Monday, June 8, 2009

Scorched Sole 50km Ultra

What a great weekend I had in Vernon/Kelowna! It's such a beautiful spot and the weather is awesome this time of year. I was very lucky to escape the cold and snow that Calgary had this weekend. One word sums that up...Retarded.

After work on Thursday I packed up my dog Logan and my gear and headed out on the long drive. I'm usually not great at driving for long distances as I often get extremely sleepy. I thought it might be worse going out after work but I was pretty excited for the weekend and didn't have much of a problem. It was a 6 hour drive and I made one stop in Golden which is about halfway in between. One really great thing about driving to BC after work is the 1 hour time change in your favour so while it was 10:30 in Calgary when I got there, it was only 9:30 in Vernon and still nice and light out!

My brother Steve and Kira (his wife) were both working on friday so I had the day to myself to relax and of course do a little shopping! I know, it's weird that i'm going to a small place like Vernon to shop but they have some great stores there as well as a great gear store that my brother manages...Valhalla Pure Outfitters! Of course I spent a huge amount of time (and money) there as I get a family deal through him! I also bought a super thick kick ass thermarest that is going to be amazing for Transrockies. It's definitely not one you'd bring on a backpacking trip as it weighs a ton but it'll be perfect for Transrockies!

Friday night Steve whipped up an awesome pasta meal and we followed that up with some ice cream which made me very happy :) I was like hey...i'm running 50km tomorrow, i'm going to eat whatever I want leading up to it...and I did!

Anyhow, we had an early rise as my race started at 7am, Steve's at 7:30 and it would be around 45 mins to get there. I slept quite well until my alarm went off at first thoughts when that happens on race day is always "I do not want to do this today!" It's what happens to me every single race day...I never wake up stoked...not even at Boston! I'm just not a morning person and I don't feel good to go until I get to the race and see all of the other excited runner buzz going on! Plus I was also starting to realize that uh oh..50km is a long way and who knows how long it'll take me to do! I've never run longer than 4hours in my life and that's on the road which is much quicker!

Steve and I pulled into the parking lot and I started to get more excited as I saw runners around. The 50 miler runners had already left at 6am for their long day! It was about 6:30 and I had time to pick up my bib, pee, slap on sunscreen and all that fun stuff. Here are a couple of pics of my brother and me before the race.

Unfortunately the picture of me doesn't show my legs and what i'm skins! I decided today was the day I was going to try running in compression socks! I know a bunch of people that have done it and saw tons of people doing it at Boston and the Calgary marathon last weekend. I have to say, I thought they were great!!! There's a bunch more pics that'll be posted on the race website and hopefully I can show em off he he. I got a lot of funny looks from others and some questions but I thought what the hell, if this is going to make me feel better running 50km then why not!

I didn't get a chance to warm up much before the race aside from a little stretching. When the horn blew at 7am and the race started I was not too pleased at the steady climbing that began immediately...even though I did read a previous race report that the first 11km was uphill...ugh...and it was! After a couple of kilometres I felt much better as I was finally warmed up. Starting a race uphill really sucks! The whole time I was thinking to myself...I really hope my brother doesn't catch up to me before our courses separate. He started a half hour after me and we shared the same course for the first 12km. He's a super quick runner and wasn't planning on holding anything back! And guess what...he didn't catch me, wahoo! My course went off on another direction for some more hill climbing that I wasn't starting to mind quite so much. The first 25km of this race was quite tough as there was 3500 ft of elevation to gain, yikes. I met an awesome "ironman" that I ran about 12km with in the first half and we chatted about everything and after finding out he did ironman the last 3 years in a row of course I had to pick his brain :) I got a little tired and he took off just before we reached the midway point of the race.

After the first 2 aid stations the volunteers knew who I was from then on which was pretty cool. THey'd see me coming and say hey're the girl that woke up this morning and decided to switch from 25km to 50km lol (the race director didn't change my registration as promised so everyone thought it was a last minute thing). And everyone I met from then on would say "You're the first 50km woman through" which still continued to surprise me the more I heard it!

As I pass the midway point of any race I do, I get happier and happier from then on as you don't have this overwhelming amount of mileage left to do. I started to feel great after most of the hills were overwith and there were some great flats to cover! I felt great and was running quite fast which really surprised me at this point...after all of that climbing I could still do sub 5 min kilometres! Sweet! I caught up to the guy I had spent a long time running with at around the 38 km mark. He was super surprised when he saw me and told me he took off too early and he was starting to fade. We stuck together for a while and passed some of the 50 milers we caught up to...they were so funny and yelled out to me "way to go, you're the first 50km woman to go by". All of this cheering definitely helped to push me along!

At about 39km the trail took a sharp right down into the trees for some fast and steep single track. I'm not good with those type of downhills but the guy I was with insisted I go first. I was good for about 4km and then there was an aid station at the marathon point. It was a good sight to see and I downed some orange slices (my new favorite thing while trail running!) and dumped some water on my head. It was starting to get warm! My buddy was like, ok let's go! And we took off again. I told him to go first and he was a rockstar on the downhills and after about a kilometre I totally bailed! Haha...god, are you surprised after last weeks result? Too funny. At least I made it to 43km before crashing. This time I skinned my left knee pretty bad but all was good. He stopped for me and asked if I was ok and I told him to keep going but he totally waited. God I wish I had gotten his name! Funny how you can spend so much time running with someone in a race and chatting about your entire lives and you forget to introduce yourselves and never see them again!

Anyway, he pulled away as it was pretty much all downhill from here on out and I was left by myself for the last 5km. It was pretty cool to think to myself that every step from here on in was the furthest I had ever run before. It was so satisfying! With about 500m or so to go there are people on the course hiking or riding their bikes. I'm running behind this couple and their dog and I think, I hope they turn around and let me pass before I have to yell out to them. THey turn around as I approach and it's Steve and Kira! We all look at each other in surprise and they're like holy shit, way to go and start yelling and cheering out for me all the way down. It was sooo awesome and I actually think it was cooler seeing them at that point than it would be if they were at the finish line! Based on my time from the 25km last week and what I thought I could do, they did not think I would finish the race so early...yeah I broke 5 hours...I finished my first 50km in 4:50!! That's way off from the 6 hour time I predicted hahaha. And I was indeed the first woman to cross the line :) Here is a link to the brother kicked butt and came 3rd overall in his 25km race. Not a bad start to training for Transrockies by Team Pine Line!!!

What did I get for my hard work besides total satisfaction and sense of accomplishment in my first 50km?! I got a pretty cool plaque for my age group win...and for my overall win I got a bottle of red wine from one of the local wineries in the Okanagan as well as free entry into next years race! Not too shabby :) I'll post some race pics when they show up on the race website.

After the race there was a bbq which I thoroughly enjoyed. Nothing better than a big burger after something like that! We drove back to Vernon and took the dogs to pet beach...what an awesome spot! The water wasn't too bad for wading either. If only it had been there at the end of the race. I would have jumped right in! My hip was quite sore yesterday and I was stiff and moving a little slow but today i'm feeling pretty great. I can't believe how incredible I feel in comparison to 2 days after Boston. Trail running really is a gazillion times better on the body than road running. I'm not sure when I'll run this week as I still want to rest. But i'm super happy how good i'm feeling 2 days later!

Well that's it for now! Sorry about the super long post :)


  1. A super long post deserves a super long post. Great race and nice report! WTG ;-)

  2. cool,congrats on the win.You must stop in when you are in Golden again.The strip does not do the town justice.
    Are you coming to watch ironman canada in Aug???& maybe enter for next year???!!!

  3. nice win,congrats.You will have to stop in here next time you are in Golden.Are you going to go to Ironman Canada this year to watch,& ENTER for next year???!!!

  4. you bet your bippy 50 km is kinda long! ha. i am so proud of you - what an incredible, totally cool accomplishment!!! and wait, let's not forget first place overall gal and age grouper! WOW!!!

    what a great post. it was just the perfect length - i could feel your enthusiasm and excitement. heck, i almost feel like i could go run 50 km just on your energy, ha. of course i'm not going to do that though...

    how did you train for this? i would love to do an adventure race or trail race. my happy place is in the trees. :)

    GREAT JOB!!!

  5. Congratulations!!! This is super cool placing first! You must feel like in heaven. Loved reading your report - it was very exciting with a fantastic ending.

  6. I'm totally late to the party here but holy crap, that rocks! You have to be thrilled with that, I mean REALLY! I was holding my breath as I was reading it...nice job.

  7. You run in your first ever 50k and you win the thing? That is a Cool Sandwich with a heaping pile of Awesome on the side! Nicely done!

  8. Thanks everybody, it was actually a really fun race...something I never thought I'd say about 50km...and even though I thought while running that I would never do anything longer, I suspect a 50 miler or 100km will eventually be in my future...distant future. 50kms are fun!

    Susi, I have to admit I haven't been training tons for trail races (which is starting to change as I prepare for Transrockies)...I've just been keeping up with my 20-22 mile runs since Boston but they've been on the road mostly till now. My relationship with hills is something to be desired so i've got a lot of work to do in the mountains! I also think that i'd rather run for 5, 6, 7 hours than be on my bike for that ironfolk are crazy!! (in a good way of course :)