I guess it’s that time of the year again. Time to look back and reminisce. For me 2010 was a rollercoaster year with unbelievable achievements as well as very humbling experiences. Here are the races that I remember the most. I ran quite a few more, but sometimes things go according to plan and we tend to not remember those races quite as much.
I know, I know: You’re sick of hearing about it. Doesn’t matter to me, I can talk about it all day long. People who politely ask about it can vouch for that. Susitna was more than just a race, it was an adventure. It was fucking EPIC. I still can’t believe how amazing that experience was.
Although officially it was only a ‘B’ race on my schedule, I managed to screw the pooch on this one. My only goal was to beat my 2009 time of 10h06. My training had been going ok physically, but after Susitna I hit some weird mental road blocks, maybe a bit of burnout. Anyway I felt good for Sulphur and ran the first few loops way too fast, basically running the first 2 loops at a sub-9hr pace, which I knew was too fast. I don’t know what I was thinking. I blame Chris and Jamie (Killerz) who also paid dearly for our collective hubris. I managed to finish in 10h17, after an epic bonk at 40 miles that destroyed me physically and mentally. Yes, the heat was a factor but stupidity was the root cause of my destruction.
Creemore Vertical Challenge 50km
Mile for mile, this is the most difficult race I’ve ever done. I have NEVER wanted to quit a race so badly. It’s only 50k for fuck sake. By 30k I was in trouble and at 35k I was road kill. I’ve fantasized about quitting races before and I’ve done it since, but I’ve never WANTED to quit. At Creemore, I wanted to quit. The heat and humidity were just unbearable. I must have done something wrong. Not enough hydration, not enough salt, not enough food, running too fast. I still can’t figure out if it was all or none of the above. I suspect the hydration and ever since that race I’ve switched to handheld bottles instead of the hydration vest. I did that for two reasons: it’s easier to know how much you drink and I switched to sport drinks instead of water/gels. I did finish, with Kinga’s help/constant torture. I can’t believe I’m going back there next year.
Limberlost Challenge 56km
Limberlost is a new race on the OUSer calendar and I came in pretty beat up mentally after a few difficult races. I came in with only one goal: enjoy my race and that’s exactly what happened. The course is deceptively slow. I couldn’t believe the time it took me to run the first lap. I couldn’t remember any monster hills or walking much, but it was a SLOW lap. I ran with a couple of good friends and we just enjoyed our race, running fairly consistent laps. I finished that race ready to run another lap. I guess this means I didn’t run hard enough but this wasn’t what that race was about for me. It was about redemption and I found it there.
Iroquoia Trail Test
Got to mention the Final Edition of the ITT. For us ultra runners, it’s always humbling to see all those crazy-fast shorter distance guys just sprint out of the blocks at the start. My big memories of that race are the two huge spills I took. The first time I fell right into a bunch of medium-sized rocks and to this day I can’t sleep comfortably on my right side. It’s slowly getting better but that was my hardest fall ever. The second one was more spectacular because I caught a root running downhill, but I landed on soft muddy dirt so no biggie. Again, with Haliburton coming up, my race plan was not to race hard but I still managed to shave 15 minutes from last year’s time.
Haliburton 100 Miler
My last race of the season was the Haliburton 100 miler. Holy smoke. That race was a mud-fest that tested me in different, but equally challenging, ways than Susitna. During Susitna, I never really entertained fantasies of quitting the race. During Haliburton, I thought about it all the time. I never wanted to quit, but for some reason, my mind seemed to enjoy torturing me with the IDEA of quitting. The mud and the Normac loop, especially that last one, were almost too much to bear at mile 90.
Now, the year is over. I had decided to go back to Susitna, but I recently had to change my mind (again) about doing it. After thinking about it over the Xmas vacation, I decided that as much as I wanted to do it, I just couldn’t afford it again this year. I plan on doing a few other non-OUSER races this year and I don’t want to blow my budget on that one race. I’m still training but I might replace that race with Beast of Burden. I’m giving myself a few more weeks to think about it. An alternative would be to go back to my initial plan of running the Sedona marathon. Not quite sure yet.
2010, we barely knew you...