Pick Your Poison 50km Race Report

This was the view on the way to our first trail race of the year.


Needless to say I wasn’t too happy about it. This winter has dragged on, just 5 days ago I went for a morning run in my fleece pants, so I was worried, I just didn’t feel up to being cold and wet for 6 hours.

Thankfully the downpour ended, however running a course that took place on a ski hill meant that we had one last bout of snow running ahead of us.

snow on course

PYP takes place at the Snow Valley Heights Ski resort, we had never run this race before so we didn’t know exactly what to expect other than we would most likely be running up and down ski hills.  The course is a 12.5km loop that you can run once, twice or four times (at one point I really wished that there had been a three loop option).  Dan was running the 25km and I would be taking on the 50km.

The course was fantastic, all on trail, some smooth double track mixed with some sweet hilly single track.  Very well marked, not a single worry about getting lost.  There was 3 aid stations which allowed us to run without a pack or bottles (especially since it was pretty cool out when we started).  My goal for the race was to run consistent, unlike my training, and try to run the same time for each lap and as always, not stop and linger at aid stations.

Lap 1 I ran with Dan and we tried to start out slow, actually I feel like we did a pretty good job of this, we started near the back and stayed calm when we hit the first single track in a big conga line. We opted to run all the slight inclines and walked the steep ones, which there were plenty.  We finished lap 1 around 1:27 (official results are not yet up so this is a guess from our watches) so now I knew what I had to do for the 2nd.

Dan and I started out lap 2 together, I knew Dan would probably take off when we reached some fantastic single track after the 2nd aid station but I was happy to have his company for most of the lap.  Again we ran the small inclines and walked the steep ones, I found walking across the snow covered portions of the trail easier than running, the snow was slippery.  Dan took off when I expected him to and I started talking to a girl who’d been running close to us for while, Carolyn, she was aiming for a sub 6 hour finish so I decided to try and stay with her.  That lap was around 1:27.

Lap 3 I started out on my own but had seen Hutch go by while I was fueling and decided to try and chase him down.  I met Hutch at Limberlost last year, he is a young guy with such an impressive endurance drive, it was great to catch up to him and hear about all of his adventures, he carried on while I stopped to grab some water at the first aid station, the rain had completely moved on and the sun was now making an appearance, it was warming up quick.  I caught back up to Carolyn as we slipped across the now melting snow, we ran the rest of the lap together, she was good for me to run with as I pushed us up the hills and she pushed us down (why don’t I like going down?).  Finished this lap around 1:32.  This was the last I would run with Carolyn as I needed to use the bathroom.  The nice thing about this race is that we got to use the ski chalet, making for a very civilized bathroom experience, the bad thing about this race is that if you needed to go you had to walk a little off course, down some stairs and then back again to get back on course.

The bathroom break killed my momentum.  I started out lap 4 happy with the knowledge it was my last lap, but then I just got tired and had a side stitch.  I forced myself to run the first few kilometers that are nice and flat, as soon as I hit the first incline though I treated myself to a walk, but then I started to get annoyed with myself because I know I could run this section and I knew if I kept walking this lap was going to take forever.  I suddenly felt super out of shape finding every little incline tough and I don’t really know why.  I’m still working on my nutrition so that may have been it, but I was also getting really hot and regretting not having a water bottle with me.  I used the snow on course to my advantage and started putting little snowballs down my shirt and on the back of my neck.  Eventually I caught up to Chris, who I also met at Limberlost and we had a good chat.  He had run 100 miles at Across the Years in Arizona this year and we realised that we knew a few of the same people and shared a love for AZ.  That really seemed to revive me and I eventually pulled away, at this point I hadn’t been passed the whole lap but I noticed a guy slowly reeling me in.  That was all the motivation I needed to keep moving, I resolved to not let him get past me.  He got close and if the loop was any longer he probably would have had me, but I threw myself down the final hill, half running but mostly skiing across the snow and splashing through the water at the finish from all the melting snow.  Final lap took about 1:43.

No medals for this race instead finisher socks.


We also got some honey, which is awesome since I go through honey at an alarming rate.


Dan even won a door prize, more socks.

more socks

Post race we had burgers and salad which were tasty (most things are after running for more than 6 hours though).  I beat myself up on the car ride home for falling apart on the last lap, but after sleeping on it I feel pretty good about my effort.  I did run pretty consistently, I was unprepared for the heat and my nutrition still needs some tweaking so I’m actually quite pleased with my result.

I’m disappointed about my new shoes though, I really like them but this was the longest distance I’ve done in them and I learnt that they don’t drain water too well, my feet were wrinkly when I removed my socks and I got this;


And I do declare that spring has sprung because I also got this;


My first sunburn of the season, a nice base for my farmers tan.


“What does the other guy look like?”

“What does the other guy look like?” is a question I have been asked over the last few days.  It always takes me by surprise.  Although I do get some pleasure watching people try to hide their disappointment in my answer.  Don’t worry I didn’t break my face again.

I didn't punch anyone, I promise.

I didn’t punch anyone, I promise.

This was taken the day of the incident, today the wounds have scabbed over nicely and are a nice dark red.  But I think if I’d punched someone the wounds would be on or closer to my knuckles.  Anyway no fighting for this girl and I have no idea how this happened, but it happened at the same time as this;

Road rash

Road rash

Road rash and a bruise, how lucky can a girl get?!

Road rash and a bruise, how lucky can a girl get?!

Again these pics were taken last Friday (5 days ago), somehow the wounds look worse now, but I’m too lazy to take any new pictures (it’s just too sad for me).  So obviously I didn’t get these marks from being in a fight, nope, graceful being that I am, I fell. On pavement.  While running sort of fast.  At kilometer 14 of a 38km run I hit the deck hard.  Of course there were witnesses, nobody laughed, at least not to my face.  I still have no idea what happened, one minute I was chugging along enjoying my run and the next I was looking up at the sky.  The lady whose car I fell next to just happened to be getting ready to vacate her parking space, I think I scared her a little, she came rushing over offering to call 911.  That freaked me out because I actually felt okay but she thought I needed an ambulance, was there something wrong that I couldn’t see?  I did a quick check and decided that I did not need an ambulance and asked her to hold off.  I used the fire hydrant that I was beside me to pull myself up (I guess I was lucky I didn’t somehow impale myself on that), had the full on “Bambi legs” thing going on but managed to get myself to a small retaining wall at the end of someone’s yard.  There I sat and decided that I was in fact okay just a little shaken up.  With that, the Good Samaritan left (I think she really wanted to call 911) and I set about cleaning myself up.  I wasn’t a Girl Guide for long but I do like their motto “be prepared”, so I always run with some wet wipes in my pack and a small tub of vaseline.  With that I wiped up the blood and all the other crud that gets on you when you roll around on the sidewalk, then dabbed with the vaseline to stem the bleeding and tried to decide what to do.  I also always carry a transit token with me and realised that if I walk about 300m I’d be at a bus stop that would get me to the subway and take me home, but it was so nice out, and I still had 24km to run, and it was so sunny, a perfect long run day.

So I did what any sane and rational person would do and walked to the bus stop, but I couldn’t see a bus coming.  So then I decided I would run to the nearest subway station but gently. By the time I got there I was feeling pretty good, so I finished my run.  Did I mention it was really nice out?