Welcome back. My last race is now almost 3 weeks behind me with the next one only 3 days away. I mentioned after my failed 100 mile effort at Haliburton Forest (completing 50 miles) that I was not totally bummed. I mean, it's never pleasant not finishing something you started and maybe I gave up where others would have continued but I'm still new to ultra running and learning not no quit when you feel down is something you hopefully pick up along the way through experience. I was really pleased to see many of you out there and encourage you in your races and that is always a really nice thing. I appreciated everybody's encouragement out there.
This next race is put on by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. They have been organizing ultra events for many years all over the world. They seem to choose small circuits to run crazy timed courses - 6, 12, 24 hours and the big New York 3,100 mile race you have to finish in 52 days (just to let you know that means you have to run 62 miles a day just to finish in the allotted time!). You run around a square block of Queens. I did one of their 6 hour races in Kingston early this year which was quite an interesting experience.
It is quite different running a certain number of hours rather than a specific distance. A set distance in a certain time may put off those that are concerned about finishing due to the difficulty of the course - terrain, elevation etc.
I think the two biggest reasons why more people don't participate in this type of timed race is one, because of the very short laps these events are traditionally run on; from 1km loops or in the case of this particular race, a 400 meter indoor track in Ottawa. Not everybody can get their heads around the tedium and monotony of seeing the same people and same things over and over again. The other reason would be for the length of time we are talking about. In a marathon I'd say the majority of runners are done between 3-5 hours but the minimum time for these events seems to be 6 hours and going for 24 hours in my race. If you run 100 mile races you can fathom 24 hours but if you are just getting into ultras the thought of running for 24 hours scares the pants off people.
I did the Kingston 6 hour race to get an idea of what that tedium might feel like and yes, at times it got a bit mind numbing, but seeing all your competitors over and over was actually quite inspiring and nice I thought. You got to gauge how you were doing based on how often you passed others or they passed you, and you got encouragement from the people around you. You had the aid station they provide always available and didn't need to carry water bottles or wear belts with your gels, salts, etc. You could sit down and relax and get up and get on your way when you are ready. Most people will set up makeshift camps around the track. Tents are allowed but not obviously to be staked down. I'll have my aid station available every 400 meters.
The race starts at 8am for the 24 hour race and traditionally you arrive early to meet your personalized timer. The members of the cult are each responsible for a small number of runners and count you after each lap so you have to get introduced before the start. Also, you wear your name rather than a numbered bib so again, it feels very personal. You make sure as you go around that you catch the eye of your counter. At Kingston, my counter used to say 'Got you Alex'.
There is a leader board which will be updated once you get some miles under you and the top 7 men and women are continuously updated over the day and night. You can ask your counter any time what your distance is in case you are not in the top and are wondering how far you've done.
Ottawa for me is a good 5+ hour drive so I'm not looking forward to that - and even less so 24 hours later. I'll leave 10am and arrive approx. 3-4pm. We have a pre-race dinner at 6pm and you can camp outside the facility and set up your tent/food/aid etc. inside but you can't sleep inside the dome. After 9pm they close it and you can get back in at 6am. My intention is to set up my stuff minus my tent inside the dome, and set my tent up outside. It will be getting cooler at night no doubt but I think I have enough protection and generally I sleep better if it's colder anyway. I'll have dinner and greet friends and I believe there is someone there doing a research project who wanted to talk to me and some others about how we got into ultra running, etc. so I'll be curious what types of questions he asks and what other people's stories are.
I'm supposed to meet the race Director of Hali at the pre-race dinner to collect my 2 drop bags I was not able to get at Hali. I really hope that works out because my race shoes are in there! Helen is doing the 6 hour race.
The plan is to go get some groceries and things on Thursday and get the car packed and ready. I won't need as much stuff and it should be easier to organize now I'm using crates and zip-lock bags. I just keep all my stuff in these now and it means I just can grab them and go.
I have never run on a track/artificial surface so I'm most curious about this aspect. I'm slightly worried it will be slightly 'bouncy' which over a long time could suck my energy like what I think happened at Limberlost with the soft spongy undergrowth. At least I have no concerns about running in the dark or tripping over roots or dealing with the elements or monster hills. It will be a completely controlled environment, probably around 18 degrees. For those of you that are thinking, do we run around in the same direction for 24 hours? No, we don't. They are turning us around after each 6 hour segment so we don't get fatigued/injured due to the continuous left hand or right hand turns. Track etiquette dictates that slower runners stay further out and let the faster runners lap you to the inside - you can be disqualified for not following this rule.
Prior to the start we line up and have a minute's silence and then there is a very informal, GO, and we all start. I believe there are about 30 or so 24-hour runners entered with another 20 or so doing either the 6 or 12 hour races. There are washroom facilities and you are expected to leave and enter the track at the same place. If you are going to sleep or rest for an extended time it is considered good practice and polite to let your counter know this.
It's a good question. Honestly, I'm getting tired... I can feel it's been a long season. I've upped my racing and mileage hugely since last year but I've enjoyed myself. I rested for almost a week after Hali and the heel and hip have bothered me on each practise run. I'm now not limping at least but I know the right heel is going to cause problems on Saturday. It feels like somehow the pad of the foot feels like it's lost compression and gets very tender so I may consider heel inserts. The hip I'm going to gel up before the start and take an Advil right at the start and hope I have no further problems throughout. I've had a few good runs and a few terrible ones where I felt all my fitness was gone so I really don't know where I stand these days. I won't have run a single mile in the last week. I just couldn't get motivated.
Let's look at some times/distances/past races to get an idea what I might be able to accomplish:
Haliburton Forest - hard course - 50 miles - 12 hours
Dirty Girls - hard course - 100 miles - 33.5 hours (2.5 hour sleep) so 31 hours
Kingston - 6 hour timed - 1km easy looped course - 39 miles
Sulphur Springs - medium course - 50 miles - 9 hours
So what can I realistically expect on this course? If you look at Kingston I should be able to do 120 miles easily. Not going to happen. Look at Sulphur and again I should be able to do over 100 without much problem.
I'll tell you that I'm aiming for 100 miles. I think that is realistic and achievable. If I can get over 110 I'd be really really pleased but I think it will be somewhere between the two so that's my 'guess'.
Well, that's all I have for you now. I'll have my post-race blog up as soon as possible. It will go something like "I ran the first 400 meter lap. . . and then I did it again another 400 times!" THE END.
Wish me luck and good luck to all of you - thanks for visiting again.
POST RACE REPORT
I may have to stop these pre-race predictions. They kind of have a habit of coming back and biting me in the ass. What did I say? 100 miles? Try again Alex. All I can say is I'm glad it was not a 100 mile race or I'd be facing my second 100 mile DNF this year. I'm afraid I only managed 52 miles (good for fourth last place). I managed 50 miles in the same time as the Hali race, in 11 hours 56 minutes and was intending on quitting at that point but we were just about to do the turn-around on the track and I didn't want to inform my lap counter when it gets confusing out there so I trudged on for another 2 miles. Trudged? Actually, scratch that. I was not trudging, I was walking. I walked for so many laps I lost track. The thought of walking 11.5 more hours with an occasional burst of blistering 4 miles an hour just kind of deflated me.
How do I feel about my race. For myself I'm frustrated on this one; more so than Hali. I mean what excuse can you have on a completely flat surface? How could I run 50 miles in exactly the same time as I did on a hilly, hard course? It sounds like a no-brainer - flat surface, indoor, controlled environment - of course I'd be faster. . . 208 laps around a 400 meter track. I remember saying earlier that I was concerned about the track being spongy. No worries there. It may not feel like concrete but it's pretty damn hard. My usual problems surfaced with the right heel pad, feeling like somebody pounding on me. The Achilles tendons gave me grief, my hip gave me grief, my shoes gave me grief and my damn watch decided to stop working on the trip up and didn't give me any grief at all!
This race was a total unmitigated disaster for me. I did, however, get to see poetry in motion! I was privileged, as was every other runner there, to witness an American 100 mile record get shattered. Jon Olsen was the first American to run 100 miles under 12 hours - in 11 hours 59 minutes. His first 50 miles was in 5:58 and the second in 6:01. I think someone wrote that he ran 7:11 minutes/mile for 100 miles. Let me just say that there were 2 races going on. His race any everybody else's. He was at a completely different level of running than the second or third fastest person there. Even when we were all fresh he was lapping us in perhaps every 2-3 laps. When I got tired and began walking almost every lap he was coming by me. He is tall and lean and he runs so lightly it's more like he's springing. I know it's a bullshit expression to say he made it look effortless because I'm sure if you asked him he'd say he was in pain, but truly as he zipped by he looked like he could have carried on at that pace indefinitely. I shook his hand after and told him how inspiring he was and he asked about my race and he was very humble. I liked him. He flew in from California. It was really amazing to be able to watch someone of his caliber over the entirety of a race rather than in a big city marathon where you might watch the lead runners fly by and that's it. His wife was there helping/supporting him all the way. She was handing him whatever he needed and had to be on her toes - he flew by so quick there is a real knack to handing off liquids or foods without spilling or it flying out of her hands. You can read his blog report here. [BLOG]
We were informed by the race director about the inside track rule, and that it was meant for fast runners and to keep it clear and if someone calls out 'track' it means for you to get out of the way. Most runners were good about this but there were 2-3 runners, not fast, who I constantly saw hogging the inside lane. It annoyed me to think of Jon who constantly had to call out 'track'. Some moron made some stupid comment (he was one of the lane hogs) that the straight-away is a place where you can run wherever you like.
Well, let me start at the beginning. . .
I left the house at 9:45am on Friday and it was a perfect day, sunny and warm. I had a fairly restful sleep and set the odometer and set my wrist watch and off I went. Within 10 minutes my watch starts beeping at me and driving I couldn't really deal with it so pushed a number of buttons but it kept making beeping noises. Finally I got a look and it informed me of a sensor problem so I opened the glove compartment and chucked it in there, hearing the occasional muffled BEEEP over the next 9 hours. Not an auspicious start.
Did I just say 9 hours! From my house to Ottawa should take about 5 - 5.5 hours and it was all going swimmingly until Brockville. At Brockville the roadside signs cheerfully told us that the East bound 401 was closed at Brockville. I don't have a GPS and I am not familiar with the roads in that part of Ontario and while the traffic was steady, it was not bumper to bumper so I figured they would have an alternate route bypassing that section of the 401 and we'd be underway in no time. WRONGGGGGGGGG. By the end of that fiasco I was completely stressed and pissed off. You know what it's like in a traffic jam. The end will be just over the next rise - the traffic will begin to flow again, anything ! ! ! So eventually, after about 2 hours of perhaps getting 5 miles along, I got the opportunity to take a left hand turn. I was trying to get north and east to hit Highway 416 which takes you straight into Ottawa. So myself and the car behind me take the gamble and off we go and things are going well and we get to a right hand turn a few miles further up and I decide to take it, hoping it will be a country lane which will keep me going east until I can hit the 416. After about 2 miles we hit another traffic jam and it is slow again but at least moving. I get to a 'major' intersection and am faced with heading South from where I came (DON'T DO IT!), an East which has traffic and is slow (DON'T DO IT!), a North, which is flowing well and hell, I need to get moving North and if I stand still another moment I'm going to experience a melt-down, so North it is.
Off I toodle-loo and begin my trek North and I pull onto the hard shoulder just to see on my big map where I might be and it appears this road will take me to Smiths Falls which will eventually get me to Ottawa. Thank goodness! I get to the Dome at 6:15PM. I was a very unhappy and sore and stiff bunny and I made my way inside to get my first sight of the dome. Some people were already there chowing down on the dinner and I saw Cameron Lutley but I just wanted to sit down and eat so apologies if I sounded a bit dismissive. Cameron is a really nice guy and a very good runner. He won the Kingston 6 hour race. I sat down next to Helen Malmburg and fortunately she had my two crates with my drop bags from Hali which was a relief considering how the trip was going so far. I had some vegetarian lasagna and some salad ingredients and a drink but the real treat was the rhubarb crumble. Whoever made that I thank you! Yum.
|Various tents and tables/chairs/coolers with all the gear we ultra runners need.|
|Straight-away leading to the counter table. In the middle was a full size soccer pitch|
|Drinks table with a choice of water, coke, ginger ale or some weird honey kind of drink|
I set up my tent outside right in front of my car beside a building and about 100 feet from the Dome entrance. At the time I didn't notice I had set it up directly beneath a light pole so I slept bathed in light. Oh well. It was cool but not uncomfortable and I actually prefer it being cooler. When I went to bed at about 9:30pm there were no other tents outside. Unfortunately you were not allowed to sleep inside the dome. Some people had set their tents up to use it as a place to crash or chill out over the course of the race. Some people had brought their spouses or children so over 24 hours this would be a great place to rest for them.
The following morning I got up at 5:30am, ate a banana and got out of my tent which was now covered in dew. I saw one other tent set up and of course Gino and Karin's palatial motor-home. I can't say I had a brilliant sleep. I could hear the constant hum of generators meant for keeping the dome inflated and also felt the ground beneath me vibrating. I don't know what that was from but it stopped at around 12:00pm.
I left the tent standing and figured I'd use it to sleep in after the 24 hours were up. After dinner I blew up a second air mattress and hauled it inside the dome. It was my first time in one and I didn't realize it is pressurized. There were two entrances inside at each corner and there were revolving doors like at some airports. Adjacent to those swinging doors was another door for bringing in larger items. You were supposed to have someone open the second door on the other side, then close the door and then they open the door on your side. I got my air mattress inside and went to push the other door but the first door was not closed yet and there was a huge WHOOSH of air like being in a wind tunnel. Ooops.
I had almost all my items inside from the previous night and just took one crate inside and set up my gels and various things I'd need. I ate my cereal and relaxed, waiting for the chance to pick up my bib and meet my counter. We were due to do this 15 minutes before the start. Of course I'd had a chance by then to see Gino and Karin, Kimberley and Richard Takata who had driven up together. Also Cameron Lutley and Patrick Campbell and Helen and of course Ron Gehl and his wife Barbara. The night before I met Hans Maier, a 75 year old who is very sprightly and has a sparking mischievous gleam in his eyes. His Nephew I think it was who I believe was called Erik was doing the 6 hour race on his own. Erik was 16! He had done the 6-hour relay in Kingston earlier in the year. Kudos to you and keep it up!
|Gino and Karin - nice people and really good runners. |
Both are going to win his/hers for the overall OUS standings!
|Hans Maier - 75 years young!|
|To infinity - and beyond! Dude - get a bloody hair cut - and tuck your ass back in those skimpy shorts! And there is Kim - one lady on the course thought we were brother and sister.|
|Another nice guy - Richard Takata|
|My table and chair and air mattress behind|
|One 'tackle box'of goodies owned by Richard Takata! Between his crates and Kimberley's - they need a bigger van I think! Still, better organised than my zip-lock bags and very handy.|
As I was waiting for the start, this tall guy set up his chair and items next to me and his name was Charles. He was friendly but seemed a bit awkward but we had a nice talk and his thing was road running and he'd done this track race a few years in a row. He and his wife were staying with in-laws in Ottawa and his wife didn't really have any interest in his running which is a shame. Unfortunately Charles had a bad day and pulled out about 2-3 hours before I called it a day but I wished him well.
I moseyed over to the tables and got my bib which was kind of awkward. There were two bibs, both large - one had your name in a particular color which was useful for the lap counters to identify their particular runners - and taped beneath that was your running number. I believe there was a 'back-up' of other counters along the track inputting your laps on a computer but I could be wrong. The bib was awkward to put on and I believe some people had wanted to switch over to chip timing. It's a hard call. It really is a lovely race and what partially makes it special is the personal attention of the race director, the cult members and the counters who help and support you. This year I think was their biggest entry field so far and I think it's possible some laps may have been missed for some runners. I believe there might have been a discrepancy with mine on a few laps so they were having to double check with the computer people versus the lap counter. It didn't make much difference to me in the end as I pulled out early but I'd be pissed if I'd run further and not been credited for my laps so I don't know the solution as the race gets more popular. It is very difficult for the counters when a slew of runners come by in the early laps and we are all running relatively quickly.
|My counter was Prataya and then two others took over during the 12 hours I ran. See the bibs and counting cards they used|
|Various runners getting their bibs and meeting their counters - the guy on the right is Jon who beat the American 100 mile track record in 11 hours 58 minutes!|
|My good luck charm with mega sized bib|
The race director was standing on the other side of the track from the counters and was yelling out our names to the counters. I think he must have been hoarse by the end - but he was instrumental to helping us and the counters over the time when runners were more bunched together. It was very frustrating when SOME runners would stop at the tables and have conversations with their counters, blocking their view and making it difficult to know if you'd been seen. A few times I had to really wave and was unsure if I had been counted. I always made a point of waiting to ask any questions when we were spread out and I didn't go right up to the table so they still had good visibility. They changed places over the course of the race as people needed bathroom breaks or perhaps after 6 hour stints. Some counters were better than others. One guy was excellent in my opinion and I really knew he had marked me and that he'd seen me. One other seemed like she was almost looking through you and it was not registering and I had to wave and try to get her to make eye contact. She got better later on but I had doubts initially. Saying that, they were all excellent and it is a huge commitment they make. It's an ultra event for them also. They don't only tick you off on the sheet but once things spread out are supposed to input your time for that particular lap so it takes allot of mental agility over the hours.
The race director had us line up and some photos were taken but it was not organised this time so that everybody could be seen. There were just too many of us. A few moments before the start we all got silent and reflected on the journey we were about to face and the counter informed us he was ready and the director counted down 5,4,3,2,1, GO . . .
Obviously I can't remember, nor would you want to hear, about my 208 laps so I can only highlight the, well, er, highlights!
Highs and Lows
We all started off at what felt like a comfortable pace but I did know within the first 30 laps or so that we had picked it up and were being a bit silly with our pacing. Karin mentioned it to me and yelled out that we were all being asses. ha ha. She was right. There was the usual light-hearted banter, the usual story-telling and you would chat with someone for awhile, then pass them or they you. You waved to your counter, went to your table or chair as you needed or grabbed some nibbles from the race table. The temperature in the dome was a bit warm and it did feel a bit 'close' at some points through the day and looking through the emergency doors it was bright and sunny and hot outside. At the far end of the track there were various things laying about and some people had hidden buckets or pee bottles so they didn't have to make the journey to the 'official' toilets. I had intended on doing something similar but in the end I was grateful for the extra few seconds it took to get a change of scenery.
There were big garbage cans dotted around the entire track which was useful if you were munching on an orange slice or had a plate of food and were walking - as happened 12 hours later. Unfortunately I needed to visit those garbage cans twice for a different reason. I had my usual stomach upset around 4 hours into the race and had to race to one of them. I didn't like to but there was nothing else for it and I felt sorry for the people having to witness my upheaval. I think news got to the race director or he saw me and asked me several times if I was OK. Thanks for your concern. He was often seen walking around the track, wishing people well, making sure everything was good. Fortunately the second time nobody commented and I just carried on. I didn't seem to have any bloating or water retention issues this time - my fingers remained finger shaped.
I did go through a really bad spot and the medical stand which happened to be squeezed right next to me suggested I take some Dulce (dried seaweed) to get my color back. Also, after I did the dumpster dive, I think Jon (the running machine) told me to get some salt into me. He encouraged allot of runners himself. Well, I did try the Dulce and I think it did a better job of revitalizing me than the S-Caps so I'll definitely be looking to get some of this stuff again.
Over the following hours we got to see the start of the 12 and 6 hour races which made the track even more crowded but it injected fresh energy to the race. My fellow runner Jack Kilislian ran the 6 hour and he had an awesome race (41 miles). He never wears a shirt and is a really nice guy. He's down to earth and has a good sense of humor and he was hurting near the end and could see the strain in his face and body but he pushed for every lap and I was doing my best to encourage him. I had no idea how he'd done although if I'd looked more often at the HUGE leaders boards for the 6,12 and 24 hour races I would have had an idea. Regardless of my inattention, he held a beautiful trophy after the 6 hour awards ceremony. He placed first! Well done Jack!
Several times through the race I had a chance to chat with Cameron Lutley. His friends and people I just met this year and like very much were at an American 106 mile race called the Mogollon Monster 100 I had a look and it looks pretty damn tough. I think there is a 36 hour cut-off time and 23,000 feet of climbing so it is no walk in the park. They are Heather Lightfoot and Dan Lightfoot. She was racing and Dan was going to be pacer and support for her. Whenever I started to feel wimpy I tried to think of them. I hope she did well. Dan sent me a text asking how I got on at Ottawa but I wish he'd said how she did. Hers was a far harder race. When she posts her blog I'll post a link and you can read all about it if you'd like. It will probably (well, definitely) make more interesting reading than this rambling report. ha ha. Hey, how interesting can I make a 208 lap journey around a race track sound? Here is her blog report [blog]
There was a really nice chap called Narcisse I believe. He lives in Ottawa and in previous years had volunteered at this race in many capacities and wanted to do the 24 hour race one day. This was his year. I believe in previous years he had done the 12 hour one. His wife was helping in the kitchen and his little 4 year old daughter was a real sweetheart and her and her new-found friends were all playing on the huge mats that are used for pole-vaulting. He was down-to-earth and had a very positive attitude. He was humbled by the runners he saw over the years running through pain but with determination. It was a pleasure to meet with and talk with you.
I also stopped and chatted with Erik who at 16 was the youngest runner there doing the 6 hour race. His head lolled to the side and you could see he was really feeling it but I did my best to lift his spirits and tell him how remarkable he was and to keep at it and he'd achieve his goal. I'm sure he would have. Wow. What the heck was I doing at 16?
I only peed once in the first 5 hours and once more over the following hours until I stopped at 12.5 hours. I was probably dehydrated but it's not unusual for me not to pee for hours and while it was colored there were no signs I was in difficulty. I tried to take S-Caps and gels regularly but as is usual I get tired and forget. I was just nibbling on orange slices or watermelon and occasionally drinking some Hammer gels. I tried some Perpetuem but forgot after a while and thought maybe it was causing some of my stomach upset. I probably was not getting anywhere near enough food. I didn't think the selection was very good for solid food. Occasionally they put out some potato wedges but they didn't last long although I enjoyed those.
The big problem for me on this race were my feet. I have never changed shoes and socks as much as I did in this race. I started with Injinji toe socks and my lighter trail shoes with heel inserts but still my heel felt pounded and then my baby toes started feeling crushed and getting hot so I took off the toe socks and switched to regular ones. That helped the toes but didn't do much for the heel. I then tried a new pair of socks with my heavier but more padded trail shoes which are more roomy. They gave my heels some relief but I noticed a hot spot developing in an unusual place for me which was below the toes in the middle. At first when I took off the socks to check it was a fairly small blister and I tried to put on a Spenco second skin and some Kinesio tape over that but I think it just aggravated things.
Whenever I came around and thought about having the medical team deal with it they had their hands full with other runners doing massages or dealing with feet or electrolyte problems so I just put it off until I was in pain just walking. When I had a look after the race the little blister had grown to one that was probably 3-4 inches long. I think the trapped liquid had pushed itself further and further along the underside of the foot. Popping it may have helped but I think unless it was dealt with properly it would have resurfaced. Blisters really can end races and I would recommend in a really long race dealing with them ASAP and not ignoring them. I told the medical lady I wanted to get to 50 miles and then would have her look at it but as I got closer to 50 miles it stopped hurting as much and as I knew I was going to call it a day shortly I decided to just get on with things.
|Nice perfectly formed blister. I didn't enjoy running on it much|
I don't know at what point I knew I was going to quit - probably somewhere around 65km. I decided 50 miles would be my goal and damn but those final km's seemed to just crawl by. As I said, I was walking huge amounts and sometimes some of the friends or runners that had finished their 6 hour races tried to encourage me which helped getting me running 1/2 a lap or maybe a lap sometimes but eventually I was back to a walk. As I approached 50 miles I knew I had two laps remaining and looking at the giant digital wall clock I had 4 minutes to get those 2 laps in to try to beat the Hali 50 mile time (11 hours 55 minutes) so I started running like a crazy person and was flying around the track. I'm sure everybody was wondering what the hell I was doing. Unfortunately I think I was out by a minute but it felt fun while it lasted and I just ignored the pain. I wish I could have done that for another 11.5 hours! ha ha. Once things fell apart I found myself sitting down in my chair quite often to change shoes or just chill for 4 minutes since walking seemed like hard work by that point.
My table had been encroached upon over the hours and with the medical people beside me there were a few water bottles and plates of nibbles on my table which kind of irked me but after my race was over when I was back from a shower and laying on my air mattress I was kinda pissed to see a 10 year old butterball of a girl dipping into my bloody potato chips. Goodness knows how often she'd been doing this but I'd seen her with all sorts of junk food over the 12 hours and I was like, maybe you should be out there running laps instead of eating as much crap as you can cram into your face. I'm just surprised the 2 chocolate bars were still there.
When I got to 108 laps or 52 miles I went over to my counter and told her I was retiring and thanked her and all the other counters there for their dedication. As this was a timed event rather than a distance race, I believe I am due the certificate and a medal but honestly at the time I didn't give a rats ass about this - and still don't although it would be nice to have the certificate in case I decide to give it another go some year. I didn't finish in my minds eye so don't feel I really deserve the medal but I gave it what I had and yes, I probably could have gone on for another few hours but I don't want to just walk so I didn't see the point.
I hobbled into the showers and had a BEAUTIFUL 20 minute hot shower. What a relief. After that I came and lay down on my air mattress which had just about deflated. I packed up my stuff - very slowly - and packed the car. I could have crashed in the dome as others were doing but didn't want to feel shit watching others still running so went to my tent and at 9:30pm crashed. I was going to get up at midnight and start the drive home but only woke at 1:00am. I got started and the roads were dead which was a relief. There were some fog banks but it felt like a relief to be heading home and not having the traffic that I faced on the outward journey. I passed a number of roadside signs for MacDonald's or Tim Horton's or Subway and every time I saw one of those my stomach growled and I had serious hunger pangs and had a huge craving for a MacDonalds'. I NEVER have MacDonald's but at the next exit sign for one I got off. I first got some gas and there was an attached burger joint but it HAD TO BE MACDONALD'S. I asked the guy if I was close and he said another 6 minutes down the road so off I went. Ohhhhh I was looking forward to that Big Mac or Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Hell, I might even have two. And a large fries to go with it! So I find the place and park and try the doors but no entrance after 12pm and have to use the drive-through. So I jump in the car and drive around and I'm told their systems are down and I should try the MacDonald's at such and such location. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! You have no idea how pissed I was. I'm literally starving by this point and I've got it in my head about this damn MacDonald's and they just dashed my hopes. When the young guy popped his head out the window to give me directions I almost pulled him out and was going to start stomping on him!
Back I go and totally forgot his instructions and ended up back at the gas station and went in and had a burger and fries and it was shit - probably just like MacDonald's would have been - but I got some meat in my ravenous belly and I felt satisfied for the moment. I went off driving again and within 30 minutes I'm beginning to feel I can't drive anymore - exhaustion is setting in and my eyesight is getting blurry and I can't concentrate so I pull off at a big service station exit, find the furthest parking spot, adjust some of the crates on the back seat and grab my duvet and crash for 3 hours. When I wake it's about 8:30am and my eyes are taking time to adjust so I get back on the road and get to one of my least favorite sections going past Oshawa right where the 401 begins with all the Collectors and Express lanes. People are going at crazy speeds and I'm one of them, just wanting to get the hell home.
I decide I should probably go to work and help out my business partner in case it's busy. Even if i just sit down in a chair if it's busy I can at least keep an eye on things. I have a retail business and weekends can be very busy and with one person it can be a handful. I've got this craving emptiness again and decide I'm going to stop at a little diner I've never tried before which is right by my work called Butterballs. I go in and I feel like shit and I'm hobbling like an old man and since I didn't cut my hair it probably looks like I'm some sort of crazed Einstein without the 200 IQ! I look at the menu and quickly decide on 3 pancakes with syrup and a separate main order of 2 sunny side up eggs with potato chunks and bacon and French toast! It takes about 12 minutes and people are coming and going and my stomach is making me pay for every minute and then it's here - two large plates with real fattening food! Ohhhhh bliss. I tuck in and before I know it my stomach is saying ENOUGH already. Ok, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I had to leave 2 pancakes but it felt good not to be crazy hungry anymore.
I drive the 2 minutes to work and just as I'm unpacking some stuff from the back of the car at 10am my business partner arrives and tells me I look like shit and to go home. I came in for about 30 minutes to the store anyway - realized I did look like and feel like shit and drove 25 minutes home where I checked some emails and then went to bed for 4 hours. I had pulled out 2 pork chops, 2 chicken breasts and for dinner ate that, plus a corn-on-the-cob and mashed potatoes followed 30 minutes later by a wedge of rhubarb strawberry pie! I had turned into an eating machine!
That's my story and I think it's time to end it. It was not my best effort but it was my 2nd longest run of the season and my fitness is not where it was at the beginning of the season. I think 52 miles is still a long long way and I should not beat myself up too badly but it's not a race I'll be wanting to repeat anytime soon. I thought the track would be easier than it turned out to be and I like to be outside with hills and rain and mud and wind and heat and cold. Sounds crazy. To everybody who stuck it out well done. Thank you for coming back to read my report. I have one race left in this season which is The Vulture Bait 50km run in London, Ontario (2 laps around Fanshaw Reservoir) in about 2-3 weeks.
All the best to all of you who completed your full times at the race. It was wonderful having you there to be with and share time with over the hours. And for all you others that were not there but are runners yourselves, keep up the training, enjoying your races and I hope to meet some of you in the future. Happy running.