Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Whistler 50 miles ultra

Do you know how stubborn you could be, how long you could ignore the pain and reality?

This year was the inaugural of the Whistler 50 miles relay in Whistler the home of the 2010 Olympic Mountain events. My trip to and from whistler was less than a day, I left North Vancouver just past 2 AM and I back in North Van just past 3 PM. While
I was in whistler my mind was so occupied with my nagging knee pain and the goal of finishing race the I never felt or thought about the energy or the buzz that 2010 Olympic left behind.

As an ultra runner I really enjoy the events that include the relay teams: for one you have the support of fellow relay runners and also sometimes the self motivation of catching up to the relay is good encouragement to finish or do well in the
race. Even with H2H always had a goal to finish ahead of the relay teams but unfortunately never been able to accomplish that.

Wichoten Holland 100KM race thus far has been one of the lowest performance among all of my races since I started running but I was proud that I endured 66 KM of pain and cramps and finish the race with sever back injury. After the race my motivation was at the lowest and I wanted a race to redeem myself so I registered for the whistler 50 miles ultra.

For the Thanksgiving holidays as family we went to Mount Baldy and while we were there we went for a short hiking trip. I turned the short hiking trip into a 2 hikes and fast downhill’s running to make up for a 3 hours long run. Must feel good at 7000 feet but it wasn’t pretty 2 days later, felt sharp pain in my right knee and I thought it was just a temporary pain, have felt it before and should go away soon. However; this pain wasn’t as cooperative of the previous pains and wanted to be dormant and no intension of leaving me alone. To cope with the pain and to reduce the impact I decided to use less of my legs and started swimming something that I eally suck at and when I swim I feel my lungs want to explode.

Is whistler 50 miles now going to be redemption race for this poor lad, no way and a few times I thought about not starting the race. Deep down I wanted to run this race, for one is whistler why wouldn’t you want to run there and secondly test to see how much I could endure nagging knee pain. Call me crazy but that’s the way it is, you don’t know, explore them, find out.

The night before the race I got all my nutrition, clothes ready and went to be about 10:00 PM and set my alarm to 2:00 AM. For 2 hours just laid down in bed and rest my mind and don’t remember when I actually feel sleep but sure I woke 1:45, had breakfast and packed the car and left the house just past 3 AM. I saw 2 cars on Lonsdale and one of the driver senior citizen, what he was doing outside that early, and my guess he couldn’t sleep or had to go to hospital.
Highway was dark and lonely; I saw 2 cars only on my side of the road from Lonsdale all the way to first intersection before Whistler and 4 cars going in the opposite direction.

I Never drove that early in the morning on the highway before and the timing
close to Halloween every time I saw a car I thought of the creepy movies
specially semi truck driving behind you and pushing you off the road and laugh
out load J. By 4:30 AM I was in whistler and in the day parking lot, we were told that Parking programmer was supposed to program the meter so we get the day pass but someone obviously forgot and race organizer were very kind they took our licence plates and coordinated it
with the By-law officer not only we didn’t get a ticket but also we didn’t have to pay for parking.
After short briefing of the race course by Ron Adams we left the Whistler Conference Centre to the start.
It was cold but warmer than I even thought about and dark. 5 runners
at lead, Darin Bentley, Chris Downie, Jenn Segger and Nicola Gildersleeve and I hit the pavements. Chris and Jenn took off a head and Darin behind them. I ran and chat a bit with
Nicola and realized she wasn’t about to go faster earlier on. Apparently 2 ghosts were caught in Camera in Whistler and one of them wearing Saucony ViziPro line gears.

My goal was to stay with the lead guys as much as I could and finish the race quicker to avoid more. So I picked up the pace a bit and caught to Darin. I hadn’t seen Darin for over a
year since Fat Dog 2010, I miss the World Gibraltar in 2010 and he missed
Wichoten 2011. It was great running alongside of him and we chat for a while until he had to pull aside for pit stop.

Then I cut up to Jenn and then to Chris and took a tiny lead to the aid station where we supposed to have our drop bags. Up to this point I have already finished drinking my carbo-pro mixed with water and a Gel. No drop bags at the aid station yet so it meant no more food. I was lucky aid station had some water and Darin’s wife Kerry was Gracious to fill up my bottle with water. So I ran a whole loop with 2 Gels which I saved them for emergency and Water. That a bit affected my energy level to continue with the pace I was running and here Darin took the lead and Chris to follow. I only saw Chris one more time about half way into the 2nd loop. I don’t know what was going with me that day with exception of the first loop, I had multiple pit stops, lap 3 five times alone and they keep putting me behind, it was crazy. In a sense it was good, giving occasional break to my knee.

Shortly after loop 1 about 7:30 we a had a bit of day light and it was great seeing the course going through the golf course, residential area and around the lakes and parks. What a fantastic and breath taking view of mountains, ski runs covered with snow, causal hikers walks in the trail with dogs, some small and yappy ones too. Volunteers at the aid stations and the course Marshalls mostly from the relay team taking turn for their Volunteering duties. Most of the trails were the first time I stepped on so now I know more areas to run when I visit whistler next time.

Ran about a Kilometer of the 2nd loop with Chris and this was the last time I saw him
thanks to my frequent pits topsJ. Ultra running is a definitely a science that I admit haven’t been able to master even a chapter, always something different.

I finished lap 2 just under 2:51. I was very pleased with that and I knew if I had to walk for the rest of the race I would still make the caught off time, my goal was that my name to be listed under the finishers list.
By lap 3 the pain was getting worse and the only worries I had if I stop whether my knee was going to give up and collapse so I never stopped or stood up straight legs side by side even
at aid stations I tried to keep left leg ahead of the right to keep me
I was very pleased with my performance considering the condition I went into the race and was able to finish the race sooner than I anticipated so I didn’t have to torture my
knee any longer. 6 hrs and 24 min into the race I crossed the finish line in third place.

Thank you to My Sponsor Saucony for their support and fantastic Gear the rock start Kinvara 2. The winner Chris Downie was also wearing Kinvara and right before the race he mentioned to me how happy he was running the shoes and he also told me that he had done 100k trail race in them as well.

Thank you to all the Volunteers to feed us, and keep us safe from the Cars :).
Thank you to Kathy McKay for her inspiration and the moral support I needed for this race.
Thank you to Ron Adams and his company for organizing such a wonderful event. I look forward to running this race again next year!

Happy running!!!!

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