Short and sweet.
Well I suppose it would be remiss of me not to post on the latest running mishap. This time it wasn’t even Heather damaging herself it was yours truly.
Last Thursdays training run was a run of two parts, the first part of the run was a brisk 10k followed by a couple of pints and plate of nachos with Heather and Cam. Part one was very pleasant, part two not so much. Heather and I bid farewell to Cam and started our run home. Barley 500m later I managed a very public trip and nose dive into a flower bed whilst trying to dodge pedestrians. A little shaken I got to my feet, quick system check, hmm a little dirty, little shocked all seems ok, oh hang on did I always have that hole in my leg? On rapid reflection I concluded that this was a new hole indeed. Heather was great making sure I wasn’t more broken and suggesting I also clean my face up a little as it seemed to be disturbing passers by. At this stage my options seemed to be; feel sorry for myself and catch the subway home or run the last 5k of my run, obviously I chose the latter which elicited strange looks from people, fair considering the blood running down my shin.
Now when I am not moaning about an injury it is bad news. If I am moaning typically I am just being a wuss, however if I get all stoic then we may have something of an issue. We had an issue, Heather attempted to clean out the wound but as she did he realized it was both dirtier and deeper than our home first aid kit was able to handle, despite my efforts to dig bark mulch out of the gash with a Q-tip (eventually this resulted in me feeling kinda woozy). So this was to be my first trip to a Canadian accident and emergency (they just call it Emergency here). The Doc did a great job of cleaning me up, and I ended up with 4 stitches. During the stitching and cleaning I chatted to the doctor about running and up coming races, which I think was good because he didn’t say I wasn’t allowed to run. I think he knew that I was not going to abide by this even he did say it, instead he simply told me to stick a band-aid over it and keep it clean.
The next day my leg was stiff and I was hobbling a bit, decided to skip the MEC 10k I had planned for Saturday and rest up ready for my birthday run. Heather however still ran the race and set herself a new 10k pb.
You will all be pleased to know that I am whingeing and complaining about my leg – I must be in the mend.
Heather’s stipulation for the 2nd annual beer mile was that under no circumstances must Molson Canadian be the beer of choice. This resolution however quickly faded, as is tradition with the beer mile we provide beer for anyone foolhardy enough to enter, that mornings hung over (Heather not me for once) run to the Bleasdell Boulder left H somewhat spent, so the thought of travelling further than our local rural LCBO was decidedly unpalatable. This is how the field once again ended up with Canadian, to my mind whilst a vile beer a great choice for a Canada Day Weekend beer mile. Heather however was bound and determined to find an alternative that would fit within official beer miles rules, this is how she ended up with James Ready 5.5’s, I can only put this choice down to her lack of experience with bucka’ beers.
Having made a few more friends in the ultra community I have encountered more benchmarks for what constitutes a good beer mile time. In particular the Boultbee sisters sub 8 mins. Now in a normal race those ladies can kick my ass, but surely where beer is concerned and the mechanics of drinking said substance in abundance and quickly I had to have the advantage. I stand around 8 inches taller and out weigh them by the better part of a 100lbs. Non the less their time was over 2 mins faster than my previous years effort, but last year was my first effort at this and in general I have become a faster runner in this last year, perhaps this increased speed was to be the foundation of a beer mile legend…
We had several returning competitors, including Heather and her cousin Alex both seeking redemption, last year Alex avoided the lap of shame by the narrowest margins, finishing with hampsteresque cheeks full of vomit, and we know that Heather was the sole participant in the lap of shame. Alongside these veterans we had a few newbies, not least of all Blake the younger brother of the previous years ladies title holder. Blake lined up in little more than flip-flops but from the go he was snapping at my running shoe clad heels. Don’t get me wrong dude looks like a runner, but damn he could put those beers away too.
But as Blake and I were duking it out a quite interesting fight for third place was brewing. Last years runner up Brandon was being bested by Alex, by his own admittance Brandon had let his running slide over the last year, but was Alex really going to be able to maintain this drinking pace? It seems that in the last year Alex has spent as a student has strengthened his constitution, but surly he was punching out of his weight class.
Also new to the race we had Geoff who in his own right is a beer drinking champ but on this hot day the combination of the running and drinking led him to bow out after finishing the first loop in a respectable third place.
One of the biggest shocks of the race is reigning Masters Champion Dalton blowing a gasket after just 2 beers, this was blamed on the short duration between lunch and the event, and he is my father in law so what he says goes ;-). He then bowed out of the remaining race. Last years runner up in the men’s masters took top honours in that division, congratulations to Neil.
Meanwhile I was 2 beers in with Blake still just seconds back, this bit of fun was all if a sudden feeling like a race, we trotted in for beer number 3 still with seconds separating us we each watched the other chugging at their beer neither of us wanting to go to fast and risk a technicolor explosion and at the same time not wanting the other to take the advantage. As we left for our penultimate lap I passed Alex still in third place and still with enough spring in his stride to high five me as he bounded by (our course is a 200m out and back).
Meanwhile in the ladies race Heather was the only returning combatant, going head to head with her was her mum Cathy and older sister Laura. The latter were both running with modified rules Laura chugging diet coke and Cathy an unappealing combination of cider and diet coke. Both finished ahead of Heather but under beer mile official rules that leaves only Heather to take the official female title in a time of 19:50 mins, with no lap of shame. However there was copious post run vomiting.
Alex held on to his third place beating Brandon into fourth although I am not sure if he held onto his beer as he seemed to disappear into the woods for a long time post race.
As for Blake and me we came in for that final beer still only seconds apart, it was here however that I was able to pull away as Blake struggled a little with his last beer. I finished up just over 9 mins, would have been under had I not stopped for another beer forgetting to actually finish the race. I am bewildered at how much faster people can run this.
I did make a couple of errors that slowed me down, the long training run completed an hour so earlier probably slowed the legs down a bit. However the biggest mistake I made was making the beer ice cold, it actually hurt to chug it, maybe that is just because my British taste buds are accustomed to somewhat warmer beer.
When all said and done it was a blast, and if Blake trains as he was threatening to do I think next year I will be handing over my title.
Until next year my friends, stay thirsty!!
I don’t even know where to start with this one…
On Friday night we headed to Huntsville having decided to camp at the race so we could sleep in (haha). I proceeded to have a terrible nights sleep, I love camping and am very comfortable in a tent, what I’m not used to is being packed into a field in which people kept arriving until well after mid night. Our tent neighbour snored like a machine driving me insane, and then people started arriving at 5:30 to set up. I was exhausted.
Put my brave face on and the trail shoes I hate the least (I’m having some serious shoe struggles right now) and headed off to the pre race meeting. My mood improved as I met up with familiar faces, it was already hot but not too bad, maybe today wouldn’t be so bad. My goal was to beat 8 hours having missed it by 34 seconds last year (I also state in last years report that I should only do the 28km race-why do I not take my own advice?), but really I was hoping for 7:30.
As the race started I met up with Carolyn who I ran with at PYP, we seeded ourselves pretty well and settled into a nice pace along the stunning trail to the first aid station. You can hear the kids working this aid station from 3km away, they cheer for every single runner as we pop up over the little hill leading to the aid station. Lap 1 I didn’t stop at any aid stations as I was testing out my new UD Scott Jurek Hydration Vest, so was pretty happy to breeze by the stations. I wanted to run this lap conservatively as I know how difficult Lap 4 can be. Although the race consists of a 14.2km loop, it is deceptively difficult, there are no real big ups or downs, but lots of rolling, and lots of roots, rocks and mud, it takes its toll. Near the end of the lap we started getting passed my marathon runners and even a couple of 28km runners (who were bombing by) I wondered if Dan was going to end up lapping me since he was doing the marathon, I figured he might but probably not until my third lap. I was feeling good as we came around to complete Lap 1 and was astonished to see the clock read 1:59, oh that’s a lot slower than expected, the pace was comfortable but I believed we’d been moving a little quicker.
Carolyn and I decided to stay together and got out of the aid station quick, we had come into it in a bit of a conga line and didn’t want to get stuck behind again. We ran the road to the trail head quick, passing a few more people before jumping back onto the single track. We both wanted to pick it up on this lap, Carolyn paced the first half and I took over for the second. We both thought we’d done a good job of pushing but when we got back to the finish line we had done that lap in 1:55. What?!? I felt like we had worked so much harder for about the same pace, oh dear this was not going to end well. Then I realised I was looking at a familiar face, Dan’s. He confused me for a minute, I thought he was done, but then remembered he hadn’t passed me. The conversation while I switched out my bottles went like this:
Me: What are you doing here?
Dan: I’m going to run your next lap with you. (All smiles)
Dan: Because I’m nice.
Me: What? What about your race?
Dan: It’s over.
Dan: Um…I got lost.
Me: How? This is a very well marked course, there are flags every hundred meters!
Dan: (looking rather sheepish) I’ll tell you all about it on the lap.
So off we went, a threesome now, and Dan told his tale. He was running so well and feeling so good that he was composing his “redemption” email to a friend that he carelessly followed the guy in front down the wrong trail, it would turn out that he wasn’t the only one. Once him and the guy he was following figured out they’d gone wrong the turned and headed back, only to be met by an oncoming runner insisting that they had been going the right way, so he turned around again, and finally ended up climbing a tree to try and see if he could find any flags. Finally headed back the way they’d come only to be met by more runners, this time they insisted the other people turn around and sure enough the were back at the junction realising their error. He’d run about 3.5km extra and was annoyed so he finished the lap and waited at the finish line to cheer on a friend who had run the 14km, provide same aid for some ailing runners before deciding he’d head for a loop with me.
Lap 3 was tough, it was getting hot now as it was noon, Carolyn managed to get a big rock in her shoe and then have the quietest fall in the world. Dan was good company, we passed some carnage, including Alex who is a fantastic runner, but not having the best day, he managed to give us all a high five as we went by. As we went through the 8.8km aid station I was still feeling ok, I still felt like the effort I was putting in was not giving me the speed I wanted but I was still moving relatively well. A few minutes after leaving the aid station Dan noticed he’d lost his bib, he had it the aid station, so he turned back to go find it (no one likes a litter bug) and this is when things turned a bit for me. You would think for a married couple we’d have great communication, actually we do, just not when we are running. Carolyn and I assumed he’d book it back to the aid station looking for his bib and then run back to catch up. We coasted a bit to give him a chance to catch up, but people started passing by that we’d already passed. I asked if they’d seen Dan and they all said he was going back to the aid station. I needed to pee, so I decided to stop and wait and told Carolyn to go on ahead, he couldn’t possible be much further behind. Finally he appears, walking and chatting to another runner, when sees me standing there he starts to run to me telling me I didn’t have to wait. I told him that he didn’t say that, and I was trying to be nice since he’d been having such a bad day (he also lost his shoe in a mud pit, retrieved it, sat on a log to put it back on only to discover the log was rotten and he sank right trough it and ended up sitting is said mud pit), he apologised for not telling me to go ahead, especially since he’d WALKED all the back to the aid station, found the bib, and then proceeded to chat with everyone he passed by! Whatever, he was back, I had some company and we were running again. About 1km down the trail he tells me to “go ahead” he was feeling a bit “pooched”, ARGH!! The thought of killing him gave me a much needed adrenaline boost as I booked it back to the finish to try and catch Carolyn. Lap time 2:08. I was absolutely roasting by the time I popped out of the trail and the run across the baking field didn’t help the situation. I decided to dump my pack and just go with a handheld for the last lap. Carolyn was already gone and I knew there was no way I’d catch her now as she is faster and stronger than me, I left for my last lap feeling pretty bummed.
And that was the mood I would stay in. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. As a motored down the road in the glaring sun, with people who were finished their (shorter) races driving by kicking up dust, I wanted to stop and turn back. For the first time ever I really wanted to quit. I tried to reason with myself “it will be better as soon as we hit the trailhead”, but it didn’t get any better. I tried to sing to myself (that usually helps) but I couldn’t think of any songs, I literally could not come up with a tune. Now I was getting scared, what was wrong with me? I was starting to feel hungry and realised that nutritionally I hadn’t been too diligent but I wasn’t ravenous. I was just in a funk. I big stinky funk. I was down for the count and let my brain wander to all those dark thoughts that I can usually ignore. Thoughts like how I haven’t really felt strong running since Sulphur, how I didn’t deserve to run a sub 8 on this course because I was lazy and hadn’t done any work to make sure I achieved this goal. Then the pity party started I questioned why I even bothering going back to the Mogollon Monster, and how I didn’t deserve such a wonderful husband who always supports me (emotionally and financially) in all my crazy endeavors, and then I felt bad for wanting to kill him earlier and then the tears came. Apparently I needed a good cry. I just wandered along sobbing in the woods by myself, then I realised I needed to pull myself together as I was approaching the last aid station. I tried to act cool, there but I knew they knew I’d been crying. They were very friendly but quickly got me out of there. With 5km to go, I wiped my nose, stood up straight and ran every last step, forgiving myself for having a bad day. I have no idea why I’m so hard on myself, I mean, it’s just running for crying out loud!
My pity part lap (aka Lap 4) took 2:24, official time 8:28:09, Dan greeted me with a big hug as I was given my medal and I started to cry again (this is getting embarrassing) these tears were mainly relief that it was over. So not my best effort and certainly one that I’m not overly proud of, but at least I finished. I’ve got some work to do as well, because I AM going back to the Mogollon Monster and I DO believe I can do it. I just need to put the work in, stop putting myself down and train like hell.
Where has the time gone? Hard to believe that it’s been over a month since Sulphur. We’ve been busy, somehow that always seems to happen in the summer, so here is a quick update.
1. It took me 10 whole days of rest before I could run after Sulphur. I might have been able to try sooner but I didn’t want to push anything and I’m happy I took the rest. I only lost one toe nail even though right after the race it looked more like I was going to lose whole toes. After the swelling went down in my feet and ankles I noticed a small lump on the tendon running up from ankle. Working in health care has its perks.
Turns out it’s just a ganglion cyst. It most likely developed from the tongue of my shoe rubbing my ankle. I remember my tongue bugging me and telling Dan about it but I don’t think we did anything to fix it, so now I will wait and see if it goes away. On the plus side it doesn’t hurt anymore.
2. Dan and I explored some new trails at Rattlesnake Point. I like running here, lot’s of ups and down and more technical than what we usually run on.
3. Saw some wildlife.
4. Took a newbie out on the trails, cousin Alex, Dan tried to kill him and I chicked him. We are such fun people to run with!
5. Dan’s parents arrived from England for a visit and their first half marathon at the Niagara Ultra. Dan ran the 50km, and I dropped down to the half so I could keep my mother in law company and throw water on her head. Turned out to be a pretty hot and humid day, something that in-laws had not been used to running in (ever apparently), so the heat caused some havoc for them but they soldiered on.
6. Dan and I ran to the Bleasdell Boulder. Dan has passed the sign for the boulder for the last 7 years and decided he just had to see it, I’ve passed that sign my whole life and have never been all that fussed. Now we can both say we’ve seen the large erratic.
It was Canada Day that weekend so we stopped to look at some decorations in Batawa on route to the boulder.
There may have been a beer mile and a fastpacking adventure in there too, but I’m hoping to get my act together and write more detailed posts about those. Next up is Limberlost this weekend, I can’t wait for a hot 56km on my favourite 14km loop.