Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vulture Bait 50K - Oct. 17, 2009

So this was 50k number 2 for me and I really wanted to get this in since it was the last race in the OUSer. From the get-go (get-go, as in weeks ago when I registered) I had a feeling this was going to be a horrible race. I had such a high from Haliburton, it's going to be a tough race to beat (not time wise, obviously :).

So I wanted to run it bad. I tried to ignore my cold, my groin, and the midwifery paper due the following Monday, and the bio mid-term on Tuesday. I also wasn't keen on leaving the family again for another weekend, but I've learned. Instead of just talking my partner into the idea of me going to do this, I need to take it up a notch and bring them along for the ride (6 hour car ride with the kids will be FUN! I promise!).

Being a student, and with the man not working his usual teaching job, our budget is a bit tight so I had found a couple of kids to carpool with from the University to save on gas money. So here I am with two 19 year olds in the car, trying to be cool and make them think I’m hip to their jive... I let the dude plug in his tunes and suffer the consequences. Actually it wasn't that bad and found a couple of songs I liked: from MGMT.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIEOZCcaXzE, and LMFAO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXPT8sw_FjU (not normally my bag, I assure you.)

So arriving in London I eventually I arrive at my campsite. I was the only one in the area reserved for tenters. I started to set up my tent and all of a sudden I start to hear this loud, thunderous noise. I look up, and there’s a jumbo jet about 3 feet above my head. Okay. So I guess there’s an airport around here. Nice. Anyhoo, I set up camp, take a stroll over to pick up my loot, knock over poor Turnip the dog's water as I stagger into the building. Then I head back, make dinner, take lots of drugs and go to bed. Despite the planes, I slept pretty well.

Race day: I set my watch (or so I thought) for 6:30am which would give me lots of time for oatmeal, coffee, shower, etc. Well, I wake up to the sun at 7:30, drive fast to the ‘comfort’ station for an ice cold shower. Go back to camp, walk with banana and muffin in hand to the start/finish. I was just wearing my race clothes (t-shirt, long sleeve, gloves, shorts, knee-high woollies, buff, and tuque). I was cold. Once I got to the building, I found some coffee. Chatted with some familiar faces. Headed down to the start and we move. After 10k I was ready to bail. Feeling like absolute poop. Having some ridiculous feet problems. I just got a pair of lovely lime green Cascadia’s which I’ve worn a handful of times, and while they weren’t perfect, I thought I’d be fine. Well, by 5k I had some hot spots and was begging the first aid people for moleskin. For the first 25k, I was at each aid station between 5-10 minutes trying to deal with my feet. Finally at the halfway point a lovely, angelic woman had some for me, but lo and behold it wouldn’t stick to my dirty sweaty feet. So I just went with medical tape, which was put on the other foot at the 2nd aid station. During these stops, I’d see the people I’d pass, get ahead and I’d eventually catch up and pass them again. There was this one dude who was having a rough time, cramping ect. – at the 25k I was just getting up to leave the station and I see him come in. I’m at the bridge, there’s no one to be seen ahead or behind me. Then I get to the loop and I see him coming out of it. Huh? So for the next 10k I’m stewing about this guy cheating. I catch up to another runner and ask him if anyone passed him – no. I run with this gentleman for a bit for the company, then I’m off on my way and here is the dude hobbling up ahead. I don’t say anything to him (regarding cheating) because I’m feeling pretty vindicated after passing him. I wish him well. He’s only cheating himself. So on I go just wanting to end my misery. I catch up to these 2 young guys with less than 2k left. They’re walking up the hills so I think maybe I can get away with passing them. I don't. The finish line is in sight and I can hear them catching up to me. I try to pick it up, then sprint and the little buggers beat me by 3 seconds. Bastards! :) It’s done. I wasn’t last. I beat a cheater. And I had some lovely bags under my eyes the next morning to show for it.

Post race: Good food (actually great food! I was STARVING!), good chats, and then a heavenly evening at camp watching a huge seagull migration (trying not to get pooped on), enjoying a Strongbow ,Vit. C, coldFX, Tylenol, and chips with the company of the campfire.

Here are some photos:

Huge seagull migration taking a rest on the Thames River


Race day menu

Race day

Seagull migration (picture doesn't do it justice).

Post race relaxation

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last Week's Running and the Journey Ahead

After attempting 2 useless weeks off to give my groin injury a chance to heal, I got back at it (slowly) taking into account Vulture Bait 50K this Saturday.

So in 5 days I ran 50K in about 5.5 hours. Some really nice runs in there, Frontenac Park 11K Tetsmine loop in particular. After being away from Kingston for two months, it was really nice to get back to the park and enjoy the beauty and solitude.

I've been thinking a lot about the 100miler next year and the planning that it involves (and yes, I got the approval from my better half). So far I've had wonderful support from friends new and old. The offers to crew have been unbelievable. I'm blown away by the generosity of these people. I'm very excited that a great friend - Kelly, has agreed to pace and crew for me. I give her the credit for getting me into long distance running as she was the one that convinced me to run my first marathon this year. Other offers from some great girls from runningmania.com are greatly appreciated and I look forward to 'working' with these women (a fellow northern ontarian too!). Figuring out what I'm going to need along the way is going to be tricky. I think the trick is to be open to anything, especially food wise.

Over the next week I will try to develop a training plan which I hope to start shortly after Vulture Bait. I would like to get most of my runs done in the very early morning, which will allow me some training in the dark (must get over fear of bears... they're hibernating soon right?), and will minimally interfere with family time and morning routines.

There's so much more to think about. I'm really pumped about this journey to Haliburton next year and the experiences it will bring. I just hope this weekends' 50k goes well. I think I'll just run enough this week to keep the blood flowing and the limbs loose. Gotta take this thing one run at a time.

See you in the forest!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Going All The Way

When I started this running thing I had a plan: marathons one year, 50k the next, 50 miles after that and so on... If I followed this plan I would get to the distance of all distances, the 100 miler in 4 years or so, probably well prepared and well trained. One thing I forgot about when I thought about this plan was that I usually don't follow plans.

I've been thinking about my life and health alot this last week as my mom was having some heart problems and had triple bypass surgery yesterday morning. She has diabetes, is overweight, and has heart disease. It was the same with her mom. So the events of the past week got me thinking about my health, how much I love running and how it's changed my life. It's been a pretty stressful week leading up to the surgery and getting out there in the forest, and running with a friend was a saviour. I want to stop this cycle for myself but mostly for my daughter. I plan on doing this by staying active, not smoking, and running. A lot.

Which brings me back to the plan. Now that this years' season is coming to an end I'm starting to think about next year... which actually got me thinking about the year after that... In the Midwifery program I am actually only in classes for the first year and a half. The final two and a half years (including the summer of 2014) I will be in clinical placements, where I will be on call, well, all the time. So training for ultras could get to be a bit complicated when you have to go to a birth and your 30k deep in the forest. So I'm thinking my plan is going to have to get fast tracked. It just makes sense training wise as I'll have more time (never enough time) to get the miles in. In the spring and summer I can get a 50K and a 50 miler in there, then go all the way at the end of the summer, or fall as I would love Haliburton to be the one, but I'm going to have to think about that one since Hali is a bit of a tough course.
So there. I've said it. I want to do 100 miles in 2010. I still can't believe I'm saying this out loud. I guess I should tell my husband.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

At the Start Line

Well I suppose I should begin at the beginning. I started running in 2005 when I needed an outlet for stress (and excess calories!). Shortly after I started running I took a road trip to the East Coast and went on my first trail run somewhere in a Nova Scotia forest. It was a lot of fun and such a different experience than road running, I loved it! But I was pretty sore after and realised that switching from road to trail would be a transition I'd need to pay attention to. Four years, 2 kids, and one horrible marathon later I decided it was time for something different. So I decided I'd train for my first 50K ultra marathon. I knew I wasn't built for speed but I loved the challenge of pushing myself and felt a huge sense of accomplishment after covering more and more distance.

In June I started to hit the trails around Kingston; Frontenac Park, Little Cataraqui Conservation Area, the Rideau Trail and a few other local spots. At the same time I started to experiment with minimalist running after hearing a news spot on CBC about Christopher McDougall's new book Born to Run. It was a real eye opener and got me to think outside the box when it came to running gear, injuries, and running philosophies.

I got myself a pair of Vibram Five Finger KSOs and would integrate wearing those in with my regular training. While I love the protection that the VFFs offer, I must say I prefer going completely barefoot, mainly for conveniences' sake. With the thought of the ultra in my mind however, I knew I wouldn't be ready to dive right into 50k without shoes so I did most of my road training in old Mizuno Wave Riders, (which I trained for the '09 Ottawa Marathon, Dirty Girls, Haliburton and am still running in now!). On the trails I like to wear my New Balance - the one with the clock - trail shoes, and I just recently purchased a pair of lime green Brooks Cascadias (not ready to give up the shoe fetish completely!).

Come August I thought I'd want to try my legs in a shorter trail race and found out about the Dirty Girls race in Mansfield, Ontario. So I signed up and had a great time. Finished 30K in 4 hours right on the nose.
Race report: http://runningmania.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=34616

Photos: me at the finish line (the 30kers started a half hour after the clock started, hence the 4:30); Name in print - official Dirty Girl!

After Dirty Girls I felt a little more prepared for Haliburton and the training went relatively well, but got a little interrupted in August when we moved to Sudbury from Kingston, where I started my first year in the Midwifery Education Program. Come race day, I was excited, feeling good and ended up having the best race experience of my life.

Another race blurb on Running Mania:http://runningmania.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35232&p=915738#p915738

Photo: At the Haliburton starting line - 6am.

So that's it in a nutshell. Next on the list is the Vulture Bait 50K in London, ON. Trying my best to get some time on my feet to train while going to school full time, taking care of a 3 and 1.5 year old, and nursing a sore groin. As long as I get there, that's all that matters.
See ya in the forest!