Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Limberlost Challenge Race Report

Okay, these RR's are coming fast and furious.  I will attempt to make this one brief, although it was supposed to be a simple race strategy and turned dark and ugly on the second loop...

Rare for me is foresight to plan a break in what is turning out to be a hectic race year.  I had hoped to run 50K at Laura Secord, but after 3 - 50+K races every other weekend, I needed a break, so I ran 28K at TLC (Limberlost).  Neil Jefferson is turning out to be one of the more competent race directors and his race is a pleasure to attend.  It helps to have a course that is incredible to run.  Beautiful scenery, challenging terrain and one of the warmest race venues in Canada.

The plan was simple.  Start fast and run tired on the second loop.  This was in preparation for my destination race, 12 hours at Dirty Girls.  The "destination" part is a bit of humour, as the DG race site is a 10 minute drive from home.  Ah humour!  They say I've lost it, but I still got it!

I fully embraced the first part of my race strategy, running at such a frenetic pace that even though I slowed considerably for the second half of the first loop, I still clocked a 1:41, for 14K.  Aside from the Duntroon Stayner 8K race (which turned south during the stagger back to Duntroon) I have not run far after speed work in a decade or two.  6K into my second loop (20K at TLC) I was having doubts that I could continue running.  My legs were trashed, my mind was whitewash and the gas tank had been on empty for about an hour...

I grasped the opportunity to focus on repair (to my legs) and try to salvage my race.  Now running at a pace that was marginally superior to a crawl, I strove to recover.  And I think recovery was happening!  I was not markedly faster, but I was no longer craving the desire to DNF.  Then I slipped on one of the numerous muddy sections and went down.  Hamstrings on both legs started cramping and I tore a quad.  Standing up took 40 seconds.  I could no longer run uphill or downhill.  I was facing a 7K lurch to the finish.

In the back of my mind was this totally unreasonable voice that was (smirking) calmly suggesting that I had very successfully accomplished my goal of running on tired legs.  I was not running on tired legs; I was running on trashed unstable legs.  Triage continued.

For 4K, I applied everything I knew about recovering.  I am not sure if the application was successful, or that I simpler grew tired of walking, but at 25K, I set out on what would have to be considered an actual run, and continued to the finish line.  First loop was 1:41 and the second loop took 2:11, for a time of 3:52:29.  Ouch!

Strangely, I was both disappointed with my time and pleased with upholding my goal.  I am hoping that it is 6-7 hours into DG before I feel as bad as I did at the 20K mark in TLC.  Perhaps I am being optimistic, and I have never run a 12 hour race before, so this feeling of hope might be supreme naivety, but one can only hope.

Hope to see you at DG!

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