Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dirty Girls 24 Hour Trail Race

Returned for my 4th consecutive Dirty Girls. This is one of my favorite events of the year and it just keeps getting better. Format was slightly different with 12 hour event starting at 08:00 pm. Doing the 24 hour event the past couple of years it got rather lonely out there so I was quiet looking forward to the extra company.

The day started good and early at 04:15 am. I had coffee in the hot tub but skipped the usual breakfast in favour of a bowl of cereal. Grant picked me up at 06:00 am and we arrived at the race at 07:00 am. In the past being an hour before race start meant you could get a prime parking spot adjacent the course but that wasn't the case this year. Dianne the RD is always tweaking with the event and this year was no different , there was a new start finish line that was really cool and a DJ playing tunes.

The 6 and 12 hour race started at 08:00. My race plan was simply to do as many 90 minute laps as I could. The temperatures and humidity were already high and it was expected to rise to the low 30's in the afternoon with an overnight low around 20 and continuing humid, unfortunately the weather man was right. The first 3 laps were done pretty much as planned. I was pleasantly surprised to have Diane the RD join me. This was the first time she had run her race and was doing the 24 hour event. Dianne and I more or less had the same race plan and she decided to hang out behind me preventing her from going out too fast. This served her well because she had a fantastic day. There was bit of a shower on the third lap that provided some relief from the building heat but when the sun came back out it was brutally hot . Heading out on the 4th lap things were starting to become rather difficult. Although I was eating and drinking constantly I was becoming dehydrated and bloating . The body wasn't processing what I was eating so I more of less walked the first few Ks of the loop. Cooling down a bit as well as getting the heart rate and berating down really improved things and before the 5K aide station and I was moving along quiet well again. The 5th loop was mostly running and and walking anything that resembles a hill but I was slowing down doing the loop closer to 2 hours then the planned 90 minutes. Had to do more walking in the 6th loop always trying to recover then run again. In one of the walk breaks I stopped sweating and was a little freaked out thinking heat stroke. I tried running again to see what would happen and I quickly broke out in a per fuse sweat .... I was relieved. The 6th loop was by far the warmest time of the day , no one was in much of a hurry and everyone I talked to was doing allot of walking and praying for nightfall and cooler temps. Thing were getting really really tough for me in the 7th loop. When I tried to run I had allot of pain in my still bloated stomach and I was extremely nauseous. I walked the entire first half of this loop and it seemed to take for ever to get to the aide station. I was beginning to question how long I could continue and was concerned that Dave and Alaina my pacers would have a very short night. I was also trying to figure out where I stood in relation to last years 24 hour race but the mind wasn't working so well. Later I learned that that last year buy 8:30 pm I had completed 8 laps and compared to 7 this year. Mathematically I knew I could do another 5 laps in 11.5 hours with a brisk walk so I was still optimistic that I could reach my 120km goal. Realistically I was hoping to get a lap in with each of may pacers. I headed out on the 8th loop with Alaina , the trail and pacing were new to her and she was quiet excited to be out there. I was super happy to have her along. I explained to her the problems I was having with my stomach and told her that we would be mostly walking to the 5K Aide station. The last half of the loop we started to run a bit here and there and finished the loop with a solid 1K downhill to the Start / Finish. Headed out with Dave around 11:00 for the 9th loop. Like Alania this was a first for Dave. Things were really starting to deteriorate for me and walking wasn't making things any better. My feet were really starting to burn . It felt like I had worn as layer of skin off both feet. The legs joined the party , off and on through out the day I had a bit of burning but now that was turning to pain. The stomach was worse then ever and I had more of less stopped taking in fluids and absolutely no solid food. I was no longer sweating but skin was burning hot. I was no longer having fun and around 3K into the loop I decided that I was going to stop at 90K. Dave was really encouraging me to go on but I think he could see that I was quickly getting worse. At the 5K aide station I had two glasses of Ginger Ale hoping it would help out. I was still slowing down and I could only run very short distances and decided to no longer try to run just walk it home. I felt badly for Dave and Alaina that I wasn't going to be able to head back out again and I hoped they weren't disappointed. Dianne caught up with me with a few Ks to go. She told me that she had a real rough patch and almost didn't leave the start / finish , at the 5K aide station she was done but Char was there and wouldn't let her quit. Char gave her a 5 hour energy drink and she lit up like someone had ignited a afterburner. I was quite humbled when Dianne thanked me for the advice and pacing earlier as she flew by me while I was crawling home. The first discomfort of the day was a bit of burning in my legs on the third loop. Mentioning this to Dianne she said she had the same and was a bit worried. I told her not to give it any thought because other things would hurt more and you would forget about the legs! As she was flying by me pumped on the rocket fuel she was rhyming off the "round robin" of pain! The 9th loop took somewhere around 3 hours. To get to 120km before the 08:00 am finish was no longer possible with a walk so it made it easier to the the Marshall I was done. I also asked the Marshall not to tell anyone because I didn't want anyone trying to get me to continue... I was done.

Sitting down never felt so good. It was only a few minutes before I began to freeze so I quickly cleaned up with Wet Wipes then through on some layers of clean clothes on. I apologized to Alaina and Dave again, I really felt bad that I couldn't get them back out . I drank and bottle of Water and took 3 Advil and continued to sit. About an hour after stopping my stomach was gurgling and making all kinds of nosies as it came back to life. It started to rain so I jumped in Grants truck and fell asleep sitting up.

Dave was stirring before 07:00 am , Grant and Anne were running the 12 hour night event and were still out on the course. It was a new distance for both of them and Anne stopped at the 5K Aide station and Grant was still on the course. I am pretty sure they did 65 and 70K in the 12 hour. It was fun watching the last of the 12 and 24 hour runners coming in. Unlike past years the place was buzzing with activity. There was lots of folks around feeling more like a race start then the end.

I ended up logging 90K in somewhere around 17-18 hours. I didn't have a hard time stopping when I did but I was feeling a little disappointed when I watched the everyone finishing up in the morning. I felt that I had handled the heat about as well as I could and concluded that I should probably avoid doing longer then a 50K Ultra when its really hot , with the exception of the Dirty Girls next year...of course!


Janice said...

I enjoyed reading your race report. Congratulations on a tough battle. I'm hoping to do my first Dirty Girls next year. I'm gonna start with the six hour though!

dchesla said...

Great report Ron! The funny thing is that when I came into the s/f, I told Henri not to let you stop but to let you "rest" & refuel. You sneaky bugger you!

However, after reading your report, I probably agree with your decision to stop.

That all said, I learned from you and Charlotte about how to make it through a long distance. It was my good fortune to keep running into Charlotte when I tried to quite (twice). Although foul words spewed out of my mouth, I'm glad she showed me tricks to fix my misery & move on.

HOWEVER (again), none of this could have happened had I not done my first 4 loops with you. You totally taught me how to read my own body under duress. You also taught me how to pace for the conditions (hills & weather).

Although I'm very excited to get out & try this length of torture again, I am going to stay conservative for the rest of this year.

Thanks again Ron for your teachings en route!

chris mcpeake said...

Great job Ron,
Heat was killer out there. Made it tough for everyone.
Not much you can really do about it. 90km is still a damn good distance to run.

cya at Hailburton