Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Canlake 50K Race Report

To start, there is a humorous side to statistics, especially when applied to a small audience blog such as mine.  Currently there are almost as many people that have viewed my blog from the Ukraine, as the USA.  And both countries are not far behind Canada!  I have seen China be the #1 country viewing my blog, although this doesn't surprise me.  Let's say that 0.01% of the Chinese search on a topical keyword that I wrote in my blog, and 10% drill down far enough to "view" my blog.  That would be 13,000 hits!

I always wondered what would happen if I deliberately added keywords such as "Rob Ford party pictures" or "George Clooney wedding pictures".  Hmm.  I guess I just did!  I'll let you know if there is some gargantuan hit. Probably Rob and George are going to phone and ask me to cease and desist, again.

One more item before the Canlake 50 RR, which is totally about running (yes, amen).  There are 30,000,000,000 lady bugs (okay, the Japanese beetle thingy - whatever) outside my house as I type.  It is 2:00 PM and I should be chopping wood, but I spent the morning cutting trees up at the property and I am dead tired.  My excuse for delaying is that I should not open a door.  Someone should write a horror novel about lady bugs.

Canandaigua Lake 50


The Canlake 50 is a 50K and 50M race.  The 50M route follows paved roads around the Canandaigua Lake.  I think I know where they obtained the race name.  The 50K starts at about the 30K point of the 50M race.  The race is very well organized and friendly to newbies, those who want pacers and/or crew.  There is a pre-race pasta meal as well as a post-race sandwich.

Be warned; there are hills.  Recall who is writing this!  On the 50M, there are 4 major climbs, with impressively steep descents.  Lee Anne's time was slower than her 50M at Sulphur Springs (a trail race), so Canlake 50 is not a good course to break your PB.  The hills on the 50K are less pronounced, but expect a couple of walking breaks...

The scenery is epic, with low mountains (big hills?) surrounding the course resplendent in fall colours.  The lake is charming and provides a wonderful backdrop to the mountains.  The aid stations have typical food for short ultras (no cooking facilities normally found at 24/48/72 hour races) and were well stocked.  I have to admit that I partook of their gels, as they were readily available at most stations and can be expensive!

Lee Anne's Race:

Not much to talk about.  Her plan was to use the 50M as a training run 4 weeks before her 100 mile race.  I had asked her to push medium-hard on the first 50K, then back it off for the last 30K.  The idea was to train her legs to run "sore" for 30K.  Her target finish time was 11 hours.  At no point was Lee Anne tired or in trouble.  She ran the 50M without incident in 10:44 and had "legs left" at the end.  Well done dear!

Oil Creek 100 was on the same weekend and although I don't have the full story yet, it was particularly hard on many of the Canadian women!  Elise MacGuire was 4th women overall and Dale Draaistra and Ken Niemimaa did very well.  Although Dawn Hamel finished, her knee looks very bad after falling down a cliff.  Maryka Hladki and Jodi Langely were involved in some freak accident involving a UFO.  I could be wrong about this, but both had to drop.  Here is hoping that everyone recovers well and the abductions stop!

Pierre's Race:

The Horror, the Horror

As might be apparent from above, I was very impressed with the race organization and execution.  We received periodic emails with any and all last minute changes and information that needed reiteration.  Having sad that, I don't like road races.  The pavement causes me considerable grief, especially to my knees and ultimately my back.

The plan was very simple.  Without adequate training, I would be running slowly and walking all hills.  Little did I know how slowly I would run and that I would be forced to walk the downhills!

The first 20K was enjoyable as I ran with a fellow from France who worked for Fairmont Hotels.  I just checked the results - we had talked after the race and I am sure he said he finished in 6:14, but cannot find a 50 year old male from BC on the results.  Thus his name escapes me!  Our pace was a bit faster than I would have liked, but slower than 6:00/K, so nothing debilitating.

At 20K, the knee that I had surgery on in 2012 starting making some very strange squeaks.  For those knee surgery aficionados, it was not a "good" squeak, but a "bad" squeak.  Possibly a "very very bad" squeak.  One problematic outcome of knee surgery is that when the knee starts to complain, I really don't know if I should listen, or simply up the Ibuprofen.  I had thoughts that finishing the race might also finish my running career.  Quandary.

The running conditions were ideal.  For running.  I was comfortably cool in shorts and a fall running jacket.  Stopping would have put me into hypothermia.  Again.  I decided to continue to the 25K aid station and see what transpired.  I also did 2 Ibuprofen and started walking the downhills.  Sadly, nothing helped.  The knee continued to complain and I also noted some restriction when moving (bending or straightening) the knee.  Hmm.

At 25K I decided that stopping was the more intelligent choice, then continued running.  I can hear you yelling, but you are too late.  Yes, I ignored the correct decision and yes, I know that you know I didn't start running last week.  Here is my logic:

1.  I didn't want to freeze to death.  This is actually quite low on my wish list.  I equated a DNF with hypothermia.
2.  In the back of my mind, I was wondering if this was my last chance to run 50K.  If my knee is shot, I might as well continue.  Note:  I have not gone for a run since the race.  Although the knee is feeling better, this might still be the case.
3.  I'm an optimist.  If everything was fine, I would be seen as wimping out.  Again.

At about 32K, I was too tired to walk the downhills, so I started running them and walking the uphills.  Due to my breathtakingly slow speed, this did not adversely affect my knees.  However, running on pavement for the first time since Niagara 50K, my back and left ankle injuries kicked in full bore.  Yeehaa!  Let's ride that Ibuprofen!

With more walking breaks, my finishing time was 7:01, 32 minutes slower than my previous PW.

Reflection items:

Experience is not a substitute for training.

Avoid long races on pavement

Avoid races on pavement

Avoid long races (this is likely...)

I should go chop some wood