Monday, June 10, 2013

Kingston 6 hour Self-transcendental Race Report

As per my last blog entry, I had no sooner signed up for Kingston than I realized running on pavement for 6 hours, 2 weeks before a 50K was an incredibly stupid thing to do...  The mental dialogue went something like:  Wow!  You have reached a new height in Lost-It!  Have you any idea what running on pavement will do to your newly-surgeried knee?  (incensed mental dialogue does not concern itself with grammatical niceties)  Congratulations you dumb-ass computer cowboy, a new low in cerebral connect-the-dots!

Of course I've toned down the wording to protect those of a gentler nature, who might be reading this.  Trepidation is too kind a work for how I felt, lining up at the race.  And then a funny thing happened.  I started slowly (part of the contractual agreement reached during the post-mental dialogue meltdown...) and talked with new and old friends.  The time passed quickly to start.  I got into a rhythm and never pushed hard.  I was having pain-free fun on the course!

The volunteers?  Excellent.  I looked forward to the banter we shared every 880 meters.  A running comedic act with 10 people at the lap counting station and 3-4 at the aid station.  It took the edge off the effort and growing aches as another notch was marked on the way through.  The course had wonderful views of lake Ontario and the old fort Henry buildings and embankments.  The race was well thought out and executed.  At what might have been a low point, circa 3 hours into the race, a piper played up on the high ridge, the music playing out over the lake.

The plan?  Run 32K, then start making some intelligent decisions.  I heard you chuckling.  The strange thing about a 6 hour race is that it is not impossibly long.  I have never run a 12 or 24 hour race, in which you must reach some daunting periods, such as when you say to yourself "I'm damn tired and I've got 19 hours left to run".  In a 6 hour race, 3 hours is the halfway point.  A very reasonable duration in which to run.  The race becomes a game.  I'm tired, but I've only got 45 minutes to the 3 hour mark.  Let's see if I can hold off the first walking break until then.  Later:  Wow!  I'm beat, but in 25 minutes, I will have run without stopping for 4 hours.  I haven't done that since 2010!  And so it went.  About 4 hours in, I asked my lap counter (oh to have a memory...  I only saw his name every 5 minutes for 5 hours...) how many laps.  40.  40 X 880 meters = 36.2K  I had gone way over my "intelligent" milestone, without feeling any knee pain, back pain (although it was starting to act up) and I did not feel like death warmed over.  My "A" plan was to run an ultra.  A really really stupid idea on so many levels it doesn't deserve mentioning.  However, my big dream for post-surgery 2013 is to run an ultra and here I had one in my grasp.  Damn the torpedoes, keep going!

I reached the marathon lap shorty after and decided that running any further was not in my best interest.  I donned a jacket (it was perfect weather for running) and walked a few more laps, for a total of 44K.  A baby ultra at best, but still an ultra and the 2013 goal is complete!

After 50 laps, I chatted with Derrick Spafford and his wife (oh great, another name to remember...) who live nearby, cheering the runners as the race wound down.  Quite the battle between Cameron and Pat, who both ended up with circa 70K on the day!
In retrospect, a perfect day for running and a wonderful event put on by Hladini Wilson, who obviously knows her way around a race!  I ran quite a few laps with Navin, who was new to the Ontario races, but certainly not knew to ultras.  Navin started slowly with me and another fellow whose name escapes me (see memory issues above, in case you have forgotten) then opened it up and was closing in on 60K at the 6 hour mark.

Lee Anne had yet another great race (do I sound a bit annoyed?).  She passed the 54K mark, which is remarkable on its own, but incredible considering she ran 40K the day before.  Lee Anne took it easy the day after the race, by biking 100K.  Do you see what I'm up against?  Someone throw me a perspective bone...

So now I look towards the Niagara 50K.  In what I fervently hope is a taper run, I'm running the Barrie half 6 days before Niagara.  My current mantra is "don't do anything stupid".

Hope it helps!


  1. Congrats and good luck in Niagara.

  2. Was great seeing you at the race. Congrats to you both. Good luck at Niagara.

  3. Thanks for the mention in your column buddy. Kind of you. It was a pleasure meeting you in Kingston, and yet again on Saturday at Niagara. Hope to see you more often. For now, i'll see you in less than two weeks when i hopefully will try to stay vertical for a few hours. Cheers.