Monday, May 29, 2006

Blackfoot 100K Ultra Report


Okay, so I’ve done some crazy things in the past, but this may have been the most insane. Leading the TrailRunner Magazine Trophy Series has been playing with my mind. So, ten days before this race, I decided to enter it after I had gotten permission from the race director. Mind you, this race is in Edmonton, Alberta, 15 hours from my home in Maple Valley, WA. I didn’t fly, and my carpool for half the trip did not work out. So I drove the entire distance there and back by myself. Here is as short a report as I can come up with:

Thursday, 5/25, full day at work. Oil change. Drove to Kamloops, BC, six hours. Stayed with Diane M., who ran the 50K. (My original carpool, but she had friends to visit in Edmonton, so drove separate.)

Friday, 5/26, drove 9 ½ hours to Edmonton, Alberta. Went to packet pick-up. Met up with Ravi D. and his wife and child. Went to dinner. Spent the night at their house. Time change, lost one hour. Slept well.

Saturday, 5/27, woke at 3:15am. Arrived at start 4:30 at Blackfoot Cooking Lake Provincial Recreation Area. Checked competition out. Six other girls, two looked strong. Race ran on 15mile (25K) loop four times. Surface was grass and soft dirt. Rolling (like Lake Youngs). Mud on first loop packed down by next loops. Beautiful course. Not too technical, but hills were physically and mentally challenging. Not much flat areas on course. Weather overcast with sunbreaks. Temp mid-40’s to maybe 60’s. No rain. Perfect. First loop, thought I went out conservative. Time about 2:32. Too fast. Stomach problems. Took care of “business” before going out second loop. Felt fine rest of race. Next girl only 5 minutes back (saw her at the out and back near the start). Second loop, about 2:40 (included the 4-minute pit stop). So about the same pace. Calves tight, but better with electrolytes. No girls seen at out and back, so at least 10 minutes back now. Third loop, still running (had not yet walked any of the hills) and still feeling good. Time was about 2:35, so maintained pace. (Results may show different splits than mine depending on when time was taken-on arrival or departure from checkpoint). Next girl at least 30 minutes back. Relaxed the last loop. Knew I was going to win and break the course record. Plus asthma was kicking in, so did not push it. Walked half of the hills. Time of last loop around 2:50. Finished strong: 10:37, 1st female, 6th overall with 43 starters and 31 finishers. New women’s course record by 31 minutes. Next woman was over 1 hour after me. Post race meal-sausage hot dog and Dairy Queen Dilly Bar! (22 marathon/ultras to date this year, 17 ultras and 5 marathons, 3rd 100K or longer race this month). Didn’t sleep very well that night. Too wired from the win. Same thing happened after Redmond Watershed 12hr.

Sunday, 5/28, felt great. Wanted to go run one more loop on that trail, but did not know anyone in Edmonton to join me. (Mary I needed you!) Went to awards ceremony for 50mile and 100K racers. Prize-water color painting of the trail we ran on next to the lake and free entry for next year. Great spread of food. Couldn’t stay for whole thing. Had to hit the road. Drove back to Kamloops.

Monday, 5/29, drove home. Border crossing. Got full search. I know, I look a little shady. I guess they couldn’t accept that a person would drive that far just to run a race. I must have had some deal going down. All they found were some stinky shoes!

So was it worth it? Yes. Winning that race will give me 248 more points. Breaking the course record was just icing on the cake. It was all supposed to be a secret that I’m going for the Trophy Series win. But after people realize that I traveled 15 hours one way to race, my intentions will become clear to my potential competitors. I say: bring it on!