Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dirty Girls 6 Hour Trail Race Report

Dirty Girls Race Report
SUCCESS - I have officially joined the ranks of the Ultra Runner. I completed 50k at the Dirty Girls Trail Race in around 5:38. Not sure of the official time yet but that should be close give or take 1 minute. Kim also completed her planned 30k of running. We both really enjoyed this race (I think Kim might be hooked on trails now).

Pre race

Packed up all our needed gear for the race. So much more to deal with then a road race, even a marathon. Lots of premixed gateraid / water, gels, cliff shot bloks, and S-tabs in hopes of avoiding a big bonk during the run. Also extra cloths and Tylenol. I didn’t need an extra drop bag as you return to the race start line every 10k so just one bag and cooler worked out fine. This is still a learning process for me so forgot stuff I should have brought "in case" it was needed. Didn’t bite me in the ass this time but I will be putting together and using a checklist to prepack from now on.

Got to the race a good 40 minutes before the start. It was very easy to fine. Kim rented a trusty ZIP car. Great car and very affordable service, we will be using the Zip Car more often.

A few glitches when we got to the race but nothing major. Men’s bathroom was down so only one shared washroom but its a small race. The guys room was back up and working just before start time. Also didn’t get my shirt (Kim got hers) due to a problem with the supplier with the guys shirts. Really nice shirt which I will be getting in the mail in the next week or two.

Got final directions from the race director including a strange one about being aware of the Barn and kids camp at the 7.5k mark. It’s a camp for challenged kids so stay clear of it and don’t worry if you hear screaming as the kids cant help it. What an odd direction I thought to myself.

Weather was cool and looked like rain might make an appearance. Didn’t happen tho and it cleared up within the hour. Rest of the race was run under blue skies, warm and a little humid but overall pretty good for racing.

Then we lined up for the start. I was more towards the back of the crowd. This race was capped at 150 people and think it was probably sold out. I love these races as they are so laid back.

The Race

Okay lets get this out of the way. First mistake came early. I should have started closer to the front and because I didn’t my day very nearly came to an early end. The race started and we headed out of a field and into the woods. I wasn’t worried about being a bit back as I figured that it would keep me on pace early. Unfortunately I was not familiar with the course.

As soon as we entered the woods we were on a tight single track trail with a couple of steep but short uphills. The runners ahead of me were going much slower then I wanted and we were bunched up tight. No room to pass here so I was forced to stay slow. More importantly was the way we were bunched up. Anyone that is reading this and does trail running knows bunching up is flirting with danger as you can’t see the footing ahead of you. I like to keep at least 5 feet usually more (much more if possible) between me and the next runner.

At less then 1k into the race I stepped sideways on a root I never saw coming and turned my ankle over. Luckily I caught myself and saved it from being a complete roll over that might end my day. It was a big scare. The guy right behind me in a red shirt that was also looking for a place to pass said "Little to early for that kind of thing". To which I replied "No Shit". Scare behind me the trail opened up a few minutes later and I used the extra space to get clear of that pack.

I really liked this course. It’s a great mix of double and single track trail. There is only one small section on gravel type road and lots of variety overall. Some sections were very technical while others were more open running. The entire course is very runnable. There were lots of rolling hill / trail but only a couple of big long steep hills.

Cruised through the first 10k loop and once I settled in found myself running amongst the same group of runners most of the time occasionally passing each other and swapping positions back and forth. Don’t know any of their names however. I should have asked. Two people in particular the guy that saw me almost wipe out and a girl with ponytails and a cool back tattoo I saw again and again during the race the race. I will call them red shirt guy and tattoo girl, if you’re reading this sorry no idea of names so no offence meant. I am really not used to the talking to people while you run a race sort of thing. It’s just not like that in road racing. Also met the race director for Creemore early in the first loop and talked to him for a bit.

Just before the 7.5k mark we passed the kids camp and I finally understood the race director’s direction. I could hear a kid screaming and it was not the kind of screaming I had expected. I thought kid screaming is well kid screaming. Instead it was screaming like Friday The 13th screaming. Seriously if not for the race directors warning I would have probably stopped and went over to investigate.

I came out of the woods and into the field first lap completed at around 58 minutes. Bit too fast but not crazy fast. Grabbed a new bottle of gateraid slammed back an S-cap and gel and headed back out.

A couple of things I really wanted to focus on in this race were getting calories into me on the fly and minimizing any time spent at aid stations. To that end I decided to avoid the official aid station at the 5k mark and keep my time back at our base camp to a minimum. Loop 1 total time was less then 1 minute.

Headed out on lap 2. Legs felt great but my knee was starting to get a little sore already. Also I can get paranoid about this so was tried to keep it in perspective and evaluate it properly. Just a little sore no need to worry yet. Started lap 2 with no other runners in sight. At around 3k red shirt guy passed me. He had been ahead of me last loop and just before 5k tattoo girl passed me. I Must have gotten ahead of them in transition. Kept both of them in sight for the rest of the loop. A little slower this time around as I settled in. Started eating cliff shot bloks at each of the two big hills on the loop to keep those calories coming. Finished the second lap at 2:01 (1:03 for the loop). Once again same routine at home base and was back out in about a minute.

Headed out for loop 3. Still felt really good but knee hurting more. Just some soreness. Nothing to worry about but it was causing me to brace more then I wanted to on the downhills. Begin to really wonder how much better I could run without the knee hurting, starting contemplating whether to get back on the waiting list for surgery. I was passed by red shirt guy at around 2k again. He said "man I got to go faster in the transitions." This made me happy as I knew I was doing mine pretty well. Saw and passed Kim here. Checked to see how she was doing. She said she felt great and was having lots of fun. She was looking pretty good. Didn’t stay to chat and keep on moving. Decided to pop a Tylenol at the 25k mark for the knee. Not needed but a safety measure. Passed by the 5k aid station for the 3rd time and still hadn’t stopped there, awesome. Tattoo girl had caught up to me again. Chatted with her a little then she moved ahead of me. Keep her in sight for the rest of the lap. Came into the finish area for the 3rd lap at 3:07 (1:04 for the loop). Same ritual but took me a bit longer to get my gel down. I am officially sick of gels. Back out at 3:09

Headed out for lap 4 with 2:53 left to complete another 20k and felt very positive about this. Started to feel a little tired now still running well. Still running everything but the biggest hills. Worked my way through the loop. Knee holding up about the same as during loop 2. I saw an Asian girl take a header right in front of me. Check too see that she was okay, she was, she was doing the 24 hour race. Yikes I feel tired just thinking about that. Finished the 4th loop (40k) at 4:19 (1:12 on the loop). Going slower now as fatigue was starting to set in. Took extra time on the transition as I wanted to ditch my heart monitor and change my shirt. Muscles and coordination were wonky. It took me about 4 minutes to get out of base camp.

Lap 5 was the focus and push to the end lap. Passed marathon distance and still felt good. Course seemed longer then past loops. At around 4k caught a root and face planned pretty good. All part of the trail running experience I guess. Dusted myself off, nothing hurt but my ego, and moved on. Less then a km later I saw another person take a spill right in front of me. He got up and was okay. He told me it’s the second time he wiped out in the very same spot. Hit the 5k aid station and decided to stop for the first time. Was starting to feel the wall coming up so grabbed some heed and coke drank it and kept moving. Heed sat heavy in my stomach for a few minutes but didn’t really cramp up. As I went through the last 5k I started to contemplate whether to try and go another 2.5k after this loop. Since it’s a 6 hour event you can keep running for 6 hours. They will count partial laps at 2.5, 5 and 7.5k marks. Leg wise I could definitely do more kms. Time wise I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to make it before the 6 hour cut off. I decided if I finished the lap before 5:35 I would push on. The last 5k seemed to go on forever then just when it seemed like it would never end I was out at the finish line. Clock said 5:38 so I decide not to keep going. I could have probably made it. However you have to walk back. I can not imagine how grumpy I might be if I missed the cutoff by a minute and had done the running and walking back for nothing. It was a damned if you do damned if you don’t kind of thing and I am still torn about it.

Post Race

Kim was waiting at the finish. She finished her 30k in around 5 hours but was not sure about the time. I will post the official times once they are available. No medals for this race, instead we got a cool keychain and a buttertart. Also feasted on tasty burgers and giant chocolate chip cookies.

Saw tattoo girl at the finish area and still didn’t get a name.. what a moron I am sometime. She ended up doing 52.5, didn’t see red shirt guy anywhere.

This was a really great race. I would do this one again for sure. Was not as hard as Seaton but harder then Sulphur Springs, maybe right in the middle.

This was Kim’s first trail race and she loved it. We are already discussing what to do about Halliburton and the Iroquois trail test this fall. Will keep you informed on what we decide.

Legs feel tired but okay a day later. Not as sore as a marathon more like half marathon pain. Knee feels okay and no worse for wear. 50K races rule


  1. I really enjoyed the report...I have a 50k coming up in Sept. so I appreciated your details...well, the screaming kid item was a little funny and won't happen to me, but I did giggle. Can you give me an idea of what kind of fueling/eating/drinking you did? GREAT job!

  2. Congratulations on your first ultra run! I enjoyed the report and I'm glad that your knee didn't bother you too much.

  3. Awesome! Great report! Glad the knee held up, good sign!

  4. Great report, and congrats on running an Ultra! A club I'm quite sure I'll never belong too :) Nice bling!!

  5. Awesome job. I am planning on a 50K in December. I asbolutely love trail running - much easier on the body and pleasurable to the eye! Ana-Maria

  6. congrats on your first ultra! glad you didn't hurt anything with the trip up. loved the race recap! kinda (not really) makes me want to go do an ultra... :) maybe one day...

  7. Great report! And excellent job on your first ultra. I admire the heck out of you for doing it.

  8. Hey Chris, great race and report. Congrats on joining the ultra club. I hope to become a member as well the end of August. Oh, the tripping and falling thing, I've got that down pat already!

  9. Great job Chris and congrsts on your first Ultra. Sounds like it won't be your last either:) Perhaps in one of your posts you could share your race checklist (if it's not proprietary!). That would certainly help those of us interested in trying trail racing, but don't have a clue what to take along. Cheers, Roger

  10. Congratulations, Ultra Runner!! Sounds like a pretty fun race. Maybve I can give it a try next year, although I am not remotely a trail (or ultra) runner.

    Hope you are recovering well!

    Congrats to Kim as well!

  11. Dude!! Awesome, I think it's time to change the name of your blog to
    "Suck It Up ....Rantings of an Ultra-Runner on the Edge"


  12. Good job Chris. Welcome to the dark side. I wish I could have done that race.

    NERD ALERT! Technical advice on nutrition: if you mix sport drinks and gels, drink enough water to dilute the gels. The sport drinks are already close to the maximum carb% you can process. If the carbs concentration in your stomach gets too high, your stomach will slow down or stop.

  13. Congrats on completing the ultra! It sounds like it was a great run. And, you're not alone - I tend not not learn people's names too. My race reports are filled with "guy in orange jacket", "curly-haired girl", and "woman in the running skirt".

  14. whoo-hoo! you're an ultra runner. sounds like you did an amazing job and had a great time. it made ME want to go and do this race! :)

  15. Great race report. That sounds incredibly tough and your loop splits were pretty consistent.

    Don't beat yourself up over the partial lap! Girl you ran a freakin ultra!

  16. Congratulations! You have definitely lost it - your "ultra virginity", that is... Great report!

  17. Great race report. Trail runs are the best.

  18. Congratulations on a super first 50K and finish time. You'll never forget this one.

  19. Congrats, great report! I cannot imagine running an Ultra...maybe someday:)

  20. Congratulation on your first ULTRA. Funny how Canadians refer to bathroom as washroom where we the Americans called it restroom. :-)
    Again, Congrats and terrific post race report.

  21. 50K!!! That's Freakin' Awesome!! Congrats!

  22. Great report Chris! And glad you enjoyed the dirty girls. Shirts will still be another couple of weeks. May I link to your race report on the dirty girls website? ~diane


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