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Lost Soul Ultra - RunUltra Marathon

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Lethbridge, Alberta
15C / 59F
Total Time = 19h 56m 10s
Overall Rank = 24/58
Age Group = m 18-49
Age Group Rank = 10/23
Pre-race routine:

Race is in Lethbridge, about 2 hours south of Calgary. I went down with my dad Thursday night. Picked up the package. Can't say I was too impressed with the package. lol. They gave me my shirt, awesome shirt, a zip lock bag with my number and timing chip. Then they guy is like, you want the rules, I said sure, he gave me the rules. No map for this massive 100k race, I was like, oh oh. Heard GREAT things about the organization for this race so I was a little puzzled.

No need to worry though.

Had dinner, subway coldcut trio, no onions or peppers or sauce, on white. Had a couple beers. I figured, not your normal race, beer probably won't hurt my performance.
Event warmup:

We stayed at the Lethbridge Lodge which was Race HQ, so that was cool. Got up at 6:30, went down to get weighed, 195lbs(!) eek. Was worried about the rain, it had rained a bunch on Thursday and I was concerned that we would have to do the wet weather course which is shorter (so more loops) and easier. Had two bagels with peanut butter and some coffee.

Had the race meeting, the RD had a wonderfully dry sense of humor. He says, "so, yeah, we will be doing the wet weather course" everyone is like saying nothing then he is like, "that's a joke". Anyway, there was more but it would be lost typing it out here. Went to the hotel room, got changed, time moved pretty fast and I didn't leave the room until 7:55, got there just in time. And we were off. 8:00 a.m., darn civilized time for a race to start.
  • 19h 56m 10s
  • 100 kms
  • 11m 58s  min/km

So we are off.

First lap is 7k. 3 big climbs of about 100 meters. Pretty tightly packed at this point. There are 131 of us starting 66 in the 100k and 65 in the 100 mile. It is very slippery because of the rain. I was going to skip the poles on the first lap but then decided to take them, glad I did. Pretty non eventful, just tightly packed and backed up sometimes on the single track. Took me about 63 minutes, which was way too fast. But I was taking my time, walking even the slightest slope, running over 7 min ks, felt good.

For gear, since the aid stations were so close, I opted for just my fuel belt, which made things easier.

Second leg about 12 k. Lots of elevation, lots of hills, lotsof steep climbs. Fortunately, as it was throughout the course, although there were many steep climbs the descents were not as steep. Took two bottles of sport drink and 2 bottles of water and 2 gels. Had a good little run here. I was pretty near the end when I got to transition but I got out faster so quite a few people were passing me. I just chilled. Scenery was pretty nice considering we were in the middle of a small city. My left knee started to hurt, which was strange, so I took some advil. Took me 1:55 which was way too fast, but I felt good and strong. Short break at the next aid station, filled up my bottles, had some potatoes and chocolate, grabbed 2 more gels, quick bio break and off. Oh grabbed 1.5 ham and cheese sandwiches for the road, mmmmmmm.

Third leg around 6 k. More steep climbs. Really more of the same, passed by the same people I was passed by before as I was quicker at the aid station. Felt good, knee was feeling better. About 1:10, so still fast. Felt good though, only running the downhills and a bit on the flats, powering up the hills with little problems. Got to the Pavan aid station which is like paradise, indoors, running water, full kitchen set up. People were camped out like it was a picnic. My dad came in after about 5 min, he was chatting with some people, he was shocked I was leaving, but I was and I was off. Grabbed a couple sandwiches for the road.

4th leg, 17 k, longest leg, but there is a self serve water stop half way. Steep climbs for the first half then flat for the rest. As it was 10 k to the water stop I took 4 bottles of the gu drink and 2 gels. Again I was passed by a bunch of people, although took them longer this time. lots of people with backpacks. Some filled to overflowing it seems. I caught up to some people who passed me earlier at the top of a climb and he had his pack open and had pulled out a bag of what looked like at least 20 mini chocolate bars, man, if I was hauling that I would be exhausted. Got down the last of the climbs and a serious wind came out of nowhere, wind howling hard, little bit of rain, but that wind bothered me more because it was coming from the south and that was the way we had to go. I was also worried because if it rained to much they might divert us to the wet weather course. Anyways, as bad as it was, it only lasted about 10 minutes and then our partly sunny partly overcast clouds returned, perfect day to run. Got to the self serve water stop filled up my bottles, by this time there must of been about 10-15 of us somehow loosely bunched together. Some people running in groups other solo. Everyone looked pretty good and we ran quite a bit of the last 7 k or so of this leg, almost all flat, for the last 5 k here I was at under a 9 min/k pace, way too fast, but fun.

Got back to the Pavan Aid station, paradise. I was pretty hungry, chowed down on some potatoes, sandwiches, perogies, chips. Didn't hang around long though. Was at the 42k point, took me 7 hours by the time I left the aid station so a 10min/km, pretty good, felt strong.

5th leg 5k, 2 climbs. This is where things got easy, two climbs about 100meters gain each, I mean they were hard but there was only two. Simple, easy. Got to the aid station filled my bottles grabbed some gels and sandwiches and was off.

6th leg, 7k. Cruised along here pretty good too. Only one climb at the end. Had some muddy sections because of the downpour that made me nervous about coming back in the middle of the night to do it again. Met a nice lady that I ran most of this leg with. 49 year old grandmother of 9. lol, I thought she was maybe 40. She noticed that we were close to being sub 9 hours so we blitzed it to the end and got just under 9 hours, 8:59:29. Sweet.

I felt good. My Garmin had my total distance at 55k, which is a little long as the website listed the first lap as 53k. But I felt really good. Was grabbing some chips and sandwiches and I noticed some hamburger buns, I said, "you have some burgers or you just teasing." The volunteer said she will grab me one and a min later she returned asked if I wanted bacon and cheese I was like, darn tooting I do. So yeah, had a bacon cheese burger, omg.

And I was off. Second lap shorter as you omit the first 7k.

7th leg. Same as before, for the most part. I had a rock that was bothering me in my shoe so I had to stop to get it out. Turned out to be a giant rock hard blister on the outside of my right heal. Oh well. Tightened the shoes and it stopped bothering me a bit, then it burst, and stopped bothering me all together. Still felt strong, running the downhills at a good pace and running part of the flats, not as much as before, but some. It would be funny because I would catch up to someone or a group or someone would catch up to me and we wouldn't really talk but we wouldn't pass either. One of us would start running and the other would follow, then you would walk and they would walk, kinda feeding off each other that way. Had 4-5 of the middle of the pack 100 miler people pass me though, they had to do that first 7k so they had started to catch up. Was amazed at how they were still running at a strong pace.

Got to the aid station. Still felt good. Leg took me 2:22, about 20 minutes longer than the first go round, so losing a significant amount of time.

Leg 8, 6 k, same as before. My dad, thankfully, forced me to take my headlamp. Throughout Leg 7 I was thinking that I would get sub 18 hours which would mean I would be at Pavan by 8 which means I would get my headlamp then. But I wasn't going to make it, although I didn't realize it. So yeah, took my headlamp. Still motoring up the hills, running down. Not really running much on the flats though now, just 30 seconds here and there to keep the legs stretched out. Got dark with about 20 min left in the leg, so thank god I had my headlamp or I would have been, "running by braille" as the RD said. This time around took 20 min longer than first time, 1:28. Losing time, about 2 min per km. Pavan was paradise, again, they had broiled or baked salmon out, god it looked good but didn't think my stomach could handle it. Had some perogies and some grilled cheese/ham,mmmmmmmm.

The volunteers and aid stations on this course were awesome. Whenever you were at an Aid station someone would leech onto you and follow you around getting you stuff, cleaning up your mess, making suggestions. For the most part I was pretty coherent. When I got to the aid station this time my wife had just phoned my dad so I was talking to her on the cell and this volunteer was trying to help me, and here I am half ignoring her and she is so awesome and pleasant. lol, then I am getting my long sleeve shirt on and somehow I knock over a glass of orange pop. LOL, oh wow, it was like being at a 5 star restaurant, out of nowhere there were 3 people helping me saying what can I do and all that. I said, um, you can throw this orange pop soaked shirt in this bag (which is what I was trying to do because it reeked so bad), so they did and this other guy was cleaning up the mess. Amazing.

Leg 9, 17k. Legs were getting tired. Still motoring up the hills but the downhills really started to be painful. No more running on the flats and my walking was slow. Ran into Dan, same guy I ran into at Sinister 7. He was doing the 100 mile. Stuck with him for a bit, he walked so fast, his feet moved so quickly, so light on his feet. I was so jealous. Pitch black now, no moon, nice starry sky though. We lost the trail twice for a 200 meters or so when it turned off. A little too much head down to notice when the trail turned. We were passed by some 100milers, one guy passed me 3 times, he said he napped at each aid station, he was running fast too. Eventually Dan tagged onto another 100 miler going a little faster and that was that. My Garmin died at 14:54:40 and at 83.74k. I think it was near the self serve water station. (lol, I died at the same time. From the first lap my Garmin says there was 19 k left, a little longer than advertised. Race map says 16.3. Regardless, whatever it was, and I prefer to think it was 19 k, that 19 k took me 5 hours.) Anyways, total time for this leg was 3:45 or so.

Things are kind of a blur after this. I knew my dream of 18 hours was a dream and that my fall back of 19 hours was history too. I was fine with it, just disappointed that I could not run anymore. My legs were just sooooo sore. My feet hurt but not that bad considering. My legs though, wow. I went off for the second last leg. 5k, two climbs, first time took me 50 minutes, this time took me 30 minutes longer. lol, that is a loss of 6 min a km. Brutal. Finally, after 90 some odd km, I started to suffer on the climbs and had to pause a couple times on this leg. The downhills were killer, think I even paused a couple times here. a couple more 100 milers passed me, they were walking so fast, I must have looked pitiful crawling along at a 15 min/km.

Last aid station, last leg. I sat at this aid station for the first time. Exhausted. Felt so good to sit. Took my jacket from my dad, who told me to wear it for the last one, wish I did as I was only warm when I was climbing. Great volunteers here too.

The last leg is flat for the most part, actually a gradual decline. It is 7 km long. It took me 65 minutes first time around. This time it took me 115 minutes. I got lost a couple of times, just couldn't find the trail markers. Finally I got to the road and I was like, yes, done. lol, but then I remembered as I was crawling down the road that oh, yeah, have to go back in the woods. But I couldn't figure out how to get back in, thankfully someone showed me so I could suffer some more. lol, then, I got to the actually road and I was looking for the path up the hill and I couldn't figure it out, I mean it is a paved trail that goes up the hill by the road, it is right friggin there, lol, oh my. Another guy came along and he was like, this way, so I was like okay, and then he was like, um, no, this way. Hiked up the hill, looked at my watch, saw I could make 20 hours, sped up my walk, ha. Didn't even consider running across the finish line but man was I happy.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Everything was spot on, hydration and fuel was good. I mean I could have trained more, but where would I have found the time.
Post race
Warm down:

it was 4 am. I got to the aid station, asked a lady if she had any burgers, she was like, no but I will make you one, I said don't worry about it, she said no I will, and 6 min later I had a burger, and 4 minutes after that I had another one. It was so warm in that tent, I was so happy not to be running.

Saw Dan in there, he had already done the 7k south loop and was looking out at doing the last 46k. He was in a bad spot, I wished him luck. He finished, good for him.

Of some interest may be that according to their scale I had gained 6 pounds. I drank a lot, between each aid station it was 12 ounces of water, 12 ounces of gu drink and 2 gels (I actually stopped this routine for the last two legs as the leg before that I must have taken 4-5 bio breaks in 3 hours, I was certainly well hydrated, but I never felt bloated)(I guess that is probably in excess of 20 gels I sucked back). At the aid stations I didn't think I pigged out, in fact there were times I was downright starving but I restrained myself, I thought.

Went back to the room with my second burger had a beer with my dad, slept until about 9. Got up, soaked in the hot tub soaked in the pool, steak and eggs for breakfast and drove home. I have never been one to be proud to wear a race shirt, I tell you I got up Saturday morning and put it right on and I wore it again Sunday.

Pretty sore as of Sunday night. Feet are in okay shape considering. One toe nail is a complete blister so that one is gone, have another that isn't in great shape. Blisters on both heels and on some toes, but really nothing to complain about. Legs are killing, back is sore from using the poles.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I never had any really long training runs, a couple 4-5 hour runs really is all I did, plus my 12 hours at the sinister 7. Just not enough time on my feet.

I also have a problem walking fast. I don't know why, in every day life I walk slow, I hike slow, frankly I run slow. The way some people were marching along after 19 hours was amazing. Got to practice that stuff.

What really helped me is the training I did do was hiking up this steep hill by my house and running down it repeatedly. That hill was repeated at least 50 on this course, although maybe not quite as steep. Doing that gave me the strength to power up the hills without breaking until the last 2 hills.

Don't exactly know what happened those last 19k though, and especially the last 12 k which took 3 hours and 20 minutes. Really weird. Only one person did those legs slower than I did, including the100 mile guys. I really didn't feel like I was bonking, really strange.

Probably the best part of this race was having my dad there with me. He met me at each and every aid station with my bag of stuff and helped me out at the Aid Stations. Also reminded me to put on my headlamp and jacket which of course was essential. Drove me down there and back home. It was really great.

Event comments:

BEST RACE EVER. Simply put. The volunteers are the best that I have experienced anywhere. The aid stations are close together for the most part. There are 3 aid stations and there are used multiple times. I suppose one could be picky about the 2 loop nature of the course but I would call them foolish.

I cannot say a negative thing about this race/course, and trust me if I could I would. The RDs who put it on are awesome. It is a private not for profit race. THE VOLUNTEERS ARE AWESOME the way they latch onto at the aid stations and help you is unbelievable. The food is unbelievable, baked salmon, burgers, perogies, bacon, boiled potatoes, hot cold however you like it, jerky, all the pops under the sun, watermelon, cantaloupe, gels, sport drink, chips, candy, chocolate bars, sandwiches; if you could not satisfy your craving at the aid station it could not be satisfied by food.

They have a 50k as well that starts on Saturday. They give the 100 k and 100 milers 36 hours to complete the course. They run the aid stations for 36 hours!!!! seriously.

This race sells out every year so it is not like they need more business and I know that people probably aren't excited to travel to Lethbridge to run a 2 loop 100k or 3 loop 100 miler when there are single loop courses out there that don't have the race go through the middle of the city. Listen, this race is hard, it is up and down up and down up and down. It is on single track that is almost always rocky and sometimes muddy.

There are great races out there, this is one of them.

Last updated: 2010-02-23 12:00 AM
19:56:10 | 100 kms | 11m 58s  min/km
Age Group: 0/23
Overall: 0/58
Performance: Good
Course: It is a two looper through the middle of lethbridge, which turns out to be this massive park filled with coulee's which are steep mother hills. The theme of the race was running up and down these coulee's repeatedly. Second loop is slightly shorter then first. Elevation gain is advertised as around 1000 meters per loop, but most people say Garmin reads it as almost 2000, so there you go. Most of the hills are around 100 meters elevation gain, I would guess. Really a gorgeous run.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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

2010-09-13 2:11 PM

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Subject: Lost Soul Ultra

2010-09-13 7:34 PM
in reply to: #3095896

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Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra

Amazing race, Darren. Congratulations! I'd be wearing that shirt for hte rest of my life!

2010-09-14 7:50 AM
in reply to: #3095896

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Parker, CO
Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra

I've never run an ultra but if I did this sounds like a great one to run.  Great job out there! You should be proud!  The burgers and beer were well deserved. 

Funny, I'm like you when it comes to walking in a race.  I was at a trail race a few weeks back.  held my own pretty well when running.  but when it turned to a walk I was amazed how fast some people can walk (or how slow I walk).

2010-09-14 9:14 AM
in reply to: #3095896

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Ft Gordon, GA
Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra
Great race report! Sounds like oyu had an amazing day! So hard but so rewarding.

Nicely done!
2010-10-05 7:18 PM
in reply to: #3095896

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The Land of Ice and Snow
Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra

2010-10-06 12:38 PM
in reply to: #3095896

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Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra
Off the charts.  I can't even comprehend this event.  Wow is my final word.

2010-10-08 3:10 PM
in reply to: #3095896

Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra
Some kind of crazy, man.  Congratulations!  It sounds absolutely epic.
2010-10-09 6:35 AM
in reply to: #3095896

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Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Lost Soul Ultra
Been there, done that, so I know what these kinds of races are all about.

No one who hasn't run 50, 60, 100 miles knows what it's like and even though you put it into words, they still won't understand what it means when you say your legs are "sore" and your feet are "hurting" and you still have X miles to go before you're finished. Throw in the mental aspects of finding the trail and knowing if you're in the right area makes it even more challenging.

The most rewarding experiences come from really pushing beyond your limits and to have family involved makes it even better. Savor it.

Well done.
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