Sunday, 28 September 2014

My first DNF :(

As I've said before, one of my very real fears about trail running is falling and damaging my already frail ankles further.  Although, my ankles are actually a lot stronger since I started running, they sustained a LOT of damage during my step aerobic days.  But since starting to trail run this summer, I hadn't had a single face plant.  Every time I'd catch my toe, I would manage to stay upright and any pain would be gone within a minute.  I've been wondering when the lucky streak would end.

This was last Wednesday's run.  It was a bliss of runner's high and unicorns and I obviously knew things were too good to last.

The drive up to Mono Cliffs was uneventful, my GPS did not lead me wrong and I didn't even have to park on the road.  Saw Robin sitting on her rear bumper, got my race kit and chatted before the race.  It was cold sitting there but as the sun rose higher in the sky, I was glad I decided to wear a tank top.
The Coyote.

Because Robin and I didn't get a nice posed pic post-Mississauga.

There were a couple of end-to-end Bruce Trail runners at the race, including a lady who fired the starting horn for the Sprint race.  My plan was to keep everything EASY and nothing like what I'd usually feel like a "race effort" to be.  The first 2K was uphill, I walked the steeper part, as Pierre and Robin had advised me and all was well.  The next section was still uphill, but technical but then flattened out into a gradual downhill.

Then It Happened.

I caught my toe on a root, turned my ankle and landed on my butt.  The wind was knocked out of me, I massaged my ankle and thought I could still continue after catching my breath.  Many runners passing by asked if I was ok, but two people actually stopped.  It was the end-to-end Bruce Trail lady and her running partner.  She introduced herself as Rhonda, a RMT and massaged my ankle a bit while her running partner ran on ahead to the next aid station.  I tried to keep running several times and I was dizzy to the point of nearly blacking out and I'd sit down again.  Rhonda gave me a damp Buff to put on the back of my neck and asked me to drink water and eat some candy.  Finally, the shock wore off enough to keep running for a sustained amount of time but at one point Rhonda and I thought we were lost due to the lack of orange marker flags and turned back a bit but figured we were on the right course after all.  She asked if the BT blazes on the trees were white or blue and I thought she was colour blind.  Her running partner returned and told us that he had alerted the next aid station.  The three of us continued onward and Scott would say things like, "big root, head left", "rocks coming up" and thought it was for my klutzy ass's benefit.  Between us and the aid station were the infamous stairs.  I had to stop on the landing because I was seeing stars again, we all took water at the aid station but then there was another ascent..I glanced at my Garmin and it showed 5.6K and thought, I could gut it out for another 9K, finish DFL or I could just call it a day.  I chose the latter and returned to the aid station, letting Rhonda and her RP continue on.

This was actually a wrong turn I made during my walk of shame back to the start/finish area.   As I approached the finish, runners/spectators saw me walking and would shout encouragement, which made me feel even worse.  The clock read 1:38:xx which would have been an excellent finish time for me and I actually saw some people who had been directly behind me finishing as I slunk off to the side specifically to avoid crossing the finish and being handed a medal.  

When I got home, I googled Rhonda.  Holy crap.  She is a BAMF in the truest sense of the word, and completely generous in spirit, as she threw whatever race goals she had to help little ol' ME.  Even though CtC marked another crap race for me, I am amazed by her kindness and for that I am so grateful!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Oakville HM race report

After having trouble running faster than 6:10/k during my 22K long run the week before the Oakville HM due to tired legs, I had thoughts of switching pace assignments with Amy.  But I nailed the test run on Thursday and thought I was good to go.  

Went to the kit pick up nice and early to find a huge lineup due to a bib number assignment snafu.  Fortunately Sam found me in the lineup and she took a picture of me with the well meaning but creepy race director of NFWHM because I was wearing the race shirt.  Then I scored this sah-weet lole cycling jersey for 50% off at the expo.

Then I felt an itch on my tricep, and yup another mosquito bite.   I had laid out the same outfit that I wore for Richmond but decided at the last minute to wear something different.

Race morning dawned early and I was driving the Skirt Taxi.  The usual pre-race meetup and pictures with DM friends, potty stops (I wisely put my sign and water bottle outside the PP this time!!), fielding the usual questions from participants about pace..blah blah blah.  One big difference: I did not feel supremely confident, as I do when pacing 2:15.  After seeing the forecast calling for 70% chance of rain, I debated wearing my Drymax socks but didn't want to break the #burlingtonskirtbrigade uniform.

Emma, Amy, Yours Truly, Sam, Kim, Zindine, before the deluge.

I was totally on pace through 15K, rain and all.  The people around me were very quiet and when I asked questions all I heard was crickets and the tinny music of some girl who thought that the other race participants would like to enjoy her music as well and told her to put her damn headphones on.  The headwind on Rebecca, humidity and rain started to wear on me.  I dropped my sign as it was becoming a sail.  I've always done runs with lots of breaks, and it never had an ill effect during races...until now... 

Splits 15-21K (goal 5:55/K):


There were lengthy walk breaks.  People asked if I was doing 10/1.  No, I'm just having a really shitty day.  I considered DNF but realized that a shitty finish time would be preferable.  Why do I always think about dropping out when things are going poorly? I have the racing mind of an elite! I considered walking until Amy caught up and running with her.  I ripped my ears off and no one gave a fuck since I had no pace group anyways.  I guess you could consider that to be the silver lining.  

I felt a bit better around 19K and realized if I could pick up the pace, I could salvage some kind of decent finish time.  So I pushed it and pushed some more, treating the finish like my final repeat at the track.

So, it goes without saying that I'll stick with 2:15 r/w in the future, and I'm working on my mental game to keep moving during races. Relentless forward motion!

Official chip time: 2:06:14
Pace: 5:59 / kilometer 
Field Placement: 417 / 673 (62%) 
Age group: 30 – 39 
Placement: 46 / 106 (43.4%) 
Gender Placement: 159 / 333 (47.7%)

Next up: Chase the Coyote 14.4K Challenge and I will see Robin there, although I'm sure she never wants to run a race with me ever again.