Usually after a race like this I would come home and write a race report right away. But I just don't feel like it this time around. This was one of my very best races ever, but I had to push myself very very hard to get the time that I did. Although I'm ecstatic about my performance, I'm just too tired physically and mentally to really get excited about writing a race report. So here are some random notes.
Course was a 10km loop through the forest, about 50-50 single and double track trail. There were two long uphills, and several very steep downhills. It wasn't terribly technical, but the route had lots of twists and turns, so it was always interesting.
In a fixed time race, the winner is whoever runs the furthest. In the case of this particular race, if two people reach the same distance, the higher placing goes to whoever reached the distance first. Events were 6, 12, and 24 hours long.
At the start of the race I saw a runner with a "Go Vegan!" Organicathlete.org jersey. I didn't get a chance to talk to her, though.
I drank HEED (Hammer Gel's sport drink) for the first 50 or 60 km, then decided that I would never touch the stuff for the rest of my life.
After 9 laps I couldn't eat anything anymore, so I switched to all liquids (water, coke, ginger ale, Red Bull, veggie broth).
The trail was busy for the first 6 hours, almost deserted after 12. On my 13th (?) lap, I didn't see another runner the whole way.
My first lap was 66 minutes. My longest lap was a little over 2 hours. My last lap was about 1 hour 30 minutes.
It started to rain after about an hour. It was pouring rain for about four hours during the day, then eased off in the evening. For most of the night, there was just tree rain.
On my first nighttime lap I heard two animals, probably coyotes, fighting in the forest just off the trail. I heard snarls then one animal yelping in pain. I sprinted the rest of the way to the next aid station.
My calculations got fuzzy the longer I ran, and at around 2 or 3 in the morning I became positive that I wouldn't reach my 160km goal. I am still not sure how, but I convinced myself to continue on anyways. At 140km a friend offered to run with me for the rest of the race, and he helped keep me moving during that low point. At 150km, when light started to appear on the horizon, I realized that I had plenty of time to do my last lap. But I knew that I run better on my own than with a pacer, so I thanked Neil and continued alone.
There were only two aid stations on the course, but they had some of the best volunteers ever. Cameron, a young guy who had signed up for the 24 hour and who usually races all the ultras in Ontario every year, had recently broken his foot and decided to come to the race anyways as a volunteer. He was an enormous help. Liz and Henri at the other aid station were very friendly and on every lap I looked forward to seeing them there.
I ran without music until my last lap, when I put on my "Hard Running" playlist, a bunch of loud, uptempo songs that help me run fast. I turned it up loud enough that I wouldn't hear myself grunt in pain with each step.
I didn't get very many blisters, but I do have one kinda nasty looking blood blister. They didn't slow me down though.
I wore the same outfit the entire race. Didn't change my socks, shoes, hat, shirt, bandana, or shorts the whole 24 hours.
The 6 and 12 hour runners got a post race BBQ with veggie burgers. We got post race oatmeal. And we had to run through the BBQ area when they were eating their burgers and they wouldn't give me one. I know:
I had bought some junk food to gorge on for after the race, but had grossly overestimated my appetite for beer and sweet foods. I still ate a whole bag of Oreos, though.
If someone had told me in April that I would break my 100 mile PR twice in 2008 and go under 24 hours, I would have laughed in their face. Breaking 24 hours for 160km (100 miles) was one of my lifetime ultramarathon goals. I am going to need to take some time to adjust to this and then figure out what I want to do athletically after this. I feel a little adrift. In a good way, but it's still kinda strange.
Three runners tied for distance with 160km, but the other two completed their 16 laps ahead of me, so I technically finished 6th overall.
My friend Ian had a terrific race, finishing second overall with 182.5km.
That's all for now.