Monday, May 26, 2014

3 Days at the Fair

Perhaps I should call it the weekend from hell.  The only great aspect of the weekend (May 16 - 19) was the race itself.  The RD's and volunteers fully understand that there are people seeking PB's, national and world records.  Their support of the race is truly epic.  They understand how to support multi-day races.

3 Days at the Fair offers 12, 24, 48 and 72 hour races.  Most runners consider 24 hour races "the fringe".  And it is!  Anyone that considers 6 hours of running as the warm-up is not a mainstream, pass-the-salt athlete.  They are wackos.  And someone running 3 days?  Scheduling 2 - 40 minute sleep periods per day?  Certifiable.  I'm usually the last person to judge anyone, but I've been to 2 of these multi-days and whoa!  Certifiable!  Of course Marylou, Maryka, Charlotte et al will now try to lynch me (they have all the tools necessary) but the running community needs to know about this.  How many people do you know who plot a running schedule over 72 hours that results in upwards of 400 kilometres?  I worked at Honda and we made these devices that avoided running such anomalous distances...

The drive to New Jersey was uneventful.  We left Creemore at 05:30 on Thursday (I like to get well into a trip before I actually wake up) and arrived at the race site circa 2:00 PM.  We said hello to a bunch of Canadians, then sought out the hotel.  Friday morning, we picked up our race kits and Lee Anne got ready to run.  Her A goal was to break her age category Canadian record (28:14) for 100 miles.  She was registered in the 48 hour race for the attempt.  I was registered in the 12 hour, with a special starting time of midnight, Friday.  Not my idea.  Lee Anne thought it would be nice for us to run a few laps together every once in a while.  The course was exactly 1 mile, so when you reach 100 loops, you've got 100 miles in.  Lee Anne's race started at 09:00 Friday morning.  So did the rain.  Did it pour?  The area received 2 INCHES of rain in the next 14 hours.  I crewed from 09:00 until midnight.  Everything was wet.  I'm talking 3 inches of water in the tent.  Shelters being blown over, tent pegs flying.  It would have been crazy-fun if it was a short 50K race, or something.  The first 14 hours of a 48 hour race?  Not so much fun...

Lee Anne ran on a "reasonable" schedule, but in retrospect, perhaps a bit slow for attaining 100 miles in 26 hours (the A goal).  But it was hard to put in serious laps with everything so wet.  Dan (Marylou Corino and Maryka Hladka's crew) and I had quite a challenge simply providing dry fare, sage advice and that special humour reserved for floods...

Want to know a funny thing about 100 mile runs?  They take a freakin long time to complete.  During these protracted endeavors, things can go wrong.  They are also long enough that you can address certain issues and revert back to plan.  Think of building a pyramid.  If you exhaust your quarry, it's no big deal to source a new one 2 - 3 years later...

Lee Anne ran into very few issues, even during the monsoon.  Yes, she was not faster than schedule, but not too far behind.  Clockwork comes to mind.  And so it went until midnight, when I started running.  We ran a few laps together, some apart, but after a short time (3 hours) I wasn't able to run with Lee Anne and went back to crewing.  Crewing did not last long!  I felt tired.  Very tired.  I had little sleep the night before (don't forget, up at 05:00 Thursday, little sleep Friday night, a misguided attempt to sleep Friday evening during the monsoon. start running at midnight) but even still, I was overly tired.  Since the aid station was all wet and the tent was under 3 inches of water, I put the seat back in the car and tried to sleep.  From 03:00 Saturday morning, I would get up every 30 minutes to replenish the aid station, then back to the car, the only dry and warm spot around.

At 05:30 Saturday morning, after running without a major stop for 20.5 hours, Lee Anne woke me up in the car.  This was a big surprise to me as I normally don't actually fall asleep when supporting Lee Anne.  Something was wrong - with me!  Something was also wrong with Lee Anne.  She was at 126K and not looking all that good.  Near tears, she blurted out "I don't think I can do this".  With 22 miles to go, the wheels had fallen off.  I tried to provide the encouragement that would entice her to continue, but I also noted that Lee Anne was far from "okay".  She had reached a point where a 2-3 hour rest was mandatory.  Unfortunately, she did not have that luxury if she wanted to break the record.  Dilemma!

We spoke at length about her goals, options and desires.  This was no easy decision, but I did not like how Lee Anne looked and would prefer to see her miss all her goals, rather than incur serious injury / medical issues.  We decided to pull the plug.  In retrospect, I wonder if this had anything to do about how I was feeling.  Something was wrong with me!

I packed up the aid station, tent and supplies while Lee Anne showered.  Almost.  After packing the car, I informed the RD that we would both be stopping, then went to see what was keeping Lee Anne.  She was not at the shower.  I found her back at the car.  She had taken off her running clothes. then passed out naked on the floor of the shower room.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures.  She could not shower, but put on her street clothed and returned to the car.

We then travelled from New Jersey to Niagara-on-the-lake, where we had booked a B&B for 2 nights.  I felt unusually tired during the trip to NOTL.  We arrived, checked into the B&B and I promptly started throwing up.  Did I mention the diarrhea?  Let's make it interesting!  I spent the next 2 days in bed (yes, at the B&B) before I had the strength to get up and drive back home.  Incredible fun eh?

In comparison, this weekend was great.  We biked to Owen Sound to visit with Doug and Joanne Barber (had a great time), then biked back to Creemore.  It almost killed me!

Dig Deep!

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