Friday my husband and I cruised down to Vancouver. I love road trips with him. Good chats, good tunes in the car and a quality 4hrs together. We hit the Salomon store in West Vancouver, a food truck for lunch and then back to the hotel to meet the other PACE peeps who were coming in for the race. We had a great pre-race sushi dinner and athletes meeting just before bed.
As for the race itself... I woke up at 4am feeling pretty rough and couldn't go back to sleep. I think some of it was nerves but mostly fatigue. I had a hard time eating breakfast and the first 1.5hrs of the race I couldn't get my legs turning over comfortably or my heart rate down. I made sure to stay positive and not let my start ruin my whole race as I slowly slipped backwards in the pack.
I wanted to look back at my day and really feel like I did my best in terms of staying positive, focused, able to manage my needs and just push on. It can be so easy in a long race to give yourself permission to stay comfortable. To get into a negative head space or the classic (for me anyhow) 'just finish' attitude. And there is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to do your best you need to go into the race with a little more armor on than "just finishing."
I got to run some of the race with my friend Nathan who had a remarkable day out there and I so enjoyed his company. We chatted, sang songs and enjoyed the silent times where we both respected how our efforts didn't allow conversation. I was really proud of Nathan. It's not very often that I get to 'see' my athletes in 'action' out there for long periods of time and I was really inspired by Nathan's determination and drive. This was his 2nd ultra and you would have thought he was on #100. He ran a solid race in just over 6hrs. I am equally proud of Carrie, Alana, Ian, Dan and Kevin who also all ran a really strong race that day. It was fun to get to see each other on the power line.
I was prepared to suffer and push through whatever came my way. I didn't dwell on anything. At around 23km my legs felt a bit sore and fatigued but I knew that the feeling could go as quickly as it came and pressed on. I told myself to just hold my pace/effort until the 30km mark and at that time tell myself I was starting a 20k race. Learning to asses and not dwell on things not only saves you time but makes for a more pleasant journey.
The climbs on the power line had us hiking a bit at first and then I got a little fired up when the first place female passed me and I started to count the women from there. At the bottom of the power line I knew I was in 9th female position which actually surprised me because I ran most of the race on my own so I really didn't know where I was in terms of other runners.
I filled my bottle and my friend Bruce Grant waited for me so we could run together. Running with Bruce was another huge highlight for me that day because he is someone I have so much respect for and he is such an inspiration. I enjoyed the mental break and visit with him and that helped motivate me to once again press on. I ended up passing one of the females on the power line and another after the last aid station which was a push for me because we started the last climb together and she started to pull away. I decided to catch up and stay right behind her. She was a strong climber and it really helped push me up the hill. I didn't have to think. I just followed her. I passed her near the top and started the descent. I didn't see her or any other women runners again, but I did pass more runners on the descent and the last few kilometers into the finish line. When I downloaded my data, I realized I was running a 3.5km/minute on the last descent. No wonder my knees felt achy after the race ;)
Thank you to my sponsors who support me as I hunker in the woods
and enjoy the sweet life of trail running!