Thursday, April 22, 2010

Seaton Trail Race 2010 - 52K race report

This is the second time that I have run the Seaton Trail race which is put on by the Mudpuppies and is part of the OUSER series. Last year I had one of the most painful racing experiences of my life and barely managed to finish even though I only ran 26k (ONLY HA). This year I decided to run the 52k version of the race. Of the OUSER races that I have done so far I think that this is the most technical and difficult course that I have been on.

Saturday morning we drove out to Pickering in our trusty ZipCar rental. We had debated maybe taking the train but opted for something more convenient. Kim had signed up for the 26k and was a bit nervous about the course. I was fretting about the weather. It was suppose to be cold, windy and rainy with a chance of snow... Yikes.

Got to the race with lots of time to spare. Saw JD (see his blog here) in the changing rooms and chatted with him for a bit then head out to the start line. Decided to go with shorts and a light but long sleeve shirt even though temperature was right around zero. Also they gave us gloves with our race kits so I keep these on to start. Man it was cold.

My race plan was simple. The 52k is and out and back then out and back again (13k each way). I wanted to run some of the race hard but still back off so that I would not screw up my training for Sulphur. I figured run hard early then take a more laid back approach later on.

The Race
From the start line I headed out at a decent pace and soon was running alone kind of sandwiched between the very fast pack up ahead and the smart pacing people behind me. I was at the first river crossing at the 3k mark in no time at all. Holy Crap that water was super cold and not refreshing at all. Then when I came out of the river I got to listen to the sweet squeak, squeak, squeak of my soaking wet shoes for the next couple of Kms.

Did I mention that that this trail is really tough. So we headed up one rock strewn hill and back down another, rinse and repeat, again and again.. Although I had run this race last year there were some major course changes starting at about the 5k mark due to erosion issues on the trails. I wouldn't say that this made the course any less challenging just different.

I came out of the woods onto the road and past the first aid station at around the 6k mark. I didn't bother to stop at all as I was feeling like I was in a pretty good groove and was running with my own water bottle and gels. So it was back into the woods for more root dodging hill climbing fun. I felt good so I keep my pace up. Things were mostly uneventful at first but at some point along this section I caught a root and face planted hard and fast. I am sure that there is an indented imprint of my face on the trail even now. Kind of like a shrine to my lack of grace and big clown feet. Someone behind me asked if I was okay. Damn it wouldn't you know it as soon I look bad there is someone there to see it. Isn't that always the way. I told him that I was and he raced past me down the trail.

A few minutes later things got kind of misty (NO I was not crying... not yet) and ice pellets began to rain down. They were small so they didn't hurt at all and in the solitude of the forest it was an awesome moment. Then the snowing stopped and I was headed into the second aid station. I began to see runners heading back the other way and though Crap I am really slow until I realized that they were the 50 milers that had started earlier.

Soon I was at the turn around and heading back. I slowed my pace down some and tried to remember I was running this for training. My bum knee was a little sore from all the ups and downs and I had forgotten my brace which was making me nervous . I still had a long way left to run. I saw JD a few minutes after the turn around and he seemed to be running well. The run back to the start was slower and uneventful but enjoyable. I passed Kim at some point... she is such a trooper. Then back through the river again, still very cold, and into the start line. I downed some gels, got another water bottle and headed out as quick as I could. I began to realize that I had not been consistent enough with my nutrition which I can semi get away with in a 50k but not in a longer race. Staying on this was suppose to be one of my focuses for this race. First half of the race was done in 2:54ish.

Ran at a comfortable pace for the next 13k. I was not sure how my body would respond in the later parts of the race as this was the first time that I was running more then 38k this year. My legs were getting fatigued and sore but nothing that was not manageable. My feet seemed to be doing fine as well which was a worry with the river crossings. My knee was not having any issues at all.

Lack of nutrition was beginning to have consequences. Talk about running stupid. I almost fell in the river and had to put both hands and arms down into the water to catch myself leaving me with very cold hands. I was getting loopy and took another minor spill. I downed another couple gels and some salt tabs. Once I hit the next aid station I also grabbed some nice salty boiled potatoes (yummy) and coke but only stopped very briefly. I added potato stops to my aid station passes from that point on.

During this loop of the race I keep being passed and passing the same guy over and over. It was really getting annoying. I mean seriously how many times can you pass the same person.

I hit the turn around again and figured by the runners that had passed me that I was in about 12th place give or take a couple places. On the turn around I soon realized that there were 5 other runners less then 2 minutes behind me. Crap.

I didn't want anyone to catch me so I picked it up from here running a slightly faster pace for the next 6K and still one guy passed me. Double Crap.

After I passed the last aid station I really picked it up. My legs felt good and strong. My hill training over the winter really paid off. Okay that's mostly BS I really was running scared as I didn't want to drop any farther down the finishing field. I managed to pass 6 other runners in the last 6k although I think that 3 of them were running the 50 miler.

Came up the last stretch and was done. The guy who had been passing me over and over ( who I had nicknamed “the bane of my existence” in my head) didn't catch me. Take that Banny!

Post Race
I am mostly happy with this race. I ended up finishing in 6:04 (unofficially) and 14 overall (unofficially). The actual race results are not posted yet. Kim also ran well and finished her race in 4:38. I had hoped to run under 6 hours but also wanted to not burn out my legs so it was trade off for me.

The only negative for me was my stupidity in not staying with my food/gel intake plan which is going to be crucial for me at Sulphur. I will make sure I correct this at Pick Your Poison in 2 weeks.

On a lighter note a few minutes after finishing the race I was standing around at the line catching my breath when behind me I heard "I saw this one guy go down really hard". I turned around to see the guy that had seen my spill talking to 3 other runners about my fall. I said "That was me" and almost the same time as he saw me and said "Hey that was you". Damn it I had become a post run story topic already... DOH!

Next up the Waterloo Marathon next weekend.


  1. Chris, awesome run, (and fall evidently!) Be sure to eat more regularly on your next ultra.

  2. Eat early, eat often:) Way to finish strong!

  3. Gotta eat man! Good finish, I think you're crazy for doing 52k but I also like that.

  4. Nice report Chris + was good to meet you and Kim at the post-race food. Great time. I believe the race may have been 54k aswell - give yourself more credit! I actually crossed your path while out on a training run on Thursday - on the waterfront trail by Exhibition place. You were a picture of concentration, so I left you to it!

    See you at Sulphur!

  5. too funny about your face plant :) glad you are ok. congrats on the race!! any distance on trails is hard to me... let alone 52k. first time i read it i thought you did a 5k! shame on me.

  6. Sounds like a good race, even though it was a "training run" for you. Good way to work out paces and nutrition before your goal race. Good luck w/your next one!


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