Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 7, 2009 Dirty Duo race

Congratulations to Gary Robbins for winning and trashing another course record at Dirty Duo, also Congrats to Aaron Heidt just 14 sec behind Gary for 2nd place. Congrats to Elli Greenwood First in women and 5th overall. I had the privilege to run with her part of the course.
What a fantastic 50Km snow run. Surprisingly the weather man was correct. As week was leading up to the race day, it forecasted for snow. With most of the week sunny it was hard for me to believe it. Everyday I looked up the sky at dusk to find out how will turn out the next day. Friday was sunny, cool and beautiful like a spring day except a bit cooler. I was reminded by numerous people that Saturday was going to snow. I kept saying to myself “no Please not on Saturday”. As an asthmatic person I don’t have much appreciation for snowy days. Air is a bit heavier to breath. Knowing that I wasn’t going to race the course I had a wonderful sleep on Friday night, I don’t recall ever had a good sleep the night before the race. Usually my mind races faster than my leg turn over
Woke up Saturday morning at 6:00 AM and looked at the window and see white powder.
It looked amazing but my lungs didn’t appreciate it much, so heading to the race I knew it was going to be a difficult day.
7:30 I arrived at the Jaycee House, checked in and chatted with Friends. This is what I love about the race day; you meet happy people with high energy and you know they are there to do their best, whether is personal goal or winning the race.
My plan was to run a good training run especially with Elk Lake 100 around the corner I wanted to avoid any injuries, rolling ankles but I also wanted to have a descend training pace. For that reason I brought the heart rate monitor and continued watching my heart rate through the run. 85% on the hills and 80 to 85 % on the down hills
Oh I had 70% coming down the Seymour grind and I was very happy about that too.
The race was definitely good indicator that I am still in the right track with my goal for an Elk Lake, I just need to have more tempo workout, longer runs and improve breathing.
I am very grateful I was able to run most of the course with Mike Palichuk and Kerry Ward, perfect pacing, thank you guys!
I got lost only twice in the course. I was either behind a pack or in front of them.
First race I didn’t get mad and actually was happy for the extra distance “blessing mile”. It wasn’t like one of those runs that if you pass somebody they never see you again. My lead would only last 30’ or so before fining out I was running behind again. Matt and Andy were wondering what was wrong with us.
What I liked about this race and I think both Mike and Kerry agree that we had a great time out there, we were working hard but we also had fun and appreciated each other company except at the end I wasn’t a good company.
I managed to hug a tree out of desperation from falling. At least I know there is a tree that will look out for me when I am in the trail.
Before the start we had briefing on the course by Heather Macdonald, race director. She is an awesome person and fantastic race organizer. Go Mountain Madness Go!
I didn’t have any warm up run and right after Heather’s briefing we had to head out to start line. Are you set, ready Go. Here we go off for fun
Running down the icy road was a good wake up call. It was also fun to see Mile Palichuk skating down the icy road, later on he remembered he should have brought his hockey stick.
I don’t remember chatting with someone during races other than asking what the pace is or what their watch is showing, etc…. but this race started with nice conversation with Mike Palichuk and Kerry Ward and we did run quite a bit of course together.
Right from the get go, I didn’t feel comfortable with my lungs and I think lack of warm up was one of the contributing factor, it took me about 30’ to warm up and feel my legs were ready to go. Thanks to Mike and Kerry they had a good pace and I tried to stay close to them until the Gazebo. I knew both Mike and Kerry are good down hill runners and for me to stay at 80% heart rate I had to push. At the Gazebo I took the lead and maintained 82% heart rate. Continued the lead to Twin bridges and on to Bridal path. I love hills and I know I am a good hill runner but March 7 wasn’t the day. First hill up me had difficulty with breathing. I was pushing harder but I was hardly moving forward so I decided to walk them. Bridal path is winding with fair ascend so I run where I could and walk the steeper hills. I bumped into a few slower runners and that assured me that I had a bit slower start but fair enough that would have been within my training zone. Just before the Bridal Path and BP connector I almost took the wrong turn, thanks to Ron Adams he lead me to the right path, then I was on my way. With descend ahead I tried to stay at 82% heart rate and I knew with that pace I was well ahead of Mike and Kerry. First Pack was Gary Robbins, Aaron Heidt and Ryne Melcher. 2nd Pack I had no idea since we had a slow start. With the down hills I knew I had descent pace and as I started climbing up I spotted some runners coming down the hill, “huh”, got closer, I spotted Matt Sessions, Kerry and Mike. Now I am racing to catch up to them. I am saying to myself, did I get lost again, smilingJ. So I cut up to the pack and on to Old Buck Trail, straight up the never ending hill. The trail assured me that my lungs were not at their best so I could hurt myself if I pushed it further so with that thought I reminded myself why I was there and how blessed I am that I could still run and to be out in the nature. Steady baby step up the hill and walk as hill got steeper. Mike, Kerry and I stayed together and Matt and Andy Bachmann took off. Old buck connects to BP (Baden Powell) with more hills up to the Seymour grind. Nice and steady, once again I took the lead from Mike and Kerry and try to catch up to Matt and Andy. I caught up to them at the top of Seymour grind and I managed to stay with Matt Sessions. Seymour grind is technical for me and with snow I had to be extra cautious. Once we got back to Bridal path I knew is another descending opportunity and tried to push hard but still at 82% and looked back Mike was behind me and we both push the down hills and later Kerry joined us. As we were running toward the Twin Bridges I noticed Nicola Gildersleeve and Peter Watson in hula dance custom.
So I had to pretend I was hula runner, how those women shake their hips I have the world respect for them. Thank you to Nicola Gildersleeve and Peter Watson and NSA for the wonderful aid stations and their custom to put smile back on our faces. After aid station we headed to Fisherman trail which is all covered with snow and then on to nasty Homestead trail then to Gazebo to finish the first loop of the 50K. At the Gazebo I had to have one of the volunteers at the aid station to open my camel back to hand me the olives. You had to see the look on the volunteers face they thought I was insane. I don’t think they ever heard of such a thing, believe me it was also new to me. I heard it from a friend of mine and I wanted to try if it works and if so I could take some natural product instead or half and half.
The end result wasn’t 100% satisfactory as I didn’t take enough Termolyte and I could feel the lack of calcium and potassium in the olives. Next time I should try some banana as well after the olives and monitor the result but overall I was happy, no cramping issues other than last down hill resulted from extending the strides and not short of electrolytes.
Back on the course to 8 circuits trail which start about 1.5Km off the Seymour demonstration, I was happy about that I learned a new trail to run in. Mike, Kerry and I managed to get lost so we run to the next marshal to get the direction and as we were heading back to the right path noticed that Elli was heading our way and she was happy to see us and mostly in part because of Mike. I don’t think Mike was as happy as she since he knew Ellis is going to cross the finish line first at that stage of the run. Elli has a strong finish.

Then we were off to fisherman and to Bridal path and just before old buck we caught up to Matt and once again he was surprised to see us, once again we were ahead but some how managed to stay behind :).
Caught up to Andy at Old Buck and continue on. At BP I decided to break from the group and work on my finishing, steady down the grind but push on the flats.
After 4hr and 23 minutes I crossed the finish line and placed 4th overall. I was very happy about the result and certainly I had one of the most fun run ever.

For those people haven’t race Dirty Duo, you must try it. I remember in 2004 and 2005 people always talk about this race and showed me the muddy pictures but they also acknowledged how much fun they had, this was my 3rd year and every year has gotten better.
As always I was expecting a very organized, everything on time and plenty of volunteers and marshals on the course, it was dead on. The best after race goodies, who could go wrong with home cooked lasagna, spinach salad, baking, Coffee, chips, etc… And most importantly the smile of the volunteers working in the kitchen and making sure racers eat and refresh themselves. Thank you to all!

You got to try Dirty Duo race to see and feel it for yourself.

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