Wednesday, July 31, 2013

White River 50 Mile Endurance Run

July 26, 2012 (one year ago from the day before this race) I lost my 69 year old father to cancer.  The year following has been a year of what I think to be a transfer of energy - to quote Albert Einstein "Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another."  Since the day my father passed, the man who taught me everything I know about adventure, I have felt so much more energy and desire to live life to the fullest than ever before.  So I decided to dedicate this race to my Dad - thus there was absolutely no chance I was going to stop.

Completely intimidated prior to the race, yes.  Slept no more than 5 hours total in 48 hours the days before, yes.  Bought 4 new $16.00 pairs of socks and "just in case", yes...and two new pairs of trail runners, yes.  Well the worry was worth nothing as I was taken under the wing of awesome race organizers and the best ~380 co-ultra-marathoners for an absolutely amazing 50 mile running adventure.

I had many words of warning that being my first 50 miler to "power walk" the up hills, run the flats/downhills, eat 250 calories per hour, and pour water over my head at the aid stations; that I did.  The first 28 miles I felt phenomenal, I found myself in a group of chatty veteran ultra-marathoners who had stories to share and kept me from my desire to run the uphills.  I eventually broke free from that pack and began my own adventure, loving the hills as I do.  My epic moment of the day was when I looked at my GPS and saw 13 miles and 5600 ft when I thought to myself (in Canadian terms)...20 kms done and "ONLY" 60 kms to go...I gulped and just kept going....that sums up most of the "race", actually.

The first half (28 miles/~50kms) were really quite a blur.  This race is known for its huge elevation change with 17,400 feet of elevation change and a two huge ~4000 ft climbs - so I spent the majority of that first half conquering the big climb, embracing the 4 miles of mind-blowing views as we ran along on the ridge.  Below is the airstrip were the race started.  Pictures do no justice as usual.

The following portion was all about LOVING the 6 mile downhill section.  My boyfriend was there at Buck Creek with crispy bacon (my request!) at the 28 mile aid station.  I started looking forward to that and got in with about 4 other men and we just embraced the downhill for what it is...downhill has not been my strength up until now but that day I just wanted to let potential energy do its work and blasted down looking forward to the bacon!

The second half....DIFFERENT STORY!!!  Wow....So I got the aid station where moments before  my GI tract started turning sour, so the first thing I said to my boyfriend with a big grin is "feeling great, don't need the bacon! :)".  I had a drop bag full of everything from spare shoes, first aid kit, food, contact lenses - you name it.  But the one thing I needed - my electrolyte saturated drink mix....NO WHERE TO BE FOUND.  I have no idea how I wasted so much time looking for it but I was at that aid station for 13 minutes!!!  Brain - not functional clearly.

Regardless I set on my way and the next 2 hours or so I stayed in that exact poor head space - I was obsessed over the fact that my GI tract was starting to defy me, my bladder was full, I had another mountain to climb, and my feet were starting to ache, and that my GPS had decided to lock it's buttons??! so I had no ability to pace, really didn't matter anyway.  So my cure was to get myself another km under my belt and adventure off course and find an outhouse, no care in the world about my time, just wanted that good ol' port-a-potty.

Back on track my next obsession was to find the "perfect" walking stick to conquer the next big climb....thank god for the random runner who ran with me for a while and shouted out to me that I was such an "awesome climber"... (regardless of the lie, thank you to whoever that was because in 2 words got me out of my slumber and I set on my way back in a relatively good head space).  Finally nearing the top of the second big climb the sun was glaring and Glenn Tachiyama was there with his camera, sad to say I did not have the energy to smile or even swing my arms at that point!
The following was 6 miles down a gravel road.  This re-upset my GI tract yet again but thanks again to another veteran runner who was 60 years old (yes 60!) and had ran 50 odd ultras got me down to the "Skookum flats" (6 miles of beautiful "flat-ish" trails).  Once on the flat I realized how blistered my feet were so I made another poor decision to sit on a rock and take a look at my feet - BAD IDEA!!! Thanks to my laughing boyfriend who peered out of the bush and gave me that look like "come on just get those shoes back on and finish strong".  That I did.
My precious cheat sheet a made up the days before - electrolyte tablets included!!

Fun day, so fun.  During the moments, I said there is absolutely no way I am doing this again.  5 days later, legs are recovered, toe blisters are still challenging me but I have already signed up for another race (well its only 34 kms and is in Ontario, but its a start).  So fun!

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