Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seaton Trail Race

The Ultra Season has began. Did the Seaton Trail 52K trail race yesterday. Garmin says it was 53.68K done in far my slowest 50K ever.

I did the 26K Seaton Race last year. I went out hard for the "short one"...boy did I find out what this race was all about! Most who run the OUS series agree that Seaton is one of the toughest , if not the toughest race in the series. After doing the 52K event I would have to say that I agree! I have been trying to figure out just what it is that makes this course harder then the rest ... could be the time of year , maybe the elevation , maybe the wet feet , maybe the long rocky downhills that never really let you open up. I really cant nail it down so I think its a combination of all the elements.

Race day started early and as is usual I was up at 3am , an hour before my alarm went off. Had some breakfast then jumped in then jumped in the hot tub for an hour. It was snowing and blowing , real nasty but I decided it was going to be shorts! I packed enough extra clothes to run in any weather from -20C to plus 30C just in case I changed my mind. I headed out just before 5am. It was a lazy drive to the city, I was feeling quiet tired but excited to be starting the Ultra season.

Arrived just in time to see the 73Kers off at 7am. There was a bitter cold wind so I decided to change into tights. My goal was comfort , race plan go out easy and finish the first 26K loop feeling like I was warmed up and ready to go! The start was uneventful , after a few words from George Sarason we were off. Headed out real conservative and was running at a pace that I was easily able to chat . Talked to JD about his great Sustania 100 mile Winter Run in the Yukon.... quiet an adventure. After the river crossing at 3K I was on my own for awhile and was dialed into the music. Not too long after the river there was a very steep dirt downhill...Garmin says 100m. I was in with a BOP 26K runners that were really struggling to make it down. My Adidas Super Nova Trail has great grip and I had no problems at all. Stoped at the first aide station , had some eload and gummy bears. Running at an easy pace I was really able to take in the beauty of the trail. Its hard to believe that on the edge of Pickering there can be such an amazing trail system. The race director had a very creative imagination. We were constantly deviating off the beaten path to trails that we either unused or just flags though the bush that we followed. It gave the race allot of character but also added a level of difficulty that is unique to Seaton....Bravo to the race director. Past the second aide station I was passing quiet a few 26K and fast 50K runners on their way back. I was wathcing the faces , some showed a huge amount of strain and others looked like they were sitting on the couch watching TV and some were just plain zoned out. I believe that a good game face is the couch sitter , no matter how I feel on the inside I I try not to let it show. When I reached the 13K turnaround I quickly realized that I wasn't going to be as fresh as I thought when I completed the first loop. I was having some issues getting the clothing right and was over heating a bit. My Saugeen Tri Sagoi Firewall jacket is amazing but maybe a little too much for the conditions. It was hat on / hat off, gloves on / gloves off and coat unzipped then zipped up. I was struggling to maintain a comfort and was afraid of dehydrating. Heading back I ran with a women from Owen Sound doing her first ever trail race...she sure picked a good one I thought to myself! She told me about a bear encounter on a rail trail just east of the city a couple of weeks ago! A short time later I ran with a women from Markham. She was using the Seaton 26K run as a lead up to PYP 50K in 2 weeks. She was very kind and had an amazing supply of racing goodies. She gave me some salt tablets ...I downed a couple then save some for later then she had some e load caps and these sweet tart things ...yum! In retrospect I really really need this stuff due to the amount of sweating I was doing. Made it back to the start finish feeling a bit drained. I knew that the next 26K were going to be tough and was really looking forward to getting past each mile stone , the river , the first aide station just take it on a little bit at a time. I was glad to get the river crossing out of the way, the next time though I would be on the home stretch. Ran with Kinga Miklos most of the third leg. It seems like she knows every runner on the course. Lots of stories and background from her. There are so many amazing folks doing the OUS series its an honour just being out there with them. A week after Seaton Kinga was has a 100 miler planned , unbelievable! Kinga also talked about the pain the and desire to push to see how much we can endure. This started me thinking about my own pain or lack of. I wouldn't say that I am in pain , its more of a fatigue thing for me. The pain starts when I am done and peaks around 48 hours later. In the later stages of the run I am not hurting , just tired beyond imagination and frustrated that the body doesn't respond like it did when the event began. Started in on boiled potatoes dipped in salt on the way back...a new Ultra favorite. I was craving salt and the potatoes went down super easy and tasted really good. I was also munching on Watermelon, Pretzels and Chocolate Chip Cookies. I also took on Coke on the final loop. Lost Kinga at the turnaround and ran the final 13K solo. There were quiet a few hikers on the trail, as I passed by one they said " I don't know what you guys are running for but the prize better be really good" made me smile and reflect on what I was doing. I was surprised that I was able to keep going walks except for the hills. The last big one was the 100m dirt hill that I watched everyone struggle on early in the race. I remember getting to the top totally winded , heart pounding and staggering as I tried to start running again. After the river crossing it seemed to be forever to the finish, I was keeping my eye on the time wanting to get it in in under 7 hours. It was such a relief when the trail turned into the field leading to the start finish. The last couple of Ks I was struggling with nausea and felt like I was going to be sick. Crossing the finish I felt like I really accomplished something ... time wasn't all that important, I was just happy to be done. After a 10 minute break at the finish I wandered to the car changed and then drove home.

I felt a little stiff Saturday Eve, typical after a race of this distance. The real pain was 24-48 hours later. My quads are trashed, going downstairs is not pleasant. I tried to run early Tues morning on the night shift but it didn't work , did a 2K walk instead.

Really looking forward to the 50K Pick Your Poison in a couple for weeks. I am going to approach this one the same as Seaton. PYP has quiet a reputation after all the DNFs last year...should be a blast.

1 comment:

chris mcpeake said...

great report.
I think this is the toughest course in the series for sure.