Moose Mountain Marathon - RunMarathon

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Bragg Creek, Alberta
Total Time = 5h 33m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

The last 3 months have not been the best for running, maybe averaging 65k a week whereas up to May I had been averaging 92k week. I mean I was out there doing it, having a good time, but since the failure at the marathon in May I couldn't help feeling like I was meant to be the type of runner who likes to run, runs a lot, but can never bring it on race day. I spent the last 3 months coming to terms with this. But the thing is I really like to run. And, I really wanted to finish this race. 2 years ago I did it and bonked hard, sever dehydration.

I spent a good part of the last 3 months in the hills. I would say 80 percent of my runs were in the hills for at least a bit and I did at least one solely hill run per week. My longest run was 3 hours, in the hills though. I was fairly consistent in getting in a 2 - 2 1/2 hour hill run every week and I also threw in a couple 10-13 kers as well, although not always hills with those. I was missing a second long run. Actually I felt my long run was about 45 min - 1 too short. Given the time it would take me to finish I really figured I should get my endurance up to at least 3 hours on a weekly basis with the odd 4 hour thrown in. I did 2-3 temp and interval workouts in the past 3 months, so that was lacking. I felt strong on my hill workouts but still nervous about this run.

I decided not to really taper for this. I figured it is too nice this week to stop training for a race I may not finish. They let you pass on the marathon at the 27k aid station if you want (or don't make the cut off) and get a finish for the shorter 29k run. I did my last 2.5 hour hill run on Tuesday. W - F were easy runs. So that was a bit of a taper as far as running went. The Tuesday run might have been a little late, 5 days out, but a marathon program has the last long run at 7 days out so I figured what the hay. I rode my bike to work on monday and thursday. I was going to skip thursday but it was too darn nice and I wasn't going to waste a good riding day. I did take Friday off though from riding.

I felt strong on my Friday SLOW run with 2 strides. Drank a lot of water. Ate quite a bit since Thursday, lots of breads and carbs. 3 beers (!) Friday night. You know, I figure, this isn't a 5 or 10 k or road marathon. This is a grind up and down a mountain. You got to be loose. I don't know, I just feel that it is a different type of race that requires a different type of prep, and 3 beers was it for me....and lots of veggie lasagna and water.
Event warmup:

Slept well. Baby got up once. Wasn't sore in the morning like I usually am. 3 days of easy running seemed to do the trick and the bike ride on Thursday provided no ill effects that I could tell. Felt fresh. Had 2 peanut butter/raisin bread sandwiches. 2 cups of water, cup of tea. Hit the bathroom, not great success there. Rob showed up a little late. Usually I would be pissed about this, you know, maybe being late for the race, but I kind of got it in my head that I really didn't care if I finished or not. This is a tough race. Not many do it. He wanted to stop for coffee and chips (for the way back) normally I would be like, "are you friggin kidding me we got to get to the race site numbnuts," but whatever.

The race is in Bragg Creek, about a 45 min drive from my place. We stop at the Shell there to use the can. Rob is like, let's get gas. I mean he has a half full tank. lol, but doesn't bug me, which is weird.

Get to the trail head about 10 min before start. I lube up with handfulls of lube everywhere. I have learned the hard way on this. Gut feels okay, not perfect, but okay. I know I will likely have to take a stop during the run but whatever. Usually not being suitably flushed would freak me right out but not today.

We wander to the start, the RD is chatting about something....something about bears....something about it is hot out (28C forecasted). I guess about 80 people there, about half doing the 42 and half doing the 29.

I get my phone ready. My 205 died last week and I refuse to get a new one, so I got My Tracks going on my phone. It throws me splits through my headphones. I thought cool. Well not really splits but total time and distance and speed (not pace). I am the last guy, walking across the start line, fiddling with my phone. I really don't care. It is a gorgeous day, and I am going to have a nice little trot up a mountain and if I make it down in time I'll go run another 15k.
  • 5h 33m
  • 42.2 kms
  • 07m 53s  min/km

So I go stumbling along. Last place. People look to be going pretty quick. Catch up to Rob and we run together. The dirt road goes gradually up over the first 3-4 k. Fairly easy to run it. Then at 5-6 there are a couple harder hills. Not too long, maybe 20-30 meters, but steep, that give you pause. Rob and I pass a couple people here and there, but not many actually. I lose Rob at about 5 k. Poor guy spent a month in Europe and came back 10 pounds heavier. I don't know how he does this.

After 6 k get to the first set of switch backs in the forest. I pass 4-5 more people. Running, walking, running. My heart rate is spiking here and there, going too fast at times so I try to reign it in. I do an okay job but it is tough, I mean this goes up right, not a lot of options in taking it easy.

Switch back level out and there is a nice little run to the aid station. I started drinking off my hydration pack right when the run started. I also was munching on a cliff bar. Got to the aid station, filled my cup (the rd makes a big deal about being ecologically friendly so I brought my own cup) had three nice cups of Gatorade/water (400-500ml) handful of chips and some gummies. The people I passed on the switchbacks were right behind me.

Some more gradual up then it gets steeper. Was playing leap frog with some people. One guy who just refused to walk, lumbering along running when it was faster to walk. I am a slow walker naturally so I really tried to keep a fast hike going when I had to walk. I did okay on this. Kept playing leap frog with this one lady. When we got to the second set of switch backs we were in lock step more or less so ended up hiking together (at the aid station there I slammed a whole gaterade some more chips and some nutty energy bars). Neither of us was waiting for the other but we seemed to stick together. Had some nice chats with her. She was very experienced in ultras. Good racer in that she would start running as soon as she could after a steep section. Thing about these races, and slopes, is that sometimes it is not as steep as it looks and you really can run it. It was good to have her there. I got away from her near the top and had a good little run on the downhill towards the turnaround.

I felt really good. I was sucking on water, eating cliff bar. Good. Got to the top at 1:55, I think. At this point my phone was saying 15k so I didn't have a lot of faith in it (should be 14.5 k) Whatever, I made it up 25 min faster than 2 years ago and felt 100% better. I was a bit worried though, because last time I really suffered running downhill. Not this time though. I friggin flew. I mean this is straight down, rocky, jagged rocks, loose rocks, no real trail to speak of. Well I mean there is a trail but it isn't smooth. But yeah, I did good, I couldn't believe it. I mean I was worried now I was going to fast but I thought who cares. If I am baked at the bottom I will just head in for the 29k race. Finished my water by the time I got to the 20k aid station. Filled up my pack. Slammed another gaterade. More chips. A little longer at the aid station this time.

Sad here because as I was flying down to the aid station a lady was limping back. She twisted her ankle something fierce it looked like. She was a broken person. I felt super bad for her. She wanted to finish sooooo badly. It was sad. I know what that is like. Rob says that he saw her continue on down the second set of switch backs after the aid station. Brutal. Twisted her ankle again. So tough to quit you know. I really hope that if I am ever in that position I am strong enough to call it a day and not do more damage, but I don't know.

Anways, down the second set of switch backs. Stomach not feeling great now. Lots of gaterade swishing in there. Had to pull over near the end to take care of things. Felt better. My buddy passed me while I was in the bush so I caught up to her and we ran the 3-4 k to the 27k aid station together. It is a nice easy downhill, gradual. Easy to run, easy on the legs and lungs. Good to run with her because, well, just easier to run with someone else.

Got to that 27k aid station in 3 hours 20 min. HA. 2 years ago I bonked so hard it took me 4 hours 15 min to get there. Nice. So, get to the aid station. I mean my legs are sore, the steep downhill sections took a real toll. Just my quads really though, everything else is good. Then the sun comes out. I mean it is hot out, 24-25, but hazy. Man that sun hit and it was hot. Slammed another gaterade. 2 brownies, chips, handfull of gummies. My buddy didn't stay at the aid station for 5 sec, and she was off and I lost her. All of a sudden I couldn't run. I was walking. Stomach felt gross. I had horrible gas. Felt bloated. Stepped in a bog drenching my left foot. Not good times here. Then I noticed the splits my phone was giving me made no sense, they were still in the 7 min range which was no way no how. I look at my phone and it has a moving time and total time. Ha, I was moving so slow that it wasnt recording me moving. Then I started wondering about the distance, was that accurate. I mean I knew it wasn't but I thought it was close. Not running much at all now. This trail is up and down and up and down. Running the downs and a small small bit of the flats. But really there wasn't much flat.

Still felt strong walking up the hills though, I wasn't hunched over or anything. Ab work paying off. The downs were worse because I knew I should run them but my legs were burning and it was so steep. Like these hills arent high, maybe 5-10 meters but that is plenty.

Anyways, hiking along, feeling pretty sorry for myself. Got passed by one woman here who was looking super fresh. I passed another one that looked okay but just wasn't moving that fast.

Stubbed my toe a bunch of times but never fell.

Got to the last aid station, 8k out. Feeling pretty crappy. So lucky for the tree cover because it would have been brutal hot without it. Stomach felt full still so just had a cup of gaterade and some chips and was off for the last bit. Running maybe 10 meters every 50 meters you know. Running the downhills though, even if painful. Started fiddling with my phone, trying to figure out the difference between elapsed time and total time. Noticed my battery was getting low so dug out my mp3 player and switched my headphones out of my phone to save some battery for the gps.

Was getting a little down, kept on waiting for people to start passing me. lol. I was thinking....."I may never run again, okay, I may run again someday, but I will NOT BE RUNNING ANOTHER STEP TODAY." ha. Anyways, barely running the downhills now. Last I heard on my phone was 39k, I figured about 1k off so I had 4 k to go. Having lots of scattered thoughts.

Then, out of nowhere my running buddy is behind me. I was like, holy f*ck, where did you come from. Guess she had to take a trip to the bushes. So yeah, she is there and I just know she is going to be walking fast and running when she can so I start walking faster and running the flats and even a couple little slight uphill seconds (I mean very sliglht, but they stopped looking like unrunnable mountains at least). So it was great. She kept up for the most part for 2k or so but then we hit this slight downhill bit and I just started sailing. Well it felt like I was sailing.

Then end is kind of funny cause you run through the trail head parking lot and then kinda come out on the main trail about 50 meters from the finish. I was so worried I would be trudging through this part but I was just sailing. Really neat finish because you you just kind of pop out. I remember watching people finish 2 years ago being so a sorry sack of Sh!t, some looked happy, some looked beaten (but at least they finished). I tell you, I came around that corner, popped out on the trail, with the biggest friggin smile on my face, arms in the air. Felt great, got to the finish line, my Dad came out to see me, which was awesome. And I finished.
What would you do differently?:

I should have been eating gels I think. I think part of the problem in the last 15k was actually nutrition. I was bloated. But I really think I had to be drinking that much. Maybe more salt. It was hot. Tough race to pace on and tough to get nutrition right. I ate enough up to 27k and was fairly fresh I just needed to continue taking food in. Should have had gels along with the cliff bar. Cliff bar is good but not really fast energy.
Post race
Warm down:

Sat, had some soup, Gatorade, two big cookies. Went to Bragg creek for ice cream. Half a bag of Doritos, another big Gatorade. Took a long time to have a nice clear piss though. So I felt full with the fluids but was doing the right thing.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training. But more than that was nutrition. More pure sugar baby.

Event comments:

Best race. Really lucky to have it.

Last updated: 2011-08-25 12:00 AM
05:33:00 | 42.2 kms | 07m 53s  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Up moose mountain, about 1000 meters in 14.5k. Then back down. Then a 15 k run of the Telephone Loop, which is a roller coaster of a trail if I ever met one. Some muddy parts.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5