Monday, December 29, 2008
On the 24th, we took the ferry back home. The roads were crazy and the snow was really coming down. I love when everything turns white, there is nothing more gorgeous. When we arrived home, Peter and I went straight to his Sister's house to enjoy a lobster feast with his entire family (mom,dad,2 sisters/husbands, and 2 children each). It was really nice.
The following day was Christmas day. Peter and I enjoyed a nice relaxing wake up and made tea and opened presents. I was really spoiled this year and if I ever get out ski touring, I am set!!!! Next purchase, ski boots! Peter was really surprised by the trip to Costa Rica I got for him. We are both so excited to go and I cant wait to do some epic runs down there. We went snowshoeing up Seymour in the afternoon and headed off to my Aunt Julie's house for Christmas dinner. Her family hosts it every year and it is always so good and a lot of fun. I found out I am the master at mad Gab, a traditional game we play every year.
The next day I went for a snowy hike up the BCMC with my Aunt Julie. She does it 4-5 times a week when the weather is nice out. It was nice to share that with her. There was soooo much snow!
On the 27th, after an awesome slushy road/trail run, my Gildersleeve family celebrated our annual Dutch Christmas. Traditionally Dutch Christmas is celebrated in the first week of December but we do it whenever we can get the whole family together. I had an uncle and Aunt come all the way from Montreal to be there. It had been a long time since I had seen them last. I have 2 aunts and their families that live in Courtney,Comox on the island. They were all sick and didn't end up making it this year. I was pretty disappointed not to have everyone there but it was fun none the less. We always eat these mini dutch pancakes. I only have them once a year and oh wow they are good. Thanks Sinter Claas and black Peter!
I am back on a training schedule. Me and Pete went for a 2 hour snowshoe up Seymour yesterday. There is nothing that gets my heart rate up so high. It's such a great workout. I guess I will be doing a lot of it until the snow starts to melt away in the local trails.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and happy holidays!
Monday, December 15, 2008
The race takes place on March 14th and is located in Auburn, California. This year it is a Westurn States 100-miler qualifier. If I manage to come top 3 in the female category I get to go!!! My friend Gary Robbins already got in this way with a 50-miler he did in November. I applied to the lottery last year but my name was not selected. Peter is guaranteed a spot in 2010.
Wish me luck!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I had been training all summer in the trails and it was nice to switch it up and train on the road. I must admit, my body didn’t take kindly to the pavement. It had been so spoiled all year with a nice soft surface and I knew it was going to take a lot more prehab to keep me injury free. I started getting massage once a week and did so for about a month and a half. My aunt is a massage therapist so I was fortunate in that regard.
So with NYC Marathon done as a training run and with one expensive hour massage in NYC I felt as ready as I could for this adventure.
The race starts at 4am, which meant Peter (my crew/boyfriend)and I were up at 2:00am and out the door at 2:45am. It was suppose to rain heavily and I decided to put my jacket, headlamp, arm warmers, and heart rate monitor in a back pack and change into it once we got to the start line. I didn’t eat breakfast because I didn’t feel digested from last night’s dinner (whole wheat pasta w/ cherry tomatoes). I think next time I would eat normal pasta as fiber can sometimes take longer to digest. We were about 30 minutes into our 40min drive when I realized I had forgotten my backpack with all my race stuff in it. I was pretty choked because my heart rate (HR) monitor is an essential part of my race plan. I was trying to keep my HR down to ensure I wouldn’t burn out my legs. Getting my HR up to high in the first 5 hours or so would be detrimental to my race. The jacket and arm warmers were important as well. Peter kindly went back and got them for me. This meant that I wouldn’t have race support because there is none on the entire course. Every runner needed to have a crew to carry their fluids and fuel.
We got to downtown Maple Ridge at 3:30am, just in time for the racer and crew briefing. It was such an experience being there with 30 other runners at 4am and all of us wearing reflective vests and headlamps. You had to wear those until it was light out. The race director counted down 3…2…1…and we were off. I always have this beaming smile on my face when the race starts, especially because it’s pitch black and the only light is coming from 30 headlamps. I was taking it slow. A friend of mine named Kerry Ward decided that we were going to run about the same pace and ran with me all the way until the half way point (50km). It was nice to have someone to run and chat with along the way. We would share how we were feeling and talk about our race plan. I got to know his crew a little bit because I’d see them every mile or so taking care of Kerry. Until Peter got back from retrieving my bag from home I had to run with a camelback and a headlamp with a cord extending from it that attaches a battery pack which is stored in my backpack. This headlamp became extremely irritating as I tried to take my bag on and off to get fuel or take off my jacket. I was happy when I saw Peter about an hour and 20 minutes in. It was lightly raining but quite warm. I immediately took off my spandex tights and rocked the spandex shorts I was wearing underneath. Peter gave me a handheld 500ml water bottle to carry like most people and switched my headlamp to a smaller one that clipped to my hat.
As I said earlier I did not eat breakfast and my belly was slowly starting to process everything. I had an empty feeling in my tummy. If you have ever ran with me before when I have an empty stomach, you would know it sounds like there is water jiggling around in there. Usually taking gels helps my stomach jostling and I took 2 pretty quick into the race. Those gels made me have to go to the bathroom. I went twice before I saw Peter. After I saw Peter I went one more time. Right after that I was starving. I needed to eat and when I saw Peter again he gave me ½ a peanut butter and jam bagel, which filled me up nicely. Besides a few road side pee stops (6 in total), I didn’t have to go number 2 again. I was lucky that it was dark out at the start because going to the bathroom with any privacy later in the daylight became increasingly difficult. I was feeling good for legs 1-3. Then my legs started to feel quite heavy and I remember thinking to myself “wow, this is going to be one long hard day”. I also remember thinking “Oh my god, I am only 3.5 hours into this run, how am I going to do 7 more hours”. Nutrition was the key to my success.
I asked Peter to keep track of when and how much I was eating and drinking. I was aiming at taking in about 500ml of water an hour, 2 salt pills an hour, and 200-300 calories an hour. When you are burning over 700 calories an hour, it is imperative to replace some. Peter and I had a great system going. Peter would stop and give me ¼ of a bagel and my handheld water wattle (which was only half full). I would then take a gel about 20-30 minutes later. I would try and finish all of the water in the bottle. Somewhere in there he would also give me my salt pills. Whenever I felt any sort of tightening in the legs I would take an extra salt pill. I really didn’t want to risk cramping, and I never did.
The rain stopped and around 40-50km the sun started to come out and there were patches of blue sky. At one point, Kerry and I ran through a sea of falling leaves. It was really beautiful. Earlier in the race I had Kerry telling me whenever we reached an hour mark (ex. 3 or 4 hour mark). Reaching another hour mark meant we both had to scream out a big “WOO HOO” to celebrate another hour gone by. We were one more hour closer to the finish. When a race is this long, you have to keep it interesting some how. Having a “WOO HOO” is something to look forward to. Around 50km I caught up to another runner I know and have ran a few ultra’s with, Pat Malaviarachchi. He is a great runner and I was on a mission to catch him. As I passed him, his crew told him that he was at the half way (50km) mark, we were both excited. It was here that I started to feel really good. All the discomfort I was feeling in my legs had gone away and I was feeling really strong. The emotional rollercoaster you go through during an ultramarathon is pretty crazy. You may feel absolutely horrible one moment and then an hour later feel completely different. I had people telling me I looked really strong and that I make it “look easy”. Trust me, it is never easy! Hearing people say that though, makes you believe you are feeling strong and motivates you to keep moving.
I was now running by myself and I really enjoyed it. I was just one with the road. I was happy to have an I-Pod to listen to. It gave me something to focus on other than the running. I usually never run with an I-Pod on the trails or in trail races but I knew I would need something to distract me from the consistent straight forward motion.
I was feeling really good up until leg 7 (79km). People who had done this race had warned me about leg 7. It is a hilly section and the last leg is completely flat. I think I would have preferred not knowing how far I had gone. I have this habit of slowing down in the final stages of races, unless I have some sort of incentive. If I know someone is going to pass me (especially a female), then I will keep up the pace to the end. If I am going for a specific time and I am on pace then I will strive to finish well. If my only goal is to finish and I have no chance of anyone catching me or me catching someone else, then I have no motivation to really pick it up in the final stages. At points I thought to myself, “You can go faster Nic” but I really just didn’t want to push it to the limits. I had already been out there for 8 hours and I just wanted it to be over. At that point I could have cared less if I was 20-30 minutes faster. The rain started to come down at stage 7. I was getting really cold. Peter helped me change into my waterproof Mountain Hardware transition jacket and put on new warm gloves.
Eating became increasingly hard as the bagels became harder to chew. Next time I would have made peanut butter and jam sandwiches on regular white wonder bread. They are way easier to eat and go down smooth. I had a few emotional moments as well. One of them was spurred on by hunger. I needed food and Peter was not in sight. I just started to cry and I cried until I saw him a few minutes later when he pulled up. As soon as I ate, I was totally fine. The emotions that come over you in an ultra are so sporadic. I was stoked to get to leg 8, the last leg. I knew it was flat and I was home free. I was going to finish this thing. I started to drink coke but quickly decided I wasn’t really into it. I pretty much stopped eating and just drank water. I am sure that was a poor decision because my pace slowed right down but at the time, if no other ultra runners passed me, I was happy with that. A few of the relay teams passed me in this section and it was neat to see them fly by.
Peter left me with 2 km to go. He wanted to be there at the finish line. Those last 2km were never ending. All I could think to myself was “where the hell is the finish”. Finally I could see it and was overwhelmed with relief. This long journey was finally going to be over. As I came across the bridge where the finish line is, I saw my mom. I didn’t know she was going to be there and that really excited me. I crossed the line, game Peter and mom a hug, and smiled in relief. I was done emotionally and physically. I finished in 9 hours and 31 minutes. I was the 1st place female and 6th overall.
All in all, this was the longest running experience of my life. It was the most mentally challenging event I have ever done. I would not have been able to do it without Peter. If it wasn’t for him being there to change me out of my wet clothes, provide constant words of encouragement, and stay on top of my nutrition, I would not have been able to do this so efficiently. I thought a lot about the last 21km. What can I do differently so that I do not slow down? I think for me, I need to tell myself that I have at least 20 more km than I actually do. That way I will stay strong till the end. I waited for team IF to come in. They were doing an 8 person relay and they ended up winning with team mixed corporate division. I had been trash talking them all week, saying that I was going to beat them and cross the finish line first. I did just that, but I had a 2.5 hour head start!!!
The highlight for most people is the after party. I attempted to make it there but when I went no one I knew was there yet and I gladly went home. I slept all the way home and was happy to crawl back into bed 20hours after I had left. I would recommend this event to anyone, as a relay or as an Ultra. The weather is never perfect but it really is a wonderful course.
Monday, October 27, 2008
It was an early rise to the morning. Peter and I drove to
The course is primarily on forested trails around
You then head into the first serious climb and single track trails to the
After that you run along 3 km of paved road (1 km steep downhill), which takes you back into 10 km of excellent, but somewhat strenuous, undulating horse trails in the provincial park. I was alone for all of this next section. I thought one of the relay teams might catch up to me because the next runner was going to have fresh legs, but I didn’t see anyone. The hills were never too long and I was even able to run many of them. I usually try and conserve energy going uphill but it is a shorter race for me and decided to go a little harder. I was happy once we got back into the trail section which runs all along the lake shore. Here you get a picturesque view of the lake and nice flat finish coming in. I was really happy with my time of 2:37. I had 6 gels along the way and only one bathroom (side of trail) break. My boyfriend Peter had done this race the last 2 years. He wanted to beat his last time and did by 8 minutes, finishing in 2:43!!!!
We stayed around to eat some delicious food and be present for the awards ceremony. Every year the winning man and woman receive a carved wooden walking stick. There is even a hole in the bottom where you can screw in spikes for when you walk in the trail and you can remove it for when you walk on the road. I also received a $10 Starbucks gift card and a metal water bottle for winning my age group. The same participants keep coming back year after year and I can see why. There was great weather, amazing people, great course, and awesome food. What else could you ask for?
I would recommend this race to anyone. If you don’t think you can run for over 2.5 hours I would do it as a relay. You also get a snazzy hoodie!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I had been training for this race for quite some time. I usually don’t trail run much over the winter because of the snow but that didn’t stop me this year. This was my 3rd 50 km run and I was happy to get out onto some new terrain in a different country. Chuckanut 50km
Me and my boyfriend/training partner Peter had ran part of this course a couple of months ago just to get familiar with the trail. I knew that the upcoming section was all uphill and if I was to run it I would completely deplete my legs and struggle the whole rest of the race. My plan was to hold back and power hike until I got to the top. All of the men around me flew right past and surged up the hill. I am very much used to that. I let people get tired running up the hill and pass them once I get to the flats and down hills. The next 1.8 miles consisted of uphill switchbacks. I made sure to keep a steady tempo going up. Once you get to the top, descend by a beautiful lake and follow a narrow path going uphill again and then downhill. I reached aid station number 2 as the 6th place female. Knowing this gave me a little but more of a push because I really wanted to try and catch the top females. For the next 3 miles you ascend up a logging road. Some of it is quite steep. I started the ascent with another guy but he started to run and I continued to power hike. It didn’t take long before he was 20 feet ahead of me doing the same thing. I kept him in sight the entire way up and it didn’t take me long to pass him once we got into the descending trail. Before the descent, I reached Aid station number 3. This station had my drop bag. I gave my camelpak to the volunteer to fill up and changed from a thicker long sleeve shirt into a short sleeve shirt. I don’t sweat a lot and therefore I have a poor cooling system and tend to heat up quickly, which I really dislike. The volunteers were very helpful and after thanking them I was off. Nutrition wise, I had a gel right before the gun went off at the start and I continued to have one every 30 minutes. I only take water as my liquid fuel source and gels as my source of calories. I have had much success with this in the past and it was working well for me today.
This next section was really fun! It was mostly singe track along this scenic ridge trail. I think if it wasn’t so foggy it would have been a bit more scenic but I used my imagination instead. They had all these fun signs up along the trail such as “everyone loves hills” and then 10 feet later “ok…maybe downhills are better” and I also saw one that had a picture of a girl on it that said “you are fast and sleak”. They are good for a little distraction here and there. I passed the 5th and 4th place women during this section and was now in 4th myself. I find it very motivating to be a placing contender. It only drives me to push harder and I really wanted to try my best to catch the 3rd place female. There was a lot of mud at this point. It was almost impossible to dodge so I just accepted having wet and muddy feet. It’s part of the game so you might as well embrace it. I was now running with a group of 3 men. One was a little faster than the others and once we got to a hill he would just surge ahead. It wouldn’t be until the last 2 miles that I could catch up with him. We were now going back up…and up…and up. Don’t get me wrong I like hills because they give me a break from running and my heart rate settles a little bit, but this ascent was relentless. Now I have heard people use that term for many races and never have I said it myself, until now. Just when you thought you were near the top, it would only get steeper and then level off and you would get to run for a minute, only to begin to ascend again. It was so steep in some parts that I began to walk sideways to give my calves a little bit of a break. I finally reached the top and had the pleasure of heading downhill. This is where I get to have a little bit of a break and have some fun. The descent consisted of some muddy switch backs and then spitted you back out onto some logging road. I caught up to quite a few men on this section but hadn’t seen any females yet. The logging road was pretty steep going down and was hard on the knees. After a short while you turn left off the logging road to head back into some non-technical trail. This was just as steep as the logging road but the ground was softer taking some of the load off your knees. Before I got to the bottom of the steep descent I experienced a little bit of gastro intestinal difficulties and had to head to the bushes a couple of times to relieve myself. This is pretty common because my body can only handle so many gels. At that point I had probably had about 8 or so. After dealing with that the trail met back up with the first aid station.
I am very happy with my finish. I ended up being 4th place female and I achieved my goal of a sub 5 hour finish time. Would I do this race again? Of course I would! They are thinking of changing the course for next year which would be nice because there is a lot of flat trail and too much logging road without enough technical trail sections. Living in North Van I get spoiled with how much technical trail running there is here.All in all a great experience and would suggest this well organized race to anyone.
My training partner Peter Watson (manager at North Shore Athletics- they sponsor the event) has done Comfortably Numb ever since it began 5 years ago. It is located in Whistler, B.C and after a few mixed messages on the weather over the last week (and some rain on the drive through Squamish); it turned out to be a very nice day. The race starts at 9am, a little later than most. This allows people commuting from
I agreed to do the race a few months back and had kind of forgotten about it. As I am in the middle of my training I did not taper for it. My training partner and I are on a periodization training program and this was a “down” week in mileage. We used it as a great training tempo run. I have been feeling like I had a cold coming on and was unsure of how I was going to perform today. I really had no intention on racing it but once you get out there, that competitiveness simply takes over.
This race was very challenging in the sense that it was extremely run-able. I have grown accustom to running in the
Once I had passed the lady in 1st, I tried to really push the pace. I did not want her to pass and just focused on getting the next person in front of me. Downhill running has always been my favorite, especially if it is technical. This course was very technical and I had a lot of fun with the footing. There were a lot of open areas with stunning views where I was running across big slabs of rock. It is also a mountain bike trail and there were lots of ladders to run across. The race finishes back down a logging road and you end up at the Spruce Grove Field House (approximately 2km north of
The day started out at 5:45am. I looked out my window at what was to be an amazing day. The race director ordered sun and it was delivered in fine form. I quickly made some oatmeal w/ banana, raisins and honey and put on my Innovative Fitness race gear. My boyfriend Peter came to get my co-worker/ friend Justine and I and we were off to
The race begun at
Last year, I finished 2nd overall in the women’s category. Katrina Driver placed 1st and her husband (Simon Driver) also came 1st in the men’s category (I should note that they both set course records last year = power couple). She happened to be pregnant this year and I knew I had a good chance of winning. I found out last minute that a girl by the name of Ellie Greenwood had signed up. She has won 2 big 50km trail ultra marathons this year (Diez Vista and Dirty Duo) and I knew that she would be a hard one to beat. I was not tapering or peaking for the event and was using it as a hard training day. I am peaking later in July for a 50 mile trail ultra marathon called White River in
After arriving at the start, I did a quick warm-up with Jurgen Watts and Darcy Young, both experienced runners who I have previously run with through the North Shore Athletics and Mountain Madness run clinics. We were cutting it a little close and literally made it back 1 minute before the gun went off. I quickly grabbed my camelback and headed to the front of the pack. I kissed my boyfriend (who was also running) and we were off to the races. The start of the race is a pretty difficult section for me. It is fairly hilly and my heart rate definitely sky rocketed quickly. The last thing I want to do was fatigue my muscles too early because I knew I could dominate the last 4km and wanted to have some gas left for that section. As soon as we got onto flat ground and headed into
I chased down the 3rd place girl and passed her before heading into the Lynn Headwaters. This is a flat tempo section and it is here that I saw the 1st place female up ahead. She was probably a few minutes ahead of me and I was on her tail. We headed down Fisherman’s trail and up Mystery Creek. After a quick power hike up this trail I started my ascent up Powerline Hill. This is a really neat section because Heather Mcdonald, the lady who runs the Mountain Madness trail clinics (I am a volunteer leader for these clinics) makes personalized signs for the clinic members and has them lined up all the way up the hill. A few weeks before the race she had asked everyone in the clinic to tell her their mantras. She then takes these and puts them on signs. It is just a little tool to help runners stay motivated up this grind of a hill.I got passed a couple of times up this hill by a few men who were running it. They must be savage because that is really hard to do. Thirteen switchbacks later I got to the top, screamed “WOOOO” at the top of my lungs in Joy and started the final descent along the Baden Powell heading towards Deep Cove. I passed a few guys heading down and once I hit
After the race I cheered in a lot of the Mountain Madness clinic members and co-workers and customers from Innovative Fitness (Josip, Justine Boulin, Paul Chung, Bob Hardy, Susan & Kim Sollis, Brian Young and Darcy Young). This race was my co-worker, Justine Boulin’s, first trail race. She was in 4th and doing really well until she unfortunately sprained her ankle right near Quarry Rock with 1km to go. My boyfriend Peter stopped to help her and ran ahead to get help. She said a lady came by and gave her a piggy back down the hill. Now that is amazing. Someone takes the time out of their own race to help an injured athlete get back safely. It is really noble and something you don’t see enough but is quite common in the trail running community.
The trail running community is amazing. The people are very friendly, usually a bit older than myself, have a passion for the outdoors and are a little more laid back than the average road runner. There is an unofficial rule that if you fall, you owe a beer to whoever see’s you fall. I have smuggled many celebratory beers that way post race. People always follow through on that one. Trail races take place on the most beautiful mountains and the finish line is usually very scenic. People usually bring their families down, have picnics on the grass, and stick around to cheer everyone on. They are not protected by fence barriers which you see in most road races.
All in all it was an awesome day. Couldn’t have asked for better weather! After congratulating everyone on a great day I headed up to Oliver to cheer on 19 customers and coaches from Innovative Fitness who were participating in the Oliver Half Ironman distance triathlon. I am sure you will here more about that soon…
Peter, his whole family (mom, dad, 2 sisters/husbands, 4 kids, 2 dogs) all stayed at a campground near the start line. It was really great to have them all there for support. It was also nice to have them cook us our pre-race meals, allowing us to solely focus on our respective races. It was definitely a challenge watching them all pass around smores at the campfire the night before the race.
The weather was perfect. It was going to be sunny with cloudy periods with a high of 24°. The race was to start at 6:30am and I was up at 4am to eat breakfast and get all my clothes and gear together. I was really excited for the day but knew it would be a long one. I started to get really excited once we got to the start area. It is there you get to see and chat with other participants and the hype really sets in. People always ask me if I am nervous or excited a few days before the race but it isn’t until I am at the start that I really get giddy. I went for my warm-up and felt awesome and was antsy to run. There were some ladies there that looked very experienced and were carrying only one 500m water bottle with them. I know for myself I need a camelbak hydration pak and a shirt I carry some fuel in. Some of the aid stations are hours apart and I don’t think I could race 50 Miles with a water bottle that small. Where do they put all their fuel? Most of the pro’s use just one water bottle and I always wonder why and question whether I am carrying too much.
The race takes you up and down one mountain and then up and down another mountain. Needless to say there is a lot of climbing and a lot of steep downhill. When you first head out you run about 35 minutes of flat single track trail and then start the ascent to
I approached the halfway mark at 4hrs 30minutes and met Peter’s family at the aid station there. They helped me fill up my Camelbak and threw out my empty GU gel packets and refilled my race jersey with new ones. With their help I was in and out in no time. I was pretty tired at this point and knowing I still had 25 miles and another mountain to go up and down was tough. The next mountain was fairly steep and not as runable as the first. As I started my ascent I caught up to the 4th place woman. She was among the woman at the start line that I thought looked very elite. I remember this conversation this woman was having with another at the start line. She was talking about how she had recently met up with Nikki Kimball for a run a few weeks back. Nikki Kimball is a lady who won this race last year, holds the course record and has won many prestigious ultramarathon competitions throughout her career. This led me to believe she was going to be really fast. Needless to say, I was really pumped when I passed her. I was feeling good going up and I felt like I could keep the pace I was going all day. All of a sudden I was not in the trees and shade anymore and the mountain opened right up. The sun was beaming straight down on me and my black shirt. I drank a lot more water during this section and that seemed to keep me cool. I hardly saw anyone on this climb, maybe 3-4 other people over the next 3 hours. I power hiked quite a lot over the next few hours. If I had not ran a very hard race (Knee Knacker 50km) 2 weeks prior I may have had a bit more gas in the tank and could have ran a few more sections but I did what I could. Once I got to the top of this mountain I jumped for joy. All I had left was 7 miles of logging road down to the base of the mountain and then 6 miles of flatter technical trail back to the start. As I was leaving the aid station another girl, who I had passed previously on the other mountain, was just approaching the aid station. She had clearly caught up and I darted out of that aid station so fast. The 7 miles of logging road was one of the toughest sections in the entire race. It was so extremely hard on my body and I wanted it to end badly. I could feel the pressure in my Achilles tendon upon every step. The hill was steep and I was flying down but the impact was insane. I got to the end of the road in about 50 minutes and having to actually run on flat ground was really tough. You would assume that getting onto a flat section would be heavenly but running takes a lot more energy and mental toughness than propelling yourself down a hill or power hiking up a mountain, especially after 43 miles.
The last section was the most mentally tough. I knew I was almost there but my legs felt very heavy and it took a lot of self talk to push myself. I had to continuously tell myself to ‘pick it up Nic’, ‘you can do this Nic’. I was not the only one struggling, there were a lot of men I was passing who were clearly bonking. At one point a few miles from the end, I saw the girl I had seen at the aid station before the logging road descent. This really made me get into high gear. I did not want to come 5th or get passed. I had worked too hard the entire day and she was not about to pass me in the last 20 minutes. I sucked back one more gel and went as fast as my body would let me. This section never seemed to end and the tiniest hills seemed like giant mountains. I finally hit the road and started my approach to the finish line. Finally, I could see the finish line and all the people cheering me in. I finished in a time of 8hrs 34 minutes. Peter’s family was there to give me big hugs and I was so happy to be done. The sense of accomplishment at that moment was overwhelming. All the months I had spent training and dedicating myself towards this goal had got me to the finish line successfully. The pain of today’s run was completely gone and a feeling of joy overcame me. I sat down, chugged down some chocolate milk and waited to cheer on Peter. He had an awesome race to and shaved 25 minutes off his last time. A lady came up to me a few minutes after I had finished and told me I had the fastest time on that course ever for someone my age (24 years). The woman who won was 42 years old and she set the female course record this year in a time of 7hrs 32 minutes. The 2nd place female is 40 years old and finished 12 minutes later. The 3rd place female was only 3 minutes faster than me and she was 37 years of age. As you get older you start to reach your peak. I like knowing I have a lot to learn and a ways to go until I reach my full potential and it is fun competing against some of the runner’s I read about in magazines. One day I will be the lady on the cover of Trail Runner magazine!
I spent the rest of the afternoon by the campfire, eating smores and drinking some delicious recovery drinks. All in all a fantastic day and I can’t wait for the next adventure. I would like to thank Innovative Fitness and North Shore Athletics for all of their support. My teammates at Innovative Fitness were all very supportive and sent me away this weekend in good spirits.
The Knee Knackering course essentially follows the Baden Powell trail which traverses
I was woken at an alarming 3:45am. The race started at 6am. I like to eat breakfast (plain oatmeal w/ banana and honey) at least 2 hours before. I got my drop bag, camelbak, and post race gear all in order and waited for my training partner Peter to come pick me up. We drove to Deep Cove to meet a friend and he drove us to the start of the race in horseshoe bay. It is much more convenient to have your car at the end of the race instead of having to get a ride back to the start. Most people drive to Deep Cove, leave their car, and take a shuttle bus to the start of the race.
The week of the race I am usually pretty calm, the day before I am really excited, and the morning of I am super nervous. People were coming up to me and asking me what time I was planning on pulling off this year and whether or not I was going to win. All these kinds of questions add unneeded pressure I prefer to focus on other things. The same people come year after year to this event and catching up with everyone is one of my favorite things. Participants are selected based on a lottery format because they only accept 250 runners. The last 2 years I have ran this race, everyone has got in. This year there were so many applicants, that 75 people weren’t allowed in. I knew many of them and it was nice to see that even though they couldn’t run today they were out volunteering or race crewing for someone, providing support all along the way.
I checked my bags and got my spot in the start line. I did not start near the front. The thing about this race is that the first hour and a half are directly up
The next part of the race takes you from the downhill ski area over to the cross country trails. It is a very technical undulating section with lots of rocks and routes, thick fallen logs, and patches of snow. I quite enjoy this section because you have just gone straight up for just over an hour and then straight done into
Nancy Green is the road that takes you to the base of
I was having a pretty good day and my nutrition seemed to be working well. I was having 1 gel approximately every half an hour and washing it down with plain water. I never took any food off the aid stations tables but did stop to refill my camelbak bladder in Lynn Headwaters. The day was starting to get hotter and I was starting to sweat. I have always cramped in this race but today it came sooner than expected. Fortunetly, I had my thermolyte salt tablets in an empty mini m&m’s container. I usually just start taking them when I start to cramp but I think the real trick is to start taking them early (approx. 1 every half hour) to prevent cramping. I must have had 15 within an hour and 10 more the hour after that. Cramping is very debilitating and can make or break you in a race. I was able to calm my cramping but it was an ongoing issue for the rest of the race.
After the Gazebo aid station at the
One of the special things about Knee Knacker is that they have a big banquet at Parkgate Community Centre every year. There they have food catered, drink service and hand out awards and prizing. The banquet allows you catch up with other runners and share your experiences. The top 3 woman and men receive a hand crafted native carving; the top age group winners also receive a free pair of Montrail shoes. I was happy and proud to collect another carving to hang on my wall.
I would highly suggest this race to anyone who loves trail running and is looking for a serious challenge. I truly believe anyone who puts their mind to it can participate because I have seen people from all walks of life doing this event. I hope to see more first timers out next year to experience one of the
Special thanks to all of the volunteers who repeatedly come out year after year to support all of us racers. It truly means a lot to have you out there!!
See you in the trail,