Saturday, August 18, 2012

Getting away for 80 K, Squamish 50 mile "Holiday"

I've been preparing for my 'random' CRA TAX AUDIT , my SEPTIC is backed up, and a RETAINING wall may be collapsing. With all the stress, I thought it was  the WORST  time to try run a 50 miler.

My mind was NOT on the race,  but in a million different places at once.
I was EXHAUSTED the week prior and barely had the energy to make it through the workday.

I hated to see all that training go to waste,  but planned  to PULL OUT.,

Thats what "FRIENDS" are for: 
Thanks to the support of my wonderful running group, I was given some great words of advice, such as:
" for the well being of your family, who will have to listen to you go on and on, and on ,about your regrets, ---do it ! "
" Just turn your mind off, and let your legs do the work"

So FINE, I showed up at the start line.... with a detailed map of every stage I could pull out.
It was a BEAUTIFUL start in front of the Chief on the oceanfront !

The first 10 Km " Tour de Squamish" stage (these are the names of the relay stages) 
I jogged along, enjoying a lovely visit with a running friend Kristie. Took in the nice trails along the river.

10-20Km  " Up up and away" stage to Alice lake
We hit trail,  and a bit of road going up Debecks hill to 1486 feet. I did not pack much water as I hate packing it uphill, but with the heat of the day hitting already, I went through it faster than expected, and then I met a girl who missed a turnoff and did the hill TWICE! so from then on I decided to fill my hydration pack FULL at the major aid stations.

20-30 Km "Wed and wild" stage  - around the lakes

Lovely single track up and down to about  500 ft. Meeting lots of people, chit-chatting along the way. Hit 30 km back at Alice Lake  easily in 3 hrs. Then, BAM! my left ITB starts seriously paining me. I had calf/glut, and even some old fracture/metal plate issues in training, but never my ITB! suddenly, I could not bend my left knee.
In this pic, I was focusing on ways to land my left foot to avoid the stabbing knee pain.

But still, the photographer Glen Tachiyama makes it look good!

30-42 Km to Quest University

A beautiful portion of trail  up to dead end loop. Ran past a beauty raging river, through peacefull forest, Back up to 1300 ft FUN technical downhill- that I would have normally loved to hammer down but my knee prevented me in doing so.  For entertainments sake I actually started counting how many times I stubbed my left toe on a rock (25 times), because the knee just wouldn't bend to lift it over!  I hit Quest University, a great volunteer handed me my drop bag and I just instinctively grabbed my fuel for the next section and kept going on.

42-58 k "what goes down must go up" stage (Or more like "Down, but not out" for me)
Open road in the heat of the day- woot! (not) I was feeling pretty low at this point. I knew I had to cover this forest service road 3 times, and it really brought me down. I pulled out a sponge that I packed for this section, dipped it in the river, dabbing it on my face/ head,  bragging to another runner  (Downie) " I may not be fast, but at least I'm going 5-star" . So, back up to 2046 feet I go on yet more beautiful singletrack . I loved the trail named 'Freds"  on the way down-woot !

Hitting some beautiful views at the top! . !

By this point, however, the knee was annoyying. I drug it uphill behind me, and held it in front downhill, hopping on my other leg. This obvioulsy slowed me down, and heading back into the major aid station at Quest University, I had decided 'this is stupid' and was going to pull out/ DNF. The FIRST time, such a though has crossed my mind in a race.

But for some  reason, I opened my drop bag and decided for the first time EVER, to take a single Ibuprophen (and rub some topical gel on my ITB).. and kept going, figuring I can always DNF at 60 km.

58-64 Km I'm BACK ! 
Damn road again.  Even though the RD told us multiple times, we go left twice, then right on the third time, my fuzzy mind  had to clarify with a volunteer, who patiently explained it to me yet  AGAIN- thank you!. This  second time after climbing only 1000ft,  we get to cut down some lovely switch-backs  (Pseudo-Tsuga trail) . Hey, I can RUN down this trail, hey, I can bend my knee!  Holy crap, I feel great!  I pop out onto the road for a third and final time, telling the poor course marshall that I am happy I will never see his beautiful face again, and motor up, ready to finish this !

64-72 km+ km "Plunger"
Woot! more singletrack plunging to the bottom, feeling great! (a little too late to feel great, but I'll take it). Lovely run and visit with Judy from Quesnel who tried to make me feel better about my slow time at this point, saying she did  "Stormy in 9.5 hrs, and this is harder".

72 km-80+km "Guts"
Even MORE beautiful singletrack, taking us back into civilization, bypassing rock climbers en route and back down to sea level.  At the last 4 km my right quad cramped. Interesting, that was new for me too- probably from the one legged  hopping previously in the race. I walked it off, took a thermolyte, regrouped, then  I 'gutted it out' , well, more like, casually jogged at a tolerable pace across the finish line.

The FINISH  12 hrs 20 min 
(An HOUR longer than I expected, but it was apparently the same for everyone else too- whew!)
Running toward Gary Robbins voice, I had the greatest sense of satisfaction. My time diddn't matter, my finish did. Although I had my aches and pains to work through (as did everybody), I really felt like I was comming back from a little holiday I went on in the woods that day. I did not think once of any of my stresses, it was like I was comming out of the twilight zone and back into reality. Pure Joy.

My husband, on the other hand, also had his own " endurance event" going on. The RD's set up a fabulous finish line party with beer garden and all. My 'poor' husband had to wait for me in that beer garden all afternoon  on a beautiful sunny day. Lets just say he was more giddy than I was at the finish line.

In the end, this was the BEST time to run 80 K, I totally felt like I got away from the real world for those 12 hours. It was bliss.

 There wasn't even the stress of 'getting lost' as the course markings were amazing- as you can see with this tongue in cheek video below:

Thanks Kerri Ward and Hassan Lotfi-pour for the hilarious video. And thanks Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford for presenting such a challenging, fun, and incredibly well organized event ! The organizers and the Volunteers were all amazing!

My Stats:  51 miles, almost 10,000 feet elevation gain
*Calories- about 1500.  A variety of real food: cliff bar, chips, pepperoni (which was yummy!) ., Carbopro          in my water.Only a couple of gels near the end of the race. Stomach great, brain great the whole race.
*Salt tablets- 7
*Water- a lot, I have no idea, just kept re-filling it and sipping/pouring it over me. The added carbopro doubled as a great hear styling product. Kept my hair in place when it dried.

Till my next adventure.