Sunday, June 21, 2009

Niagara 50K OUS Race

The Niagara Ultra was the second 50K event this year! The race was amazing, totally lived up to expectations. It was more scenic then I could have imagined. Niagara on the Lake is beautiful , the race starts at park then it winds its way though the grounds of and old fort then makes it way out of town. You then run past vineyards and very old stately homes. When you enter Queenston you climb the escarpment , at top of the climb you run over the Sir Adam Beck Power Station. As you approach the Falls the " tourist" things start to pop up! The turnaround was just past the top of the falls. There was an aide station there , it was really bizarre because the entire place was void of tourist. Heavy rain and the fact that it was 9:30 am meant the runners owned the Falls! Heading back I was full of optimism, looking forward to taking in more of the constant scenery and enjoying this amazing place that I was running!

The elevation chart tells the story of the race ......

I wasn't sure how I was going to pace this race. I thought about trying to run it at a 5:00 pace to 40K then back off for the last 10 but I as soon as I started I decided to go out easy and then pick it up at the end if there was anything left. Gelled at 45 minutes and refilled my water bottle at the 10K aid station.

0 -10K were done in 53min24 sec

The climb up the escarpment began after the 10K aid station. The majority of the climb was between 11 and 12K , about 100m was gained . It wasn't a hard climb, a fairly easy grade. Gelled again 90 minutes in, finished off my third bottle of water. Stopped at the 20K aid station and filled up again.

10-20K was done in 54min11 sec

Around 20K it started to rain quiet hard. Temperature wasn't an issue , it was a comfortable 17C , almost cool with the rain. The 25K turnaround was just pass the Horseshoe Falls. Ran a couple of Ks at a 5:00 pace. Gelled again at 2hours15min.

20-30K was done in 54min7sec

Refilled the water bottle at the 30K aid station. I was starting to feel a little fatigued. The rain was still coming down quiet hard and I was really beginning to notice the extra weight of the soaked shoes and socks. I did my meal replacement drink early , took it at 2hrs45min instead at the 3 hour mark. I had a bad cramp come on about 15min after the MRD at about the three hour mark. At first I thought it was heart pain but it was in my upper left abdomen. I slowed the pace a concentrated on my form , drank a little more water and in a few minutes the pain subsided. At 38K the escarpment decent began , it wasn't as easy as I had envisioned on the way out! At the bottom of the decent I cramped again , this time it was my lower right abdomen. Slowed the pace again for a few hundred meters until the pain subsided a bit.

30-40K was done in 58min22sec

The last 10K was really hard , the cramps never totally went away and I found that I was loosing form allot. The feet were starting to hurt a bit and I no longer felt like drinking or taking my last Gel. I stopped at the 40K aid station a drank a glass of water. There was a small hill at the 43K mark that I walked up. It felt like I was really slowing down, at the 45K mark I made myself do the last Gel. Usually I dissolve it in my mouth with a bit of water, this time it went down as a blob! The last aid station was at 47K , stopped for water and a momentary breather with the intention of pushing hard for the last 3K to the finish!

40-50K was done in 58min54sec.

The graph of my pace really shows where I started to struggle in the last third of the race....

My chip time was 4:40:11, finished 27th out of 134, 12th out of 35 in the 40-49 category, 32nd out of a total of 95 males.

This is another PB in the 50K distance , this beat my previous best time by 59 minutes. Its hard to compare Niagara to the other Ultra Trail Races , no root , no rocks , only one big hill with a very gentle grade.

I am sure that the Niagara Ultra will be my fastest 50K event of the year!

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