that I was going to do 30km but I think for the safety of my body that I should stop there. He agreed as he noticed I had started to shuffle.
It took me nearly 4 hours to run 30km, I felt guilty stopping, watching everyone else soldier on around and around. I felt like an ultra running wimp, undeserving to be called an ultra runner. So off to the pub we went so I could sulk in a beer. While sulking the woman who cleared our table actually “tsked” at my left over salad and commented that “someone shouldn’t have had the dip to start”! She might as well have slapped me in the face.*
Turns out it was the slap I needed. I’m done whining and sulking and making excuses.
I’m just going to go for a run.
* In the waitresses defence I think she simply meant that I had spoiled dinner with my (shared) starter and I take full credit for being over sensitive.