Monday, May 10, 2010

Pick Your Poison 50k Race Report



Pick Your Poison 50k Race Report

Here is the full race report from the Pick Your Poison 50k last week. I have been moving in slow motion on this one so sorry about that, but hey I ain't Superman. Maybe the Hulk, with that greenness and anger issues, but with no ability to jump really far or throw cars around. I can, however, smash stuff wearing ripped jeans and being shirtless.

The race took place on May 1st on the side of a ski hill just north of Barrie, Ontario. Yes that's what I said, on the side of a ski hill. You know how you talk to your road running buddies and you discuss how flat the course is or how fast it is or that it has a couple of hills. Well one thing I learned about ultra trail running is that it's not only assumed, but expected that you are going to be running up and down hills... ALOT.

This course did not disappoint, in fact the first thing I saw as I arrived at the race was those telltale little red flags snaking up the side of hill and crossing underneath the ski lift. Oh what fun we were about to have.

Prerace
Fellow ultra runner JD gave Kim and I ride up to the race. We ended up paying our way in beer which is always nice and got there in plenty of time. The weather was very cool and there were thunderstorms in the forecast for the morning. We picked up our race kits which included a water bottle (can never have too many) and a jar of fresh locally made honey. Got our stuff ready in a cooler at the start line and milled about. Both JD and I were running the 50k, although JD said he was going to take it pretty easy. Kim was running the 25k. I planned to run this one fairly hard with no race planned for the next couple of weeks.

The course was a 12.5km loop so I would be circling around it 4 times. I actually like this type of course when its a race I have not done before. I know where I am going and what to expect by the third loop and my chances of getting lost diminish somewhat, not totally, but somewhat. Honestly I could get lost in a phone booth. Everyone lined up at the start and we were off.

Race
I had a plan, it was simple, stay with a few other runners that were a bit faster than me and use them to push myself hard. So simple, so very very simple. So didn't happen. This race had 12.5k, 25k and 50k distances. Right off the start I had trouble figuring out who was running what. In the first 200 meters we were already climbing up a decent hill. Oh and I felt terrible, really really terrible. I am not sure why, but I was having a hell of a time getting the legs going. I mentally began to fret about this which made it even worse. Arrrrggggg!!

At the 1km mark we were into tight single track trail. Everything slowed a little and I found myself going slower than I wanted, but unable to pass. The trail was pretty tough so I didn't mind biding my time. The first 4k or so was a great deal of up and down and very technical trail. Wow this was a lot harder course then I had anticipated. The trail criss-crossed between numerous ski runs, I started to wonder just how many different ways I could run up and down the side of one big hill.

Then, just like that, we were out onto flat logging type roads. This was great as it allowed me to stretch out the legs. The roads were mixed in with more single track trail, but it was all fairly flat so very runnable. Then at around 8k we were back into the woods and climbing a super big hill.

Somewhere just around this hill I was passed by Brian who I had meet and ran with for a while at the Waterloo Marathon. I decided since he is a faster runner I would at least try and keep him in sight.
The last 4k were back into mostly tough technical trail which include a lot of running along the side of hills. Not up and down, but along the side of which can be very hard on the legs. At around 12k you pop out of the woods find yourself on the top of the ski hill with a short steep run back down to the start/finish. Just as I came out of the woods and crested the hill I saw a huge bolt of lightning off in the distance. Oh crud, here comes the rain.

Lap 2 went much like lap 1, okay not really. I had just started the loop when the rain started to come down and man did it pour. Can't really say much more about this than it rained really hard. I ran this loop a little slower than the first, but was feeling good and in a groove. I also played a lot of swap race positions with Brian. He would be ahead, then I would, then he would pass me again. Because of how the course was set up it was hard to see runners that were more then a couple of hundred meters ahead of you, so you were never too sure how close or far other runners were from you. That can be a great incentive to run harder.

Lap 3 I was starting to tire. I was wet, but it had stopped raining. The technical trail areas were very slippery at this point. I tried to focus on not wiping out which is not easy for a klutz like me. My trail shoes don't have an aggressive tread, but were some help. You could clearly see along the trail where others had left skid marks from not being able to get traction. This lap was slower mostly due to the conditions. I saw Kim about 11k into this loop and she was almost done. I passed a few runners along here, but was passed by Brian. I didn't see him again until the finish.

Lap 4 almost done so I tried to pick it up some. Passed a couple of other runners. Didn't get passed by anyone so was able to hold my position for the rest of the race. Trail was better on lap 4 than the previous lap as it had dried out some so was not as treacherous. At the 9k mark I could see that there was another runner about 300 meters behind me and he looked like he was coming fast. Damn I had to run harder. I picked it up some more, but the legs were burning. Why do you hate me legs, why? As I crested the top of the ski hill for the last time I found that I had some fuel left in the tank so I booted it (or maybe shuffled) down the hill and to the finish.

Post race
Kim was waiting at the finish for me. I was happy to be done but also felt good about this race. I eventually got changed and then scoffed down post race burgers and pasta salad. We also got really cool post race socks (just what I needed!! how did they know?). Ended up in 14th place with a time of 5:26:37 which was a 11 minute PB.

I loved this course and the race director did a great job. Nothing to complain about really except there were no potatoes at the aid stations. I love potatoes. I will definitely run this race again next year.

17 comments:

  1. Awesome race Chris - sounds like you had a great time (well, as great as suffering 5 1/2 hours can be...)! Nice report - especially liked the part about talking to the legs at the end - LOL!

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  2. Most excellent race with a PB to boot. And I dig you pay your way in beer. If you ever need a ride in Houston...

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  3. It sounds like quite a race. Physically and mentally challenging. I think the honey in the race kit sounds great!

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  4. Great race report and great race given the conditions. What is the rate card for transport in beer?

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  5. Great Race Report Hulk! 4 laps on a course is neat as you said it allows you to get to know the terrain. I haven't delved into your site fully yet, but do you often do trail races? I like how you use the term runnable. Some of the trail I am exploring now is NOT runnable. lol. What trail running shoes do you use? I can not imagine yet over 5 hours of an 11 pace. That is just awesome. Congratulations again, as much needed. BTW added your blog to my roll.

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  6. Great job and congrats on the PB.

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  7. Enjoyed your race report, Chris. Sounds like a challenging and fun race. I'm signed up for my first 50k (October), so I enjoy reading about other runners' experiences. Congrats on your PB! Great job!

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  8. Congrats on a great race and a PB! Sounds challenging, especially with the rain...great job!

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  9. This is awesome and I imagine it makes you really strong for a mere marathon without lots of hills.

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  10. You felt good about that race although the track was a lot hard. Sounds like you had a good time. You wrote a nice and thorough report Chris!

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  11. Way to go with the PB, keep it up!

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  12. Nice report and great run! Yeah for the PB! Comrades is on 30 May this year just before the world cup. I'm not running Comrades this year, just not ready.

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  13. Hi! Thank you for your support with my surgery. It didn't happen (i wrote all the details on my blog), but I still wanted to say thanks. I'll use the good luck next time.

    PS. Congrats on a wonderful run!

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  14. Great Report! In knew it would be, how could any race with that name, be anything but wonderful?!

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  15. Great race report! Sounds like a fun race, good job.

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  16. Great race report! And great job!

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  17. Great report- sounds like a pretty fun race. Ah, don't ya love it when you're super simple race plan is totally undone by things you didn't know?

    I have to say when I read about the 'little red flags', it reminded me of Enoree- we figured out that so many people got lost because the deer had come along and eaten a lot of the little flags: Excellent!!

    Keep on keepin' on. You rock!

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