Monday, June 9, 2008

Race report (Long and not the most interresting I've written)

Lets just start from the morning of..... wake up call was set for 4 a.m. but I woke up at 3:45. I got dressed, put the body glide on, put the blister covers on the toes most likely to blister, put hair up and back in a no-fuss ponytail fashion.

5:30 a.m. Race packet pick up.... picked up race packet and pinned my number on.... put the chip on my ankle. Placed my special needs bag in the designated area. Go to the bathroom and wash hands (one last time before race begins)

Race start.... 6a.m. quite light out... no need for the headlamp that I brought:) I stay very near to the back of the pack to see what everyone does!!! The gun goes off!!!!!!!! We start off with a nice easy pace and as soon as we reach the first hill everyone starts walking. I was never militant enough to practice walking during training. Because this race was so hilly I didn't have to worry about timing my walk breaks. Thank goodness!

The escarpment was quite beautiful. On the first lap I saw several deer.... one just stood still watching the runners pass by. I thought it was quite odd???!!! Shouldn't it run away? The course was marked but I was afraid to be left alone to navigate. I found that I had to really focus on the course and not let myself get into "the zone". It was a hard thing to do! The hills were so steep and frequent.... I knew that I was not prepared for the hills but I didn't realize that the hills were this bad!!!!!! I can't put into words how steep the hills were, both the ups and downs!!! I come from a very flat part of Ontario. There is a wee tiny hill about 20 minutes from my house that I thought was substantial enough to train on! For the record.... it is not!!!! I was noticing a hot spot on the ball of my left foot. Could not figure out why it had started.

When I realized that I was at the start/ finish area... thus having completed my first lap... I was very excited!!!! I took off some extra clothing as the weather was warmer and put some bandaids on a blister that was forming, well, it had actually formed but, I was pretending it wasn't there. I never get blisters on the ball of my feet... until today:)

I stopped 2 more times during the second lap to have my feet taped by a volunteer. More blisters had started.... I should have changed my trail shoes for running shoes after the first lap!! The extra bandaging helped out a lot! Note to self: bring tape for feet to next race. The second lap was the most difficult lap. My quads started to burn with all of the down hills and I was alone trying to navigate the route myself. Nearing the end of the lap I was wondering if my legs would hold out until the end. I never thought of quiting but I was pretty discouraged!!

Once again made it to the start/ finish. I found a real bathroom with running water and all!!! It felt great to wash my hands and face!! I changed my socks and shoes and drank a bottle of boost (had one every lap... worked well... I might add that my nutrition was pretty well managed.... at one point, when my quads were starting to cramp and burn. I thought that my electrolyte levels may be dropping. I took an Endurolyte and an Advil so I don't know which solution helped the situation. Maybe a combination of both?! :)

The third lap felt so much better. My feet were so happy to be in my running shoes!!! Unfortunately, I did manage to trip over a root and smash my big toe!! It throbbed for a good 20 minutes. When I thought it was all better..... I did it again. This process repeated itself until I had stubbed my right big toe 4 times!!!!! I knew that my toe was going to look real bad!!!!!!!! I actually cried a bit the fourth time!

During the third lap I cam upon a dynamic duo that were talking and laughing and really enjoying themselves!!! I stayed behind them and enjoyed listening to their banter!! It was a great way to pass the time! Eventually I started up conversation and stuck with them for the rest of the loop!!!

Fred and Gailanne are their names and I am so thankful for them letting me join them (horrible grammar... sorry:( ). Let's just say that the 3rd loop was so much better than the second!! The three of us made our way to the start/ finish area where I was going to take 10 minutes to get my potty break, wash my hands and face, and get some Boost in me, plus a little sit down time:)

Starting the last and final lap I was on my own... the "incredible twosome" only stayed a couple of minutes at the start/ finish. My goal was to catch up to them! I could keep my mind busy by thinking about catching them! That is when I ran into Greg (sorry if the name is not accurate). He was running his first 100 mile run. We had some time to chat and keep each other pressing forward. I have since learned that he was not able to finish the last 2 laps as he lost a toenail and the pain stopped him from continuing. I really feel for him:( Next time Greg!!!!

Back to me.... I really enjoyed this last loop (even though my quads were on fire). I got to thank all of the volunteers for their help!!! For my first Ultra I was really impressed at how special these people are. They are a different breed than the "marathon" volunteers. These people are so dedicated... many of them would be on the course for 24 hours! Thanks again to all of you!!!!!

I finally managed to catch up to my "twosome" ... hooray for me!!! I was really having a tough time of things. Each downhill causing more agony than the last! With the last 3 miles to go the "twosome" sped off on the downhills. I could not keep up... I ended up having to walk them. I was already so proud... I knew that I would finish, and that I would be my estimated time by leaps and bounds!

I ran through the finish line at 11 hours, 35 minutes, an 0 seconds!!!!! Andrew was there to put a special medal around my neck (they did not provide medals for the 50 mile event so Andrew had one made especially for me!).

Thanks to everyone who helped make the day very special for me! Thanks to Andrew and Mom for spending the weekend with me. Thanks to Janet for staying home with our babies so that we could go. Thanks to Alma, Denis, Laura and Danielle for taking the time to drive up to see me race. Thanks to all my family and friends who wished me luck and who thought about me during my run.
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