Pick Your Poison 25km 2014

Dan

Every busy schedule needs some respite. In years past that rest has been in the form of breaks from running, however the past 6 months we have been more than a little preoccupied preparing for next big adventure (read www.jfdioverland.com) so running has actually become the break, the pro of this is that any long run feels like a treat, the con is that I have turned into a rolly Polly tub of lard trundling down the trails.

So with the stress of condo rental, insurance, truck mods, route planning, and what bloody social media outlet is the most engaging and interesting for people, oh and not to mention how to pack my personal gear into a 62L tote, put to one side for the weekend (well a Saturday morning) it is time for my first race of the season, Pick Your Poison.

This is how I found myself driving a motley crew of Cam, Mitch, Ben and myself to Horseshoe ——- with Geoff meeting us there. We arrived to find the hill shrouded in fog and still covered in snow, conditions obviously weren’t going to be quite as conducive to a fast run as they were last year, that combined with getting fat over a cold ass winter and all reasons/excuses for not getting a PB were in place. Now don’t be thinking that this is one of those under dog stories where at the end I triumphantly dip at the line to shave a second off last years time, I didn’t, in fact I added several hundred seconds to last year. Ok there, that is out of the way, so I can continue and any of you reading won’t have false expectations.

It was great seeing all our trail buddies coming out of hibernation, it was unfortunate that Heather had to work, however Mitch and Geoff were keeping me suitably entertained. Mitch had decided to throw down the gauntlet and declare that he would be pipping Geoff to the finish on this day, Mitch is an aspiring ultra runner, where Geoff is much more of an ultra veteran, still I thought this may be an entertaining dual as Mitch has been training hard in preparation for Sulpher 50k his first ultra. Geoff was a little taken a back by the challenge but more than happy to take up this whipper snappers challenge.

The race started at pretty gentle pace, the trails certainly were going to be challenging. I got to catch up with a few more friends on that first loop. Just after the first aid station I decided to look back and see how the Mitch-Geoff battle was shaping up, I saw Geoff was a minute or so behind me so I waited for him to catch up, we chatted for a while and established that Mitch was just behind. Mitch caught up and we cruised together for a while with me chastising Geoff for his decision to sign up for a Tough Mudder. Near the end of the first lap I pulled away from the boys on some long up hills.

At the start of the second loop I was going to wait for the guys and run some more with them and watch their battle unfold, but at the first aid station I got talking to a girl I had been running just behind during loop 1, and we ran together for half of that second loop having a good old natter so time just flew by. The only slight hiccup of our time running together came when we were taking about work life balance, as the word balance left her lips she tripped and hit the deck hard, fortunately the irony did not escape her and we had a good laugh about it after she had dusted herself down. I had put some distance between myself and the boys but had been able to catch glimpses of them as the trails switched back and forth. I saw that Geoff had built a lead over Mitch but couldn’t really tell by how much.

The trails were enormous fun, I actually really enjoyed all the slipping and sliding, then to cap off a great race I got lapped by a 50k runner a couple of minutes from the finish, not normally a bonus, but it was Simon Donato from the TV show Boundless, we had a brief chat and I was a little star struck.

I happily collected my socks and settled in to wait for the boys battle to pan out. To my surprise Geoff game blasting in just a few mins later, he must have turned on the afterburners in the later half of that last lap. Mitch came in not too long after, but I made sure to be fully changed for when he did just to psych him out, young grasshopper needs the odd slap down. Mitch was delighted however this was only his second time running this distance on the trails and he had taken the better part of an hour off his previous time.

The rest of the morning was spent chowing down on the awesome post race food, and waiting for our 50k friends to finish up.  Shout out to Melanie who took third female in the 50k.

The only low point of the day was the near 3 hours it took to drive home.

Only two more races before we head out on our big trip.

www.jfdioverland.com

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Where does the time go?

It’s been about a month since my last post and feel like lots has happened since and I also feel like nothing has happened. So I’m just going to give a quick run down of events.

Dan became a Canadian. And just in time too, dude holds everyone up crossing borders this should make life a little easier.

Dan charming the judge at his swearing in ceremony.

Dan charming the judge at his swearing in ceremony.

We sold this:

Our trusty car.

Our trusty car.

And bought this:

A truck makes so much more sense in the city...

A truck makes so much more sense in the city…

I was temporarily laid off.  Not a huge deal (except for the whole not getting paid bit) but unexpectantly stressful and scary for me. I’m lucky, I like my job and where I work, job security has never been a concern but we got new owners this year and everything work wise has been turned on its head. However, I tried to use this time wisely so I ran most days in the daylight, which was nice.

It's nice having the trails to yourself.

It’s nice having the trails to yourself.

Which way do you think I went?  Both! It's a short trail and I had the time.

Which way do you think I went? Both! It’s a short trail and I had the time.

Random ribbon tied to a tree.

Random ribbon tied to a tree.

You'll have to take my word for it but there is an owl in the tree.  I sat and watched it for a few minutes, but then a train went by and it flew away.

You’ll have to take my word for it but there is an owl in the tree. I sat and watched it for awhile it was beautiful.

Some people live in the woods in the city.

Some people live in the woods in the city.

And I caught up on some other hobbies too.

Made a skirt.

Made a skirt.

And some reusable gift bags.

And some reusable gift bags.

There was lots of yummy food cooked and baked, I could really get used to the stay and home wife thing except when it came to the paycheck.

I tried to run and race and it sucked. It was a fat ass half marathon called the Marquis de Sade put on by a local running store. Not being an official race meant no course markings, not being from the area meant carrying three sheets of paper that didn’t really help us. We somehow got separated from the group we were with and then proceeded to get lost. I think all my running while being off caught up to me too because the whole right side of me from the hip down felt like junk. I had niggles at ever joint, even my toes hurt. I gave up after 14km.

We started out as a group.

We started out as a group.

Here are the 3 sheets of paper, it was also very cold and windy that day, not a good day for trying to read maps.

Here are the 3 sheets of paper, it was also very cold and windy that day, not a good day for trying to read maps.

Then I didn’t run for 10 days. That wasn’t my intention, at first it was a few days to let my body rest and then I just didn’t feel like running. I suspect I was a little burnt out so the rest actually did me good. My runs since the break have been fantastic and I’m just taking it easy since I’m not really training for anything. Which leads me to…

Not being apart of the lucky 6%.  The 100 miler I did this year was a Western States qualifier and won’t be going forward so I threw my name in the lottery since I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to qualify again. Honestly I’m kind of relieved. This race is iconic but expensive and far away and with me not working it didn’t really make sense. That being said…

I’m back to work full-time which I’m happy about. I miss running in the daylight but that’s what the weekends are for.

I guess all that’s left is to figure out what’s next.

Batawa Fat Ass Trail Race 2013

This has been our last race of the season for the last 3 years.  And once again it did not disappoint.

Just to re-cap Dan and I spend a lot of time from May – October running on this course (and the trails around it) when we visit the family cottage.  Dan decided to run the 10km race again (watch less, since he forgot it at home) and I opted for the 17.5km distance.  Our friend Mitch was also running the 17.5km and was astounded by the fact that we knew no one at this race-it’s not an ultra so most of the familiar faces and friends we’ve made the last couple of years are absent at this event.

The plan; I didn’t have one.  After my DNF at Mogollon, I hadn’t been doing all that much training.  I wasn’t as bummed about it this time as I was the first, but I kind of felt like running and I needed a break, so yoga and I started hanging out, and then this race snuck up on me.  I’m in the middle of an inspiring fell running book (Feet in the Clouds), so I decided to race like a fell runner, which seems to be – run like hell and hope you can hang on.  Maybe not the best plan, but I had nothing else going for me.

The race started at 10am under very ominous skies that thankfully never developed into any real weather, it was cool but our motley crew still rocked our shorts.

Last race of the season, because a race any later in the year would require long pants.

Last race of the season, because a race any later in the year would require long pants.

The first 500 meters or so there is a little spur around the drive-way/parking lot, I like to boot this bit and get out in front of as many of the hill walkers as possible, it’s too easy to start walking when everyone around you is.  As I started to head up the ski hill, it hit me how little hill running I’ve been doing of late, my legs were burning as were the lungs, but you know what, it was exhilarating.  A little voice in the back of my mind reminded me that I would “pay for this later”, I told that voice to “shut up and let me enjoy this please!?!”.  Finally making it to the top I was sucking wind, but I refused to slow down, I love the single track at the top of the hill, and the decent I’m usually scared of on the backside I just bombed down like I had nothing to lose.

Dan waiting for the start of the 10km

Dan waiting for the start of the 10km

Next section is single track along the bottom of the hill, I settled into a slower pace, mainly because I was getting tired (oops only 3km in!) but I love me a challenge.  I blew through aid the aid station wondering why people wearing CamelBaks were stopping for water, the next section just kind of rolls, it’s part single track and part ATV track, we hit the first “water challenge” about 5km in, I giggled watching people trying to go around.  When this course is wet, there is no going around, so I plowed straight through, receiving a few complaints for “splashing” but hey “I’m on the other side now, come get me!”, yeah never saw them again.  What people need to realise is that even if you make it around the “water challenges” the track following is usually wet and very slippery, your feet will get wet and dirty (I actually heard someone complain about the dirt on their shoes), the track is sort of clay so the kicker is that all the mud sticks to your shoes and your feet feel about 10lbs heavier when you hit the rail trail.   The rail trail is a nice section to open things up so I took the opportunity to scoot by a few people, then back onto ATV track to the bottom of the hill, its single track back up to the top with a few log obstacles thrown in to make sure you’re paying attention.  On my climb back to the top of the hill I had to switch to a hike, I was feeling like I was going to barf, but thought it was still a little too early in the race for that.  I bombed back down the front side of the hill and ran straight up to the water station and stopped for a glass of water, was it me or was it getting warm?  Nausea has a way of messing with your core temperature.  Anyway first 7.5km done in 43:34, now it was time for the 10km section.

Look at that form! Yes, I'm a heel striker and no I'm not trying to change it.

Look at that form! Yes, I’m a heel striker and no I’m not trying to change it.

I love the first 5km, they are pretty flat and I needed that, what I had forgotten about was the water.  Water, water everywhere.  I watched as some people nimbly danced along the edge of the water and the brush, but took my usual route of right through the middle.  To people reading this and thinking about doing this race I should warn you that my way is not necessarily the best way, some of the water sections are deep (past my knee at one) and some are long (so long that there was a real threat of losing my shoe and I seemed to pick up a lot of silt) but I’m not a graceful enough runner to not end up falling in.  First 5km down in 29:39, now to the last 5km, which would see some more hill action.

Mitch has a lovely gait, but I still kicked his butt (I have to while I still have the chance)!

Mitch has a lovely gait, but I still kicked his butt (I have to while I still have the chance)!

There is a small out and back on this section so, there were (10km) runners coming at me as I started out, it’s always interesting to see who will yield to whom on this section, since I was still utilising my run through the water technique I didn’t encounter any of that awkwardness.  As I was running up the hill that “never looks that bad” but somehow always kicks my ass, my old friend from last year caught up to me, Jim, he is probably approaching 60 and so so much faster than me.  He humored me for a bit letting me lead through the fun downhill single track (side note: if it takes two runners screaming at you to let them by, your music is probably too loud, and I don’t mean just for this race, I mean in general), once we hopped the drainage ditch and hit the ATV track he waved good-bye and went back to kicking my butt.  I spent the rest of this section picking off runners who had gone out too hard (apparently I wasn’t the only one doing this) and misleading people through deep puddles of water.  I chatted a bit to a young guy who was running his furthest distance yet, he was happy for some company, it’s weird for me to see people down in such short races, but it’s all perspective, and it was his longest run ever, I told him he should be celebrating, he was going to set a PB, the smile that came across his face when he realised this is why I like running.  We finally popped out onto the last bit of road back to the finish, he of course sprinted away from me (after saying thanks) and I pretended to sprint after him (I still have zero kick) to finish in 1:47:57, good enough for 8th female (and yes there were more than 8 females), not too shabby for an under trained and out of shape ultra runner.

Post race was delicious as usual with chili and cookies, also all you could drink McDonald’s coffee from a coffee truck, which brings me to my next point, man has this race grown!  Nearly 700 participants this year, there is definitely some growing pains happening (mostly that people are being pains and complaining).  The spirit of this race is no frills fun, which is what it delivers, the website makes it very clear that you will be covered in mud (duh, it’s a trail race) and there is an award for “most lost” so no, the course markings are not every 5 feet.  I have no fear that the awesome RD Sandy will keep this race true to its roots and if people are look for a 5 Peaks Race, then that is what they should run.  I for one can’t wait to see what next year will bring.

Haliburton Forest 50km Race Report

So the plan for Hali was that we would  be heading out of the city at 1pm getting up there with plenty of time to set up camp and catch up with people before the pre-race meal and meeting.  Isn’t there a saying about best laid plans?
We ended up arriving at the Haliburton Forest at 6pm just as dinner was to start.  We quickly grabbed our race kits because they had our meal tickets, but even that took longer than expected as Dan threw everyone for a loop by announcing that he would like to drop from the 100 mile to the 50km.  I was surprised but completely understood where he was coming from.  Once we got that sorted out it was off to get some grub (as usual I was starving).  Having never run this race before I loved sitting at the big tables in the chalet style restaurant listening to everyone’s excitement.  It just so happened that we ended up at the same table as Carolyn, who I’ve run with a bunch of times now, and her running partner Yves, of all the tables!  As dessert was being served a microphone started being passed around the room and we were all asked to introduce ourselves and say what race we were doing, etc.  I’m not going to lie, I was not excited at this prospect and wondered how long this was going to take, but I very quickly got swept up and enjoyed listening to all the comments and I finally got to put some names to some faces!  After saying lots of hello’s we figured we better go and find somewhere to camp, but as luck would have Dan’s friend Mitch,who’s in-laws have a trailer in the reserve, invited us to stay with him, that was awesome.  The downside was that he was stuck in traffic, so we’d have to wait for him.  Well he didn’t turn up until just after 9, then it was a 25 minute drive to the trailer, then we had to make up beds (Cameron, who was traveling with us slept on the kitchen floor!).  I tried to get myself as ready for the morning as possible but with no space to spread out it was tough, plus I just wanted to get to bed because as it was rapidly approaching 11pm and we were going to be up at 4:30, I was mostly bugged by the fact that I couldn’t tape my toes up and new I would end up paying for it.  Despite the trailer being toasty and our bed comfortable, I had a terrible nights sleep.  I heard every trip to the bathroom, woke up to find Cameron standing over me causing me to scream, scaring Cameron reaching for a pillow over me, making him scream, it wasn’t good.  I was staring at my alarm willing it to go off for what felt like hours, it finally did and it was comical to watch us all dancing around one another trying to get ready.  We somehow managed to get out the door on time.
I’m glad we made it to the start on time because Helen said a lovely prayer and then we had a piper march us to the start line.  I ran around the start line hugging my friends heading out on their first 100 mile attempts (ok maybe one or two second attempts as well) including Alex, Carolyn, and Joe, saying a silent thanks that it wasn’t me.  There was a count down and we were off!  The 6am start included the 100 mile, 50 mile and 50km racers.  It was a little dark, thankfully enough people had planned for this and their lights helped to lead the way, it also helps that the first few kilometres are on the road.
I didn’t really have a plan going into this race, I had only run 10km of the course (10km that was not in my race!) but I knew from that run that this was going to be a challenging course.  After looking at the previous years times, I figured if I finished between 7 and 8 hours and be happy and firmly mid-pack (just the way I like it).  The course is an out and back with a loop in the middle, it sounds and looks confusing but the race organizers did an amazing job of marking the course and letting us know about when we needed to pay attention.
I really struggled with the course looking at this map but once explained and I saw the flag placement it made complete sense.

I really struggled with the course looking at this map but once explained and I saw the flag placement it made complete sense.

Dan and I settled into a nice pace, by the time we hit the first trail section the runners had spread out enough that there was no conga line issues, something I did start to take issue with was the prevalent use of bear bells.  Okay I get that this is bear country (but so is Limberlost and I’ve never heard a bell there), but seriously bears are way more afraid of you and there is no proof that they work (this article quotes an expert who says you may end up attracting them)!  If you want to scare off a bear then get a bear banger, or at least get a bell with a magnet so that it doesn’t jingle until you need to make noise.  Ok rant over, where was I?  Yes I was finding myself irritable.  I think it was the lack of sleep, but I felt down right grumpy and anti social all of a sudden.  I’m sure Dan was wondering about my short one word answers, and the fact that when we passed people I only said hello instead of asking their life story as usual.  To be fair the course is stunning so I was distracted taking in the beautiful sights (and kicking myself for not bringing my camera).  It’s also gnarly, constant up and down, roots, rocks, moss, log bridges, everything and anything, so I was trying not to fall over, there wasn’t much soft ground to fall on.
After A.S.#4 Dan and I were pretty much on our own (no more bells!), he was leading and we were running some runnable trail, when I could hear two woman chatting behind us, and that was it, I passed Dan and just took off.  I just wanted to be alone in the quiet in this beautiful forest, me and my foot steps (and panting).
Running fast was therapeutic and I loved every step, in the back of my mind I knew this wasn’t sensible and that I would be miserable and cranky if I blew up but I didn’t care.  At 20km the lead runner passed me in the opposite direction, moving crazy fast, he had 10km on me!  Seeing people on their way back to the finish only made me move quicker, the lead lady went flying by looking amazing, I passed through A.S.#5 and headed to the turn around, I didn’t know how much beyond the aid station it would be (much further than I thought!) people already turned kept telling me I was almost there, finally I came up to a sign that simply said “50km turnaround”.  I stopped and stared at it.  I was on my own and was confused that there wasn’t an actual person checking off runners, to be sure I shouted “hello?!”  no one answered so I turned and headed back.  Only in ultra running would there be an honour system turnaround!
It took me 3:11 to traverse 25km and now I had to go back the way I came.  I saw Dan just as I was approaching A.S.#5, he gave me a high-five.  He looked pretty good for a guy who had hardly run in 6 weeks, a bit warm but otherwise not too bad.
At the aid station I ate some oranges and filled my water bottle.  I had made a small error in the morning, because I was cranky and being a brat and I couldn’t find my camera, I decided to just run with 1 handheld, threw some Justin’s PB in my waist belt and figured I’d be fine.  I have no idea why I thought that, I’m always hungry and 1 bottle of Vitargos was not going to last me for 50km!  I even had some in a little bag that I could have brought with me and mixed at an aid station since I only wanted carry 1 bottle, but no I was left with no choice than to eat at the aid stations and hope my tummy co-operated.
As I headed back out on course I caught up to a man and we chatted a bit and then he made some comment about running like a girl and took off.  I was left wondering what the heck he was talking about as I walked up a big hill eating my hazelnut Justin’s, so tasty.  And then the 26km runners started to pass heading to their turnaround.  I made sure to great everyone, I didn’t always receive a reply which quite frankly is just rude.  Then I noticed that I seemed to always be the one getting out of their way, and well that annoyed me so I started charging straight at everyone unless they were looking like they were going to share the trail (and I know I shouldn’t enjoy doing that, but I was running further so get out of my way!).  I caught back up to the man who had run away from me earlier and he started to tell me about all his injuries and why he was going to let me go today….let me go?  What, you’re sure you could beat me any other day? Dude get over it, a girl passed you there is no shame in that, there were lot’s of ladies ahead of you.   Anyway I told him he should just run his own race and left him in the dust this time.
Speaking of running their own race, I was starting to wonder where our friend Mitch was.  He was doing the 26km and this would be the furthest he’d ever run, it’s so exciting watching someone get into running.  Next thing I knew he popped up over a crest, I made sure was alive and told him he was doing great.  He wanted to know when I dropped Dan 🙂
At the next aid station I made the mistake of having some Heed, that stuff just touching my lips had my stomach flipping, thankfully the sweet volunteer saw my near vomit and swiftly took the cup away from me replacing it with water, she just smiled and said “a lot of people have that reaction to Heed”.  It has to be said all of the volunteers were amazing.  I mean fantastically amazing.  Just awesome.
Back on my way, I wondered how my brother-in-law’s 12km went.  This guy doesn’t train and is fast, my sister feels he’s part gazelle.  This was his first trail race though and I thought it might humble him, it didn’t, he was 4th male and was hanging with the winner for the first 5km!  Well done Steve.
As I came into A.S. #2 I actually saw Steve, and it took me a second to realise he was done and back to cheer us on.  What a boost, my Daddy, Sisters and best of all my 3.5month old nephew!  (Cutest little guy, aid station ladies agreed with me!)  With 12km to go mentally I felt the best I had all day (although I give my family credit for that boost) but my body was beginning to feel the hard effort and the constant terrain changes, I reminded myself that sometimes it hurts and to get on with it, I’m going to be in pain for much longer in a couple of weeks at Mogollon.
I managed to pass one man the whole Normac loop, he was lovely and tried to run with me telling me how he’d run the race 15 years prior in 4:15, he said this hurt more (we were over 6 hours now).  He finally had to walk but told me I looked great and to keep going it’s the easy road stretch, no excuses.   And that I did.  The road is rolling and had a funny slant so I was running in the middle where I was sure I’d be hit by a car, but I promised myself no stopping until the finish.  Back into A.S.#2 I was shocked to see the family still there and hugged them all again, handed off my hand held bottle and headed to the finish.  Of course it’s still 2km from there and there is hill (not steep but long), I ran every step.  Passed a guy in the 26km race who told me he pulled his groin…ok boys, seriously enough of this!  I was too happy to be finishing to worry about his ego. The final stretch is through the gate and I lucked out that a nice man was coming through and he let me through before closing it (other runners had to go around the outside of it).  I didn’t have a kick (never do so this shouldn’t have surprised me) so I stayed steady for the finish line, of course 30 meters out pulled groin guy decides he can now sprint and blows past me.  All I could do was laugh, the people on the sidelines were all commenting on what a jerk he was and good job on my finish.
Finally finishing a race happy!

Finally finishing a race happy!

All said it took me 6:46:11 and I placed 8th female and 21st overall.  Not a bad effort for what I thought in the first 10km was going to be a horrible day.
Another one for the pot!

Another one for the pot!

I have to say again that this is a fabulously run race, even at the finish someone was straight over to me with water in hand calling me by my first name (I know it’s written on my bib but it’s the extra effort to actually use my name that’s touching).  I was given a “brown bag” lunch which I wolfed down because (surprise surprise) I was starving.  Then put on some warm clothes and waited for Dan and Mitch to finish.  Mitch did great and has already signed up for another race in November (I think we’ve got him hooked).
Dan finally sauntered in, smiling and happy to have finished a race!  And that made me smile for the rest of the day.

Mec 10km Race Report 2013

Short and sweet.

This race was back in July, Dan and I had planned to run it as a bit of speed work.  MEC offers low cost races 5 times a year, and at $15 for a chip timed event we thought it was worth a try.
Of course Dan would continue his dismal summer of racing by falling and gashing his leg open 2 days before the race, so it was just me and now the race cost $30, hmm the value was disappearing.
Race morning I overslept and just didn’t get going until I realised I had to run to the race start, what was supposed to be a gentle warm-up turned into a 5km mad dash.  I made it to the start line with 6 minutes to spare, just enough time to pick up my chip, figure out how it went on and line-up.
Low key race kit pick up/start and finish

Low key race kit pick up/start and finish

My goal was just to beat my previous 10km PB which was pretty soft at 59:38, that was set in 2011 (link), I haven’t run a 10km race since then.  So as I stood on the start line I was trying to do some math to figure out what pace I needed to run but my math stinks so I decided to aim for 5min/km, that would get me a new PB.  I should probably mention that I hadn’t been doing any specific training for this race, I spend more time doing hill workouts than speed workouts, this course was flat as a pancake so I wasn’t overly confident my training was going to get me a PB.
The race started and my first plan of action was to not start too fast and to safely get around all the people who insist on starting right up front and then walk 10 minutes into the race.  This included passing a 7 year old girl who was already crying at the 1km marker because her and her dad were “losing”, way to set your kid up for success!  First km was a 4:49, I just tried to focus on staying consistent.  The course is a lollipop out and back that you run twice (there was also a 5km option) which was nice as you got see lots of people, there were only about 130 people in the 10km and 160 in the 5km.  I was surprised there was an aid station at such a low key affair and although I didn’t use it many people were.  It was a pleasant day for a run, a little humid but cloudy so we didn’t have the direct sunlight to deal with.
I came into the 5km turn around in 25:32 minutes and decided that there was no way I was going to sub-50 minutes since I never negative split (and there was a surprising head wind on the return portion), but then I thought “why not”, new goal, let’s get uncomfortable and negative split and go for the sub-50 mins.  The course was busier now with all the 5km runners returning, it was fun to cheer people on, although I felt like the only one doing this.  I do like holding something back for the second half, it is fun to fly (at least that’s what it feels like to me) by all the blown up people who went out too fast.  It’s also strange that after 40 minutes the race was almost done, that’s short races for yah (oh yeah and the race was already over for the winners).
With 2km left I really started to push, smiling as I came around the final corner I couldn’t see the finish clock and had no idea how I was doing for time (I had pushed something on my garmin and it was only displaying my average pace and I suck at math…) so imagine my surprise when I crossed the line in 49:50.  I had done it, I actually ran a negative split, I actually ran a sub 50 minute 10km (mediocre yes, but MY mediocre time).
The finish line was, well nothing really, there was some cookies, and bananas and you had to line up and fill your own Dixie cup with water (which I kind of liked).  I did run the 5km home at a much more pedestrian pace since I didn’t have anywhere to be.
I would do one of these events again.  It was well supported for the cost and it was a fun way to get my morning run in with a bit of speed work.
That'd be a PR, with zero training, my favourite kind!

That’d be a PR, with zero training, my favourite kind!

And now a little rant….
I have never seen so many water belts in my life.  Ok it was 5 km or 10 km and yes its the summer, but I would hope that most people had been training for this.  I was alarmed at the number of people I saw with hydration packs.  I’d like to believe that some of those people had done what I did and had run there and were going to run home, but I know that was not the case for some.  I didn’t bring anything with me and only had one Dixie cup of water after the race.  That was plenty.  These companies have certainly done an excellent job of marketing and selling the need for hydration, but I have to say after dealing with Dan’s hypernatremia and making changes myself, I believe we are becoming a waterlogged nation and these short races are proof of it.  People too afraid to run a supported race without their own water.  Plus who wants to run with water if you don’t need to, I’m sure (at least I hope) most of those runners returned to the finish line carrying most of that weight.
Rant over.

Limberlost 56km Race Report 2013

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.

The new pack, not sure how I feel about it just yet.

The new pack, not sure how I feel about it just yet.

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)

Me: Why?

Dan: Because I’m nice.

Me: What? What about your race?

Dan: It’s over.

Me: What?!

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!

Oh so happy to be done!

That’s one exhausted runner.

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.

At least this year there was medal!

At least this year there was medal!

This and That

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.

Sagittal view. The black oval shouldn't be there.

Sagittal view. The black oval shouldn’t be there.

Axial view.  My lovely tendon, with a cyst on top.

Transverse view. My lovely tendon, with a cyst on top.

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.

A flat bit, finally.

A flat bit, finally.

There is a big rock.

There is a big rock.

3. Saw some wildlife.

A butterfly

A butterfly

This turtle was laying eggs in the driveway at the cottage.  Not the smartest place.

This turtle was laying eggs in the driveway at the cottage. Not the smartest place.

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!

Good thing we took the photo before we ran.

Good thing we took the photo before we ran.

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.

At the start of their fist half marathon

At the start of their fist half marathon

Mummy-in-law at the turn around.

Mummy-in-law at the turn around.

Dan returning from his hot 50km

Dan returning from his hot 50km

A family of medal hoarders

A family of medal hoarders

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's not small.

It’s not small.

It was Canada Day that weekend so we stopped to look at some decorations in Batawa on route to the boulder.

Batawa dressed up for Canada Day.

Batawa dressed up for Canada Day.

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.