Saturday, March 27, 2010

Evolution of a Trail Runner

On a nice long run the other day I was thinking of how my running has changed.  In the end I came up with this  humerous list:

"Evolution of a Trail Runner"

1. You like the outdoors and go for hikes. But you think people who run 50Km+ are CRAZY.
2. You want to cover more ground, so you run a bit.
3. You go in a few races and actually enjoy it. You feel like a kid again.
4. You start signing up for longer and longer races.
5. You develop a subconcious  6th sense for foot placement on gnarly trails.
6. What used to be a 'hill' is now only an 'incline'
7. You start seeking out trails with more HILLS
8. You research ways to run longer without bonking or cramping.
9. You even look up trails to run while on holidays.
10.You run your first 50km race.
11. You have huge respect and admiration for those who run 50Km or more.
12. Now all your friends think you are CRAZY.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Doing the DIRTY DUO with Jim and Marc

I know that sounds kinky- I couldn't resist.  But really,  the 'dirty duo' is actually a duo of run and/or mountain bike race. We chose the 50 Km run!
I must first off say this was one of the most well run run/bike events I have EVER been to.  Amazing aid stations, great course markings, fabulous attitudes, and a buffet lunch at the end with yummy lasagne!  I really diddn't need to study the map the night before, but it was entertaining reading the crazy names of those northshore trails- 'Neds atomic dustbin?' , someone was smokin' some wacky tobaccy.  Hats off to all the volunteers and Heather the race organizer (which drove me crazy cuz I kept hearing my name everywhere). 

I went into this race as a 'training race' for the more difficult Diez Vista race in 4 weeks time. I took it easy uphills, charged downhills and paced a nice 8-8:45 min mile on the flats (my weakness).

My husband, Jim, my friend Marc and I line up at the start. As we head down the road Jim loses both Marc and I quickly, then I lose Marc.  About 1/2 hr later, as the crowd thins out, we all ended up together again as a pack.  It felt just like another training run. Perfect!
The trail
Beautiful single track most of the way, undulating hills, all under the canopy of giant Cedars.
The hill started up old Buck, then it got steeper (ie-time to walk) toward 'Neds'.  SNOW at the top! yikes.Couldn't feel my toes after running in the slush and rivers of frozen water.  Steep technical downhill- crazy fun. It became more runnable by the Bottletop trail which spits you out onto Fishermans trail along the river. Nice flat run... till the next hill. A little circuit 8 at the top then do it
all over  again for the second loop.

Hilarious Pee Break
After stopping for a pee break I go to pull up my fancy new compression shorts. NOT . With frozen fingers, tight shorts and sweaty legs, they got stuck all rolled up half way down my thighs. So there I was, with my butt hanging out, scrambling to get the damn shorts up. After losing a fair bit of time, I take of running agian with shorts askew, me yanking at the legs and crotch trying to straighten them out. Must have been a sight!

I finally catch back up to Marc and Jim, who both seemed disappointed to hear my voice.  "You thought you lost me, but I'm back!".  They both mimicked my voice later in a cackling hag-like voice. Nice.
I thought my husband was trying to take me out- He kicked a fairly large rock/boulder which was perfectly round and it started picking up speed down the trail. It literally went between my legs, me running with legs apart I got ahead of it, but as the boulder got faster, it began chasing me down the mountain, freaking me out a little bit.... Of course, Marc and Jim finding the whole thing amusing.

Another pee Break
Jim stopped to pee- which made me happy cuz in the last 50 K he went 7 hours without! (which explains why he diddn't feel so well on that run).  Wow, I've never been so aware of this- how many times I go, where to go,  is it clear, etc etc, This trail running is getting a bit odd.Marc and I  continued up the second loop, dreading the snow at the top.  Somewhere up the hill I lost sight of Marc... I was running alone. 

Running alone                                                                                                         
Hmm,which route?
Running alone gave me too much time to question myself. "Am I still on the trail?, Am I lost?" , "Where is everybody?, Maybe I talked too much", "What if I fall, I could lie there bleeding for a good 10 minutes before anyone finds me" .... then my toe snags a rock, I get flung toward the ground, but somehow, as time slows down as I watch the ground come up toward my head, I managed to save myself awkwardly with my other leg. "Stop daydreaming and concentrate silly girl" I say to myself. So concentrate I did, and descended off the mountain in a zen-like meditational state, just focusing on foot placement over every rock, root, and puddle.  It was quite an enjoyable state of mind, there were no outside thoughts, my attention was streamlined.

And To the Finish                                                                                               
  Log or Bridge?
I get spat out onto the Fishermans trail again, back into civilization. According to me, I was as good as done, just tie a knot in my rope and hold on till I get to the finish line. I was suprised I could kick it up near the end. All that endurance training with the running gang has really helped.  Of course the amazing times of the leaders is always a humbling experience. There were certainly some top notch athletes on the trails today!

I was welcomed at the finish line by Marc's wonderful wife then we race up to catch Marc and Jim who were right behind me.  Full of adrenaline, I may have lost a vocal cord cheering them in. Good fun!

Time:   5 hrs, 30 mins  44 sec   splits:  1st 10 miles= 1:47   2nd 10 miles =1:48   last 11 miles =1:54
   (Jim  5 hrs, 40 mins 45 sec)
--> Pleased with even pacing. Don't know why I picked 10 mile intervals, but it worked out ok.
Place: 7/19 overall  2/6 age  (Jim got 19/39 oa, 6/14 age)
Elevation: 450 meters largest hill,  smaller 200 m hills.  Much easier compared to "Frosty,s"1206 m gain!
Thermolytes: 6
Liquid- 2 Liters in hydration pack + shots of water and coke on second lap
Food- 4 gels, 200 cals carbopro in pack, 100 cals of potato chips appx
Owies post run
- Thoracolumbar stiffness- Hm, a new area, guess I need more core work
-Left shoulder- probably from grabbing trees/roots on sharp descent

FUN PEOPLE I MET -The part I love about 50kms. The people, the storylines.
-Everyone at the aid stations. I tried to get the guy at top of Neds make me a slurpee but no clean snow!
Finally met  Gary Robbins in person (as opposed to just blogging)  at an aid station-tho he probably diddn't know me from Adam.
-Cool dude from outskirts of Kamloops who had only been snowshoe running prior to race
-Guy who DNF'd at Frosty 50K due to bee stings- great to see him finish this 50k
-2 ladies rocking in their bright 'Save your Skin' shirts who were kind enough to tell me they were doing the relay. Whew! cuz I couldn't keep up.
-Matt Sessions who just finished umpteen other races and tells us he is running a 5 km tomorrow! wow.

Well, thats only two 50 Km runs under my belt. I look forward to adding more this summer.  I still can't consider myself an 'ultrarunner' till I get  more experience in this area.   Working on it!