Sunday, October 18, 2009

Conquering Cultus 30K, and a Few Fears Along the Way

Conquering my Fears:

I LOVE running on the trails. I HATE driving in the city.

Why do I hate driving?
a) I grew up in a small one street town and
b)As a Physio, I treat many people who have been in horrible car accidents. So many bad stories.

Unfortunately, this fear of driving has prevented me from doing many running events I would love to do. So, as my own personal therapy I entered myself in a race "Round the lake give'r take 30 km" at Cultus lake. A whole 1 1/2 hr drive from my house.

White knuckled, I drove on the highway AND over a bridge AND in the dark AND in the pouring rain. My stomach was in knots by the time I arrived. Since the rain was hammering down, all the runners huddled under the tents. It was nice to visit with some old running colleagues, as well as meet some new ones.

By the time the pre race hype was started, my nerves melted away to be replaced by sheer excitement!

Seeing this pic, I'm thinking my trail running get-up looks pretty funny. But who cares, I'm in the bush! and will soon be very muddy!!

After taking it easy on the Frosty 50K, I was bursting at the seams to just go out and rip it up. This race totally satisfied my desires. It started with a nice flat loop to warm-up. I couldn't believe how fast people were going at the start, being so competitive at the beginning when its such a long race! The first hill was a steep one. I took my time and walk/ran it as was able, letting people pass me. I did learn a few things from the 50 K cuz then... the downhill... wooo hooo! my legs felt great and limber as I flew past those same people who were running rather apprehensively. The only person I did not catch up to was an amazing older lady wearing pink. Everyone seemed to know her.
Slip'n slide, jump'n glide thru the mud!! You couldn't avoid the muddy trench, you just ran thru it... sometimes literally skiing down the hill! It was soo fun. I did go off course a couple of times... and felt like I ran for a very long stretch of 20 min or so alone without seeing any markers. I was kinda leary of where I was. Then finally, a marker. Yaay! I'm still on course! There was a beautiful road run with trees overhanging. Unfortunately, if I came across a large puddle, it was either step IN it and get wet or, go AROUND it and get a tree branch in your face. So I ran thru most of them. The trail shot me out onto a field, then by a monastary, then the road.
Second Half
Ugh, the road, a long, pounding downhill, then slight up. My short legs, and the metal in my left tibia do NOT like pavement. Thank god we hit the trail again. At the 17km mark I see the lady in pink resting. I'm like... keep going, you're doing great! then I find out she was doing the relay! no wonder I couldn't catch up to her.
Up teapot hill I walk/run, winding my way up. I enjoyed a visit I had with another runner who I always passed on the uphill, then he passed me on the downhill and flats. Then some jerk flies past me saying " don't you hate it when you suck on the second half and people pass you"... well, my running friend informed me this guy was in the relay and was just starting. Grrr. There were great motivational signs going up the hill "you've come this far, you can finish" etc. Someone had a sense of humour when they put up the sign that said "you are almost at the top". Pffft, right! I ran for another 15 mins uphill AFTER that sign.
Bring it Home
After the top, there was a very, very Long downhill. Wished it was more technical, but was soo fun to fly down. Legs still feeling great. Head was a bit silly. I had been running by myself for a good 1/2 hr now and started to sing to keep myself entertained. Some theme from a game show I think. My thermolytes fell out somewhere before the start so I just ate chips/drank refresh at the aid stations to try to keep my electrolytes up. Good to see I could run without the thermolytes as a 'crutch'. So, back into civilization I come, run along the road, then around the beach. The beach! run in sand after 25 km or so? I just kept reminding myself of my friends who will be doing it every day at Marathon De Sables so I shouldn't complain.
I finished in 3:05 or so and felt great! Very wet and muddy, but great! Soaked in the lake, got changed, enjoyed some yummy chicken soup, then took cover under the tents as the rain storm picked up.
Nice Suprise
As I was busy chatting/eating etc, I was pleasantly suprised to find out I

won my age group! Not only was this a well organized race with a fun course, great support and great food, but I even got a medal! Later that night the results were posted, and I was even more impressed to see I was second female! The first, Nicola Gildersleeve, was like 30-45 mins ahead of me- She is certainly in a totally different class of runners, but I was still pleased. Maybe due to the rain some of the better runners stayed home in bed that day. What was most important was that I did the drive, did the run, and had a really FUN day.
And now, its back to the family, back to reality...laundry,gardening,cleaning, and of course, back to work. What a wonderful escape today was.