Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sulphur Springs 50K Trail Race

Wow , where to start. Every race has a story ... this is a big one!


Chapter 1___In the Beginning

Its starts back in January of 2009. My goal was to do at least 5 50K Ultras in 2009. The Sulphur Springs race didn't make it to the race calender because I was scheduled to work that day. Fast forward to April and choose to be Nathan Team Canada's Ultra Runner! My application to Nathan stated my 5 Ultra plan but there was a problem....the Sparks Single track was canceled for 2009. To replace the canceled race I book the Sulphur date as a vacation day and signed on for my first Ultra of the season.

Chapter 2____ The Week Before

This chapter begins two weeks before Sulphur Springs. My last long run was May 10 , 26K done in 2hrs40mins. I worked midnights May 12 through May 18 , the whole week sucked ... I was fighting a clod bug, didn't get enough sleep and only managed a few short runs. There was no way I could do another LSD before the 23rd so I settled for...

  • Monday 10K on the treadmill , 3 am!


  • Tuesday 11.3K Trail Run


  • Wednesday 10K Tractor Trail Run, after dark!


  • Thursday 6.7 K Durham Run Clinic


I was really excited about Sulphur! I felt very relaxed , more so then then the 10K Road Race , Marathon and the 26K Trail I did in the last two months. I was a little concerned that the last LSD seemed like forever ago and I wasn't really sure if I was 100% ready. I have been running 6 days a week , 1 long and 5 runs in the 10K range ... no intermediate 16-21Ks! Would this be enough?


Chapter 3 ___ The Race Plan


A simple plan...

  • Run an average 6:30 pace
  • Gel every 45 minutes , stay hydrated
  • Run the entire race with the exception of aide stations and big hills
  • Don't wipe out
  • Have fun and enjoy the moment
  • THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF MY PLAN THAT WAS LEFT OUT.... OOPS!


Chapter 4____Race Day


Living 2 hours from everywhere means and early start to the majority of race days, Sulphur would be no exception! I didn't adjust my sleep patterns very well after working nights the previous week. Friday I slept in until 11am getting a full 11 hours of sleep! I was a little concerned that I would have trouble sleeping the night before the race ... its always that way. After 5 hours of broken sleep and weird race dreams I awoke 30 minutes before my alarm at 03:15. I took advantage of the extra 30 mins , made a pot of coffee and then jumped in the Hot Tub! At 04:05 I was heading out the driveway! Its only 10 minutes to the first Tim Horton's , race day breakfast consisted of a Sesame Seed Bagel Toasted with Butter , an OJ and yet another coffee. As is usual I arrived at the race good with 1hr15 min to spare. Pre race activities.....

  • Race kit pickup
  • Bathroom
  • YAK YAK YAK with familiar faces..hi Gary
  • Bathroom
  • Back to car to get ready and play with sharp pins
  • YAK YAK YAK , had a nice chat with Peggy and George Toad Race Directors
  • More prep
  • Bathroom


One honourable mention for Chapter 4.... " The Thursday Afternoon Laundry Incident". Yup , less then 48 hours to race time I injured myself doing laundry... D'OH! I was bring laundry upstairs to be folded and I tripped over my Wife's new mini Trampoline! I knew it was there but I still managed to catch my right foot in a support leg ... HARD! I went down landing on my right knee and hand. The fall resulted in a nice rug burn and a very painful foot. I did the Durham Run Clinic a couple of hours after falling ..... no pain... no problem or so I thought! By the time I went to bed I could barely walk , very painful foot , my knee was stiffening up and my index finger was hurting from being over extended. I took it really easy on Friday , stayed off my feet most of the day! Friday night the foot was feeling better , only a little pain but the knee was really stiff! Race day it was better yet , I figured it was just a little soft tissue swelling that had caused pain and stiffness. I popped a couple of Advil minutes before the race and I didn't have any issues at all....LUCKY!


Chapter 5___ The Race


Here are the splits!

g 2




My 10K Splits were .....

0-10K 1:03:55

10-20K 1:02:04

20-30K 1:02:12

30-40K 1:02:48

40-50K 1:13:31

50-52.03K 15:50

The numbers look a little funny for a 50K race ... perhaps a little long! Well guess what I GOOFED BIG TIME.... I missed a turn at the second last aide station. The first time I crossed the finish line the clock said 4hours30minutes and my Garmin said 42.6km. I immediately pointed this out to the race official , she said that " the rule states that you can complete the race if you return to where you went off course and then run back to the finish again! I was having a stellar run , I couldn't believe how well I had done to this point , how consistent my 10K splits were and how good I felt on and on and on .... it was just a great racing day. I wanted to cry! The official took me over to the map , I told her that I missed seeing the microwave tower and the long 4K downhill to the finish. She said that I missed the turn at the 2nd last aide station and showed me where to go. Well all bummed out but determined to right my wrong I started to back track. I figured I had about 3K to go ... there was a fork to the trail that looked familiar but I ran past . I caught up with a fellow doing the 50 or 100 mile on his way back out and I quickly realized I had choose the wrong trail. Instead of going back a half a K I followed a Hydro Cut up a very steep hill in the direction that I knew would eventually intersect the trail. I had visions of getting totally lost , totally blowing a great run . Following the hydro cut I cam across a trail about a half K in ... was this it .... continued on , another trail .. not it but low and behold runners just over yonder .... found the trail and was only a few hundred meters from where I went off course. OK I I was on my way again ... only 8K to go!

Now for the excuse......

I know going off course happens to everyone and well I guess my number was up! I blew by the 2nd last aid station around the 40K mark , I didn't need fluids so I was motoring! A volunteer or spectator was crossing in my path... not a problem until she suddenly did a 180 and I ran into her. I was rattled , it hurt , I caught the you girl and kept her from falling ... she was probably around 16 years old. Right were I had the collision is where I should have turned. On my return to this spot there was a Marshall directing folks to the turn that I missed .... he wasn't there when I collided with the girl!

OK , I was back on track and determine to pick up the pieces and carry on! When my Garmin said 50k I had been running for 5hours24mins20seconds WOW ...if only I had stayed on course. When I crossed the finish for the second time the Garmin said 5hours40minutes and 52.03 km!

Yes I had run well past 50K but I was sure I added 4 to 6K to my run! I asked another 50K finisher what distance they recorded and it was 46K . I would love to compare distances with some other 50K finishers!

Chapter 6___The Official Results

My chip time was 5:39:06 , finished 28th out of 55 finishers and believe it or not a new PB to boot...go figure!

On a positive note I was extremely happy with my performance! I really believe I am on track with my training! I look forward to some better times ahead .... cant wait for Niagara.

OH Yeah , that one thing I left out of my race plan...

  • STUDY THE COURSE MAP AND LOOK FOR PLACES THAT YOU MAY GO OFF COURSE!






4 comments:

Frank Vander Meulen said...

Way to go Ron! Quite the run for you. Your missed turn leaves you wondering "what might've been..." but at least your finish is one to be very happy with. Hope to see you the occasional Thursday evening or Saturday morning.

chris mcpeake said...

Congrats.. great run.
I didn’t do the 50k but did the 25k.
I think the course might be a little short. I got 23.9k. I suspect the main loop is a little bit short.. that said I don’t really trust the accuracy of the Garmin completely in this kind of terrain (might have had a wonky signal at some point)

Tracy said...

Ron - you had a great race, and it was so nice getting to chat with you post-race.

Too bad you couldn't have stuck around. It was a wild night, I slept 4 hours total in 2-2 hour shifts between Kinga & Stephan's returns to the start/finish line.

It was an experience I'll never forget.

Now off to read the rest of your blog!

Cheers, Tracy

John Elvidge said...

Ron - Outstanding run! So you ran a little further, no big deal. You handled it like a Pro. The time was great. Proud of you. I knew you'd do great. I hope you had as much fun as yoru smile is showing. Now - get ready for the next one. Cheers John E.