Saturday, August 21, 2010

ITT, I Barely Knew You

Three weeks before Haliburton, the Iroquoia Trail Test is the little ultra that could. IT is, as far as I know, the only race that counts in the OUS rankings with less than 50km. The ITT has a way of making me feel slow. Being shorter, it attracts a different mix of people, fast trail runners who typically don’t participate in longer events.

It was my second ITT. Last year I had a pretty good race but I got lost for a good 15 minutes. My plan this year (actually Derrick’s plan) was to go easy on the initial loop, push a bit harder on the way out and then give a good effort on the way back. Sounded like a good plan to me.

After what was essentially a sleepless night (2 hours of sleep) because of non-race related events, I picked up John McAlister (of TrailFooted fame) and we drove to Kilbride, arriving there around 6:45. That gave us time to chat with other runners and at 8am, we started.

Did I mention something about feeling slow? The very large majority of runners took off like bats out of hell. Most of the slower runners had started at the early 7am start, so there were only a few people behind me. I ran the first loop with “The Mod Squad” (see Limberlost report): Adi, Steve and me. We ran that loop really easy in 53 minutes. After looping back to the school, we headed out on towards Rattlesnake Point on the Bruce trail. The terrain slowly became more and more challenging. Although I enjoy running in group, my plan was to pick up the pace a bit and I soon noticed that I had lost my group. I was running well but not hard. In a more technical section, my foot caught something, I started flailing and I knew I was falling. I knew it was going to hurt because there were nasty, pointy rocks everywhere. There would be no rolling. At impact, I felt something hit my kneecap, my right shoulder hit something hard and my neck cracked. I had yelled like a little girl and I heard someone asking if I was ok. I took stock, sitting up and then standing up. A bit of pain, but it felt ok. I told the runners and they kept going.

For a few minutes, I was really careful and then slowly picked it up. I had almost wrecked my Haliburton 100 miler. Gulp. Just before getting on a long bridge, I see David (see his blog here). He had mentioned he was going for 3h30 but from what I knew of the trail, either he was going way faster than that or I was on a 5 hour pace. After the bridge is a long uphill and then a nice runnable stretch to the turnaround where I refilled my handheld. On the way in, you see people that are ahead of you. As you get close to the turnaround, you see people you have a hope of catching up to. I see Chris about 800m from the turnaround, a bit far for me to catch up.

Yes, my handheld. I ditched my vest. It’s just so darn hard to refill. Also, I find I run better on Sport drinks than on water and gels. Anyway, by then I was just totally dripping with sweat and covered in dirt. It was not really hot but it was humid and my clothes were just saturated with water. I get to the turnaround in 2:20:00, for a split of 1:27 for the out section. Following the plan, I increased pressure again. Going pretty fast on that downhill I had climbed minutes earlier, my foot hits something and I fall again, hard. F@ck me! I am so pissed off! From then on, everyone I meet will make a comment about my falls. I scraped my right leg but nothing more. I was going faster but the ground wasn’t as rocky this time around. Back to the bridge and then starts a long section that, for me at least, is just not runnable. Every time I hit better terrain, I run hard but in the first half, those sections are few and far between. Slowly, the trail improves and there’s more and more decent running to be done. I’m passing people now and then. You can’t see very far ahead so it’s hard to go into “catch up” mode, since you never see anyone. All of a sudden, someone just seems to appear right in front of you.

I ran the last 5k or so pretty hard and finished in 3:44:22. The back section took 1h23min, a full 4 minutes faster than on the way out. I felt pretty good, much less tired than last year. My last few races have felt really good and I feel like I'm as ready as I can be for Haliburton, given the limited mileage I did in training.

I will miss you ITT.


Sara Montgomery said...

Great race, JD!

Derrick said...

Great job JD!

Good to get the falls out of the way before Haliburton;)

chris mcpeake said...

Great job JD
I thought you would catch me on the backside of the second loop for sure. We are going to have a blast in Haliburton.

Johnny said...

Good run, JD. And thanks again for picking me up the morning of the race. See you at Hali!