How Do You Spell D-F-L? - This was a serious contender...
Slow And Steady,
Slow And Steady,
I'm Already At 40km. What's Another 10?
I'd Rather Crawl Than Walk Away Now
Yes, I Do Need To Kiss The Fire Hydrant
A funny thing happened on 1 January 2012. I found myself toeing the "line" at the 19th Annual 2012 Vancouver New Year's Day Fat Ass 50 Run and Freeze Your Fat Ass Swim. Funny because it was 50km. Funny because I hadn't really told all that many people. Funny because it took me almost half a year to really want to enjoy running again.
A bit of a history:
I ran the Vancouver marathon last May and, while my race plan was sound, my result was a huge disappointment. I made it to Hood To Coast with Nuun and had an amazing time, but crashed (physically and emotionally) at the end of that too.
|Fake it till you make it!|
|Not sure I'll ever top this!|
After a while I was really craving a goal. I knew that there was no way I wanted to do a half in October. I wouldn't be prepared. It would be added pressure that I didn't want and added costs that we really couldn't afford. Now the proper thing to have done would have been to sign up for a shorter distance race. There are some good 5km and 10km races later in the fall. However, I have a hard time spending $40+ on a short race. If I want to run for half an hour I can do it by my house for free... Anyways, I digress. I've been thinking about ultras for a while now - participating in a 200 mile relay kind of gets the mind dreaming. The reason the Club Fat Ass event was on my radar is because it's not really a trail ultra. Yes, there are trails, but they aren't too technical and are all within the limits of city parks. I was really familiar with the road portion as well so I didn't feel like I'd get lost.
When I made my decision to run I kept it a secret. A big secret. So much so that I didn't really have anything to blog about. How can you blog about running a lot when you "aren't training for anything right now"? I told a whopping 4 people about my goal; 3 in person and 1 online. I figured the less people knew the less pressure I would feel. And I was right. I found a training program online for another 50km run that was based on time. It seemed much more attainable than one based on mileage. I didn't train as much as I should have (typically me) however, I was able to get in a couple of relatively long runs. I had no illusions as to how I would place in this run. I knew that I would be out of my league and probably come last. Surprisingly, that didn't bother me in the least.
The Big Event:
While I'd love to start the actual run recap with the quintessential "the day of the race dawned bright and early" I can't. It'd be a lie. Yes, it was early, but not so early as to be obnoxious. And it was dark. Thankfully it wasn't pouring rain - which Environment Canada had convinced me it would be. I got up at 6:30am so I could get some breakfast and make sure my stomach wasn't going to revolt on me. My friend, Laurie, was picking me up at 7:40am so we could sign in around 8:30am. Every race should be like this. Seriously. I wasn't nervous. I only felt a little silly in my Team Sparkle skirt, mainly because I was meeting a group of total strangers. There was no pressure. Not from anyone, especially myself.
Once I got out of the trails I was on the part of the route that I was comfortable with. I could stay on the seawall for a few kilometres before I had to take the stairs (later the bane of my existence) up to the Burrard Bridge. If you've been reading for a while you'll know that the bridge was my nemesis during the Vancouver marathon when I had to go over it each way, the second time being at 40km. Thank goodness they changed the route this year and I only have to do it once! Anyways, after the seawall it was through some fancy residential neighbourhoods all the way to the beach. It was nice to zone out running along there - my iPod was on the radio just for noise and I though about how much time Colin and I spent down there when we first met. I got to where I thought the next trail started and it wasn't as far as I expected. I had to call Gina because I wasn't sure if she was meeting me there or not. Unfortunately we missed seeing each other a few kilometres back! I added the .73km here - extra distance is a rite of passage at a CFA event so I wasn't too worried.
|It wasn't quite this sunny, but the view was still nice|
|Pacific Spirit Park trails|
Here's where I should be honest. I probably should have stopped at 25km. My knee was sore. Most likely the changes in terrain and the distance were wearing on my shoes. If I'd had a second pair it would have been nice to have some more cushioning. My quads hurt from the hills/stairs. But the weather was decent - brisk, but not cold, and not raining - and I signed up for 50km. I at least owed it to myself to see how far I could go without taking the easy way out. Time wasn't (never was) a factor so it was simply seeing if I could do it.
Colin kindly reminded me that I probably shouldn't doddle. He was right. I waved goodbye and continued my walk/run back the way I came. As is usually the case, the run out of the park didn't seem as long as the run in. I (kind of) knew where I was going - and I had my trusty directions. I wasn't much of a fan of running on my own, but the headphones were out and I was being attentive. It wasn't dark - yet - so not really a concern. I don't run on my own all that often when it's that solitary. A different experience to be sure. I definitely enjoy running where there's more people or with people I know. At one point I met up with Laurie again which was quite a surprise. I'd asked Colin if she had turned around as expected at the halfway point. He assured me she had, but I hadn't seen her on my way there so I was a little confused. Turned out that she had missed a turn and had to go the long way around. After a quick pitstop - the bonus to an urban race is that there are real bathrooms - we ran together for about 15 minutes before she left me in her dust (with my blessing!). The hill back down was as unfun as it had been on the way up. Usually I'd love it, but my knee was still giving me heck so I was taking it nice and slow. The stairs were no fun going down either and I did sort of a sideways left-foot-down-right-foot-down on each stair. Colin met me at the end of the trail and would have taken pictures, but his battery died. Boo. I dumped some more rocks out of my shoes, grabbed more chips, and told him that I'd see him soon.
Soon, apparently, is relative. I really didn't have that far to go before meeting up with Colin and Gina again. But it seemingly took forever. Wait, it actually took forever! Run, walk, hobble, run, walk, hobble, ru-nope hobble still, run... You get the picture. It didn't help, either, that I was going past concession stands and the smells were taunting me! I was very happy to see my crew. Our friend Dan was there as well, having biked out of downtown, and I jokingly asked if he was there to pace me. He probably would have fallen off of his bike if he'd tried as I was going so slowly! I was especially happy that Colin had my gloves. Why I'd given them away I don't know. It was a short stop. Mostly I figured that if I'd already hit 42km (on my watch) I might as well finish the darn thing. I knew that I could walk the rest of the way if necessary and still finish. When I left them it was a bit of a hill - not much of one, but enough after that amount of time - and my leg just wasn't wanting to work. Every step sent pain up under my left knee cap. I knew that my shoes were done for the day - it was the same thing that happened at Hood To Coast. The foam looks like it's good, but it's like having wooden soles. So I did what any stubborn runner would do and poked around at my knee until it felt "better".
|I might have felt like crap, but at least the views were distracting.|
Again, wasn't this sunny, but not raining either!
|Moon wasn't out, but this was one of the last views from the seawall|
|Lion's Gate Bridge - it actually was this dark, but it's not my picture|
|Colin came out to finish with me|
|Checking my time|
|Proof I actually did finish!|
And then Colin and I went and got the tastiest bacon and cheese hamburgers ever on the way to pick up Spud.
* Club Fat Ass rules:
No Fee. I understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I agree to not whine about how a free CFA Event is organized and promise to enjoy it for what it is rather than grumble about what it is not. I don’t expect a finisher medal, souvenir t-shirt, draw prizes, a loot bag or any other stuff to take home after I finish a CFA Event other than my dirty laundry and, possibly, some bragging rights.
No Aid. I am an experienced endurance athlete so I know how to dress for the weather and to pack what I need to eat and drink. I agree to not whine if I suffer as a result of my screwing up and not being adequately prepared for a CFA Event.
No Wimps. I understand that a CFA Event may be physically and mentally demanding. I agree to suck it up and not whine regardless of how tough a CFA Event might be.