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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:16 am 
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Gorilla
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OK, this is going to be part race report, part cautionary tale. Last weekend, my wife Wendy and I ran the Haliburton Forest 100 Miler together. We both finished the race, but at the end Wendy was in very bad shape and had to be checked out at the hospital. We’ve learnt from our mistakes and this won’t happen to us again. If by telling our story I can keep others from making the same errors than I’ll be happy.

Our training this summer was sub-par. And by that I mean we were severely under-trained, Wendy especially. I averaged less than 50km per week for August and July, and Wendy ran even fewer kilometers. But we’ve both done 100 milers before and knew what we were getting into. We didn’t have any time goals for this race, we just wanted to enjoy the forest and have fun spending a day together. HF100 is a double out and back course mostly on forest trails, with some dirt roads.

We packed our drop bags and left Ottawa on Friday afternoon, arriving at Haliburton just before the pre-race supper. At HF100, everyone at the pre-race banquet introduces himself or herself. We were amazed to see the number of first time 100 milers this year; easily over half of the runners were attempting their first 100. After supper, I realized that I had accidentally packed all of our flashlights in our drop bags, so that night and the next morning we had to get ready in our tent by the light of my cell phone. During the night, a strong thunderstorm passed right over top of us, so neither of us got a full night’s sleep.

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At six in the morning, after a cup of tea and some toast, we were off and running. We stayed right at the back of the pack, noticing many of the newbies taking off at a pace far faster than they would be able to maintain. The first few kilometers are on forest roads, followed by a beautiful, technical trail section about 6km long. The first 10 miles of the course has five aid stations, but they are much further apart in the later sections. We ate and drank and each station, and I took some pictures with my mini-camera. Things started to get tougher between km 16 and 25, a very hilly and quite rough section of trail, but we were still in good spirits. The following trail was the section that left the biggest impression on Wendy last year; several 100 meters of the trail is made up of overgrown parallel logs, arranged like buried railroad tracks. You need to have your wits about you on this section, as it is very easy to fall and twist something.

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The last 10km to the turn around was fairly flat and non-technical, so we sped up a bit to build a small cushion. The turnaround at 25 miles had a great selection of food, so we ate quite a bit before heading back at a decent pace. The next 20 or so km passed without incident. With 25 km left in the first lap, Wendy started to complain of an upset stomach. We had been taking salt pills and eating lots of salty foods, but at this point her nausea meant that she didn’t want to eat anything. Also, this section in this direction is the most difficult part of the course, and I think that was affecting us. Still, we kept up a good pace before reaching the turnaround in just under 13 hours. We now had nine hours to reach the 75-mile turnaround.

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At the 50-mile turnaround, we met up with a runner who was making her second attempt at the 100-mile distance. She wasn’t feeling good, but we encouraged her to run with us for a while. Although she had to drop out 15 km into the second lap, she put in a really good effort and I think it helped Wendy and I to feel better about our own situation. On our own again, we didn’t talk much through the hilly technical sections since we were aware of the cutoff time approaching. I was feeling fine, but Wendy was clearly getting more and more dehydrated and low on calories. It was tough to get her to drink or eat anything, but I insisted that she take lots of small sips from her water bottle to at least get some liquid.

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At the 75-mile turn around Wendy lay down for a short sleep by the fire. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get her moving again. She was still nauseous, was eating only a little bit, and was having trouble keeping pace. At 4 am passed I knew that we would have to run faster than 12-minute kilometers to reach the finish line in time, a pace that would be tough for Wendy to maintain at this time in the race. Nevertheless, we kept moving. Now on our way back to the start/finish area for the last time, we passed a few other runners who would have to drop. We knew that we were in dead last place, and that if we slowed down at all we wouldn’t make it.

The last 40km are a bit of a blur. I used every ounce of energy I had to run and to keep Wendy running. With about 10 km to go, I had nothing left to keep motivating her. I was amazed at that point when she started taking over, telling us when to run and when to walk and urging us forward. She dug deep and found something that neither of us knew she had. We emerged from the forest onto the dirt road with 5.5km and just over one hour to spare. It was going to be tight. We raced through the last aid stations, stopping only to drop of gear that was weighing us down. As we approached the finish line we saw volunteers and many of the other finishers waiting to cheer us on. Most hadn’t expected us to make it. We crossed the finish line at 29 hours and 55 minutes, only 5 minutes under the official cut-off time.

I felt great at the finish line, but could tell that the last 60km had been really rough on Wendy. I asked some of the volunteers to check her out, and they recognized some signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration. A volunteer who works as a nurse for the local emergency clinic thought that Wendy should be brought in to be checked out. I stayed at the race banquet to pick up our buckles and last place finisher award, the “Lone Wolf” hat, while Wendy was taken to hospital. Her blood work found that her electrolytes were way out of proportion, she was severely dehydrated, and her kidney function was quite low. She ended up spending the night in hospital and was given several bags of IV fluids. The next morning she was stiff and sore but feeling well enough to go home.

We both finished the race and got our buckles, but at too great of a risk to Wendy’s health. We’ve learnt some valuable lessons from this race. 1) If we run a 100 miler together again, we need someone else there to crew and/or pace us. 2) Make absolutely certain that we’re trained enough for the distance. 3) Be more obsessive about taking fluids and food at specific intervals, no more intuitive eating. 4) We are both capable of being extremely stubborn, a double-edged sword that can lead to problems if we’re not careful.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:01 am 
I know its not what you two were expecting but I'm quite impressed with the fact that both of you finished with so little training. Great work and best wished to Wendy :D


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:00 pm 
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Gorilla
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veganpotter wrote:
I know its not what you two were expecting but I'm quite impressed with the fact that both of you finished with so little training. Great work and best wished to Wendy :D


Thanks potter. It definitely wasn't what we were expecting but we are really happy to have finished. But we're not going to let ourselves get into this position again!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:34 pm 
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Gorilla
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I went to teh gym today for the first time since July. :oops: Not that I've been sitting around that whole time, I just haven't worked out with weights since then. I did a pretty modest workout with pullups, rows, deadlifts, DB press, shrugs, and a couple others.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:48 pm 
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I did a short but hard leg workout this morning. Deadlifts, one-legged quad pres, squats, one-legged hamstring curls, and one-legged calf press.

I really want to work on my deadlift over the next couple months. In June I was lifting close to my body weight, but I've lowered the weight since I haven't been working out. I'd like to work towards 300lbs in the next little while. Any suggestions? Techniques that other people have used to gain lots of strength on a lift like this?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:52 pm 
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Gorilla
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I went for a run of about 12km this morning. It was my first run since the 100 miler a couple weeks ago. It felt good, although I was still a bit sore from the workouts earlier in the week.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:34 am 
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Awesome photos! Man, you have a great training log on here! Congrats on your transformation in the Shape-Up Challenge as well. I've been telling others that if only I had your physique I'd do much better as a bodybuilder! :)

Keep up the awesome work man!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:48 pm 
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Gorilla
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robert wrote:
Awesome photos! Man, you have a great training log on here! Congrats on your transformation in the Shape-Up Challenge as well. I've been telling others that if only I had your physique I'd do much better as a bodybuilder! :)

Keep up the awesome work man!


Thanks Robert! I'm getting back in the gym now after a fairly long break, and it feels good. Well, it feels good when I'm working out and then it hurts a bit afterwards. :D

Here are a couple more pics from the 100 mile race:

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 6:06 am 
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Gorilla
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Yesterday I did a short workout at the gym. I had a whole bunch of stuff to do at work later in the day, so I didn't want to push it too hard. The deadlifts are coming along nicely though.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:37 am 
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Today I did an arms workout. Lots of pyramid sets and fun stuff like that. Also a couple sets of 21's on the preacher curls. Very tough.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:48 pm 
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Cool pics, thanks for sharing!
Are you always smiling? :shock: :D

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:57 pm 
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Gorilla
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This morning I did a chest and triceps workout. I've been sick for most of this week, so I haven't been running or working. Tomorrow I'm running a race that was advertised as a "21.5km half marathon". So I don't know exactly how far I'm actually going to be running. Although I haven't trained specifically for this race, it should be fun and hopefully I'll run a decent time.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:48 pm 
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So the race turned out to be a proper half marathon (21.1km). I managed to get a personal best time of 1:47:xx. I'm pretty happy with that, considering that I haven't trained, I ran the 100 miler just four weeks ago, I was feeling sick most of this week, and it was pouring rain and windy during the run this morning. I also came in 19th overall (third in my age group). Now my legs are tired and a bit sore so I'm going to have a nap. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:26 pm 
Hi everyone, I'm back. I realize it's been a long time since I've posted, but I have a whole new set of goals and I'm ready to start achieving them. I'm scheduled to workout with my trainer starting next week, and I've planned out my major races for 2008. Here's what's on the menu:

30km road race in March
100mile trail race in May
100mile trail race in September

Tomorrow I'm going to do my first run since the 100 miler 4 weeks ago. I'm planning to change my diet to healthier selections (I've gotten off track a bit and splurged a few too many times), concentrate on building a strong running base (I was severely under trained for the 100 miler), and work on creating strong muscles to carry me through my races without any injuries.

Although I suffered from dehydration in this year's 100 miler, I managed to survive the race without any injuries to my muscles - something that has never happened before. I seem to be prone to leg injuries and I was very pleased to have finished the race without any problems. During my run training I am planning to spend a lot of time and concentration on figuring out a system of drinking and eating that will keep me energized and hydrated for next year’s races. I know this sounds obvious, but even with all of my experience, this still needs some fine tuning. I’ll keep you updated on my findings as I go.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:34 am 
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You two are such an inspiration, keep up the awesome work, I admire you two.

:)

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