Wow, I forgot what stiff sore really is until this morning. Its the day after the 50 mile race at the Sulphur Springs trail runs, and I'm having a hard time moving around. It just goes to show you what some rather big hills and a lot of mud will do to your body when running 50 miles.
Bill Lovett and Catherine Harding picked me up Friday evening for the drive down to Burlington and our hotel for the night, a rather uneventfull drive and evening watching what we could of the hockey game before settling in for the night, we couldn't stay up for the 3rd period. It just so happened Tracy and Lorna were in the same hotel just down the hall from us.
It was an early 4am start to the day on Saturday and I hadn't slept to well as usual. but we left for Ancaster and got there with about 25 minutes to spare. Bill was doing the 50k and din't start till 7:30 so he would spend his spare time setting up a tent for our gear etc.
We saw Deb Lancia was doing her first 100 miler and Brian doing his first 50k. Also ran into Chris McPeake and chatted briefly, another 100 mile runner. So at 6 am we started, the 100 and 50 milers all together and down the huge hill to start. The course had changed in a few spots this year, the main change being the start finish area, which was much better, but and this is a big but, the finish area was at the top of this huge hill which had to be half a k long and very steep. We would have to climb it 4 times!
So the first couple of k would take us onto the old route and things became familiar. It was very foggy and damp, some rain trying to come down, but a perfect day for running. I would try to take my time and run easy, as usual I found it hard to stop and take a walk break here and there and probably didn't other then the hill until about an hour in. Eventually I would find myself by myself, not very uncommon in runs I do for some reason. Generally the course consists of a 20k loop divided into two seperate loops, a very pretty setting int he Dundas Valley Conservaton area. A lot of old growth forest.
I felt good through out the first loop and knowing that I was faster than I needed to be (remember this is only supposed to be a training run), I knew I would take the next loops slower. After walking the big hill into the finish area for the turn around I was at 2:05, way faster than I expected. I didn't need anything from the tent so I just ran through. My Camelback was working really well and I had lots of gels and S caps to keep me going. If I had a complaint about anything it was my shoes, the Sportiva Raptors were a heavy shoe and with the wet and the mud they were getting heavier. That would come into play later.
The second loop was the where I started to unravel a bit. Now we had the 25k and 50k runners with us and it was getting busy on the trails. I saw Tracy a few times, but never came across Catherine or Bill. Bill was going to do his first 10k, then wait for Catherine and run the next 40k with her to pace her. The second loop was becoming increasingly slicker, muddier and just plane tougher. I was starting to struggle a bit and walking became more the norm. My mind wasn't in a good place and was surprised it was happening so early. Having said that, it was alos surprising when I cam into finish the second loop only 15 minutes slower than the first. I refueled my camel back and off I went. Not long afterwards I realized that I had forgot to pack more gels. I had 1 left to get me through this lap, fingers were crossed. the aid stations were quite well stocked so it wasn't a problem. At the bottom of the hill at the start of the third loop, there was a 50k runner a head of me and I recognized his odd stride, so I caught upto him and asked him if he was Shawn Shryer from SUdbury and he was, he seemed surprised that I knew him, but when I explained that I knew quite a few of the people he runs with from Sudbury and had run against him before, we started chatting for a while. This helped while a way a bit of time, befoer I told him I had to walk for a bit and wished him luck. This part of the third loop was a dark place too and I was having a hard time. The aid stations were good and that helped. The last one was the best lots of folks including the legendary Monica Scholz, althoguh this was the last aid station it was also the second last as you had to go out on another loop from here, whihc was basically up hll all the way out and downhill all the way back, with a final half k to the finish. Finishing the 3rd loop I decided to change shoes and my shirt, I cam in and Sharon Zelinski asked if was going to do the victory lap, of course I said, just have to change first. It was amazing what a change of shoes and socks could do and apparently a change of shirt. Sharon said the salomon shirt was much faster for me. I headed out again before realizing I had forgot my gels again, so back I went, retocked and off on to lap four.
I think the the shoes and the thought that this was the last lap really changed how I felt, I felt charged up and ran well for the last lap. Initially I was totally alone, unlike the previous laps there was not to many runners out there now, a few 50kers and the rest 100 and 50 milers. This where I really noticed that I was running better as I was passing many runners and even lapping some. I was still taking walk breaks, but found myself pushing the flat and downhills more. On the second half of the loop I cauhgt up to and passed a girl I would later find out whos name was MayLou Corino. For the rest of the race we would pass each other I would pass her when I was running and then she would pass me on my walks. We would chat about the course here and there, but I think we helped each other through that second half. Just before the second last aid station I thought I spotted Cath and Bill, Sure enough it was so we chatted for a bit before I headed off again. Into the last hilly loop with MaryLou and she left me behind as I walked with some food in hand from the aid station. Now she was a head of me it pushed me to cathc her again, which I wasn't sure was possible at this point. We were still passing more runners and this agian made me feel good too. On the last hill in this loop, which was long and muddy My walking must have been faster than Marylou's as I caught her on the top of the hill, we walked most of the trail around the farm fields before headin gto the forest again and down into the ravine, mostly downhill to the final aid station. I left MaryLou behind at this point and I had run out of fluid in my camelback too, but it wasn't far to that last aid station. I fille dup with a couple of cups of gatorade and water and off I ran. to the final push up the hill, which I wakled again. I looked around a little ways up the hill and saw Mary Lou about 50 m's behind, and called on her to pass me on the hill, she laughed. I finised in 9:29, which was faster on the much easier run to Wasaga and back a few weeks ago, so I was very happy with that. Mary Lou was not far behind in 9:30. Thanks for the push!
That Guinness tasted good after I was done. I watched the rest of the runners coming (and going for the 100 milers) and talked to Brian and he had a great 5:18 time for his 50k, he said Deb was doing well
. I told him I had seen her a few times and she seemed very up beat.
Chris Battaglia had run 6:05 and was running the 6 hour race at Mansfield on Sunday too, crazy!
Catherine finished her 3rd loop and called it a day, her feet were a mess and she hadn't trained much do to illness lately.
Waiting around they started the awards for the 50 mile race and they announced the winner in the 50+ group as David Bohn, I had race against David in my first 50k at Haliburton. Kevin had come first, me second and David 3rd. We had chatted with him and his wife for a few hours afterwards. So went up and talked tp them both again and they remembered me. David asked why I hadn't won the race, I laughed and explained the injury issues and the prupose of this race as a training run only. One othe people with him was JD Begin who is also doing Burning River, so we talked for a bit too.
I saw Deb finish her 4th loop loking very strong. Gailanne Joachim finished the 50 mile race in a PB 11:06, great job. Another Burning River runner this year.
Over all a good day and happy with the result. Just have to deal with this case of DOMS now.
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