Sunday, 24 July 2016

Dirty Girls 6 hour

I have coveted the Dirty Girls shirt for a long time, so when I heard a rumour that this might be the final year for the race, I signed up.  

Photo by Steph, Rhonda photobomb.

I generally do not like doing long races in the middle of summer and chose the 6 hour because I could run as much or as little as I felt like.  In hindsight, this was absolutely the correct choice.  Finally introduced myself to Kay, and lots of familiar faces: Jeff, Robin, Rhonda, Spence, Jamie, Steph, Lizzy, Steven, Steve, Clay.

The course was an 8K loop.  I've read other people's descriptions saying it was quite technical, but I thought it was only very mildly rooty and very runnable, in between the few big hills.  My goal was 30K and anything beyond that would be bonus.

The first loop was very uneventful.  The website said the course was 95% shaded and this was very accurate.  It was very hot in the sun (start/finish area) but breezy in the shade and definitely less humid than Sulphur.  The best part was the long downhill before the biggest hill at 6K (dirty runners' pain).  Dirty Runners' Pain started off with a very gradual incline, with a much sharper incline at the top, but the hill is veeerrry long and my first time climbing I thought, "this is not bad at all!"

Finished 2 loops at a very consistent pace (~1:20 per loop).  The 3rd loop I was starting to get tired, I wasn't having trouble taking salt caps or hydrating, but I barely choked down 2 bites of my rice cake (with chinese sausage, not spam musubi) an hour in and the only food I was taking in was oranges and ginger ale at the aid stations, and magical Mexican shit out of my drop bag.  My stomach didn't feel bad, but it didn't feel right, it felt very full despite barely eating and I only peed once despite all the water I was drinking.

So I guess it was inevitable that The Bonk would happen.  The first 2K of the loop is uphill, and I got really dizzy climbing and sat down on a log.  Robin had just passed me before I stopped, but a lot of people stopped to ask if I was ok (people were seeing the symptoms of heat exhaustion when I only thought I was bonking), including Kay, a guy who gave me his ziploc bag of ice, a girl who offered me a gel that I declined (sorry, but it was banana flavoured, and fake banana would have made me hurl for sure), Steph who gave me her Honey Stingers (which was the only food that stayed down, THANK YOU SO MUCH!) and a guy, James, who was doing the 24 hour and kept talking to me to see if I was all right.  Since all the ultra people know each other, it was not surprising to find that we had mutual friends.

James stayed with me for most of the 4th loop, mostly walking.  My legs felt good enough to run on the downhills, but I ran very slowly because I was afraid that I would trip in my loopiness.  There wasn't enough time to finish 4 loops but I was at the bottom of Dirty Runners' Pain at 1:52 (race ended at 2 pm) and just had to get to the top to get in 30K.  Except that the moment I started climbing I got dizzy and nauseous again and had to sit for a looong time and made it to the top where the other people who had checked in around 2:05 and I only got credit for my last official check in at the 4K aid station (28K).  There was a ride back to the start/finish but I stood up again, declined the ride and was determined to make it back on my own 2 feet.  My skin was clammy, I had to sit down a lot and that was the longest 2K of my life, but I'm counting that mileage even though it wasn't race official.

This race definitely lives up to its name.
Rhonda told me there was a creek that people were sitting in post-race, but that it was a 15 minute walk up the road.  I settled for washing off with a hose and having my beer in her tent.

I'm not sure if I could have done anything different to prepare, as my stomach issues weren't anything that I had ever experienced before.  Dirty Girls was a fantastic race, I hope it will be back next year!