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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Race Report: Vulture Bait (50km trail run) - DNF

DNF!  In fact I barely made it through 25km. 

The Course

Before I moan about my horrible race, I wanted to make some course notes while it's still fresh in my mind.

In my previous report I said the second half is more technical - this isn't really the case!

First 6km

This is a mix of single/double track, and it's all very non-technical.  There's even a kilometer or more of road.

The only thing kind of crappy was the volume of runners - we ended up single file with some really slow people at the front.  This was OK though, as it kept my pace in check.

Oh and at 5km there's a pretty wicked hill up to the dam. 

6km - 11km

This part is pretty technical - a lot of little sharp rises, sharp downhills, roots, rocks.  Definitely tougher than I remembered it (and it was wet, which added a bit more sketchiness).  I'd say this was probably the toughest part actually.

11km - 12.5km

Road.  Paved.  Easy.  Aid Station.


More trails, winding.  Not as many sharp/technical things, but still not entirely trivial.


Short road section


Tough little trail section, up and down and stuff.


Road, bridge.


Almost all trail, up and down.  Short reprieve through the golf course parking lot, then double track to the end...

Moaning About My Race

I slept like crap, but that's not unusual for me the day of a race.

Woke up, had a normal race-day breakfast (about 4 hours before race start - lots of digestion time!).

I felt tired on the drive.  Could have used a nap.  But again, this isn't that unusual...

Rain stopped, got my kit.  Chilled out in the van.  Lined up at the start, normal start-line jitters. 

Start - paced myself with the crowd, backing off, letting people past.  Legs felt great, felt like I was setting up for a good day.

... except my heart rate was out of whack early.  160s, then 170s, at a really easy pace.  What the hell?  I had an average heart rate of 157bpm in my last training run - and when I was this easy, it was under 150 consistently.  I couldn't figure it out!

It only got worse from there.  I tried to reason that it must be the warmth or something, and I must surely have the energy for this slow pace.

... and I felt fine!  My perceived effort was reasonable, consistently.  I walked the steep hills, I ran at a gentle pace.  But my heart rate just kept going haywire.

I ate my Cliff Blocks (which I'd tried in training).  They went down well.  Life should have been good.

Just shy of halfway into the first loop, fatigue set in.  Complete energy crash.  I pushed through, occasionally walking now - but this was looking grim, and I wasn't even 1/4 of the distance.

Somewhere around kilometer 14 or 15 I decided to walk, to really get the heart rate down.  Even walking, I just couldn't get the heart rate to drop much... nursed it under 150bpm, but as soon as I'd start running it'd shoot back up over 170bpm!!!


By the time I got to the aid station around kilometer 17 I was done.  I figured I'd walk the 8km back on the course and DNF.

I did manage to mix in a bit of running after awhile, but heart rate was still silly, and if I ran too long I'd crash again.

I even managed to wipe out on a downhill... I think my brain was out of juice too at that point, went sprawling.  Cramped up.

Then the weirdest thing of all - my ear got plugged up, like when you're in the shower or pool and accidentally get water in it.  Then it unplugged... and a little later, plugged again!  Then unplugged... then plugged. 

Still, something in me wanted to keep going.  I knew the cut-off was based on 8:30/km pace ... I had run the first 17km at 7:00/km, and even with all the crap going wrong I had still managed 8:41/km pace!

But when that ear thing started I got freaked out.  I figure I'm sick with something, it was really weird.  No point in pushing and doing real harm here - I chose to live to fight another day.

Sheepishly pulled out after 25km, went to the medical folks.  They checked my blood pressure and heart rate - all pretty normal.  They didn't seem too concerned about the ear thing, just said if it doesn't clear then get it checked out.  It cleared.

I'm still feeling exhausted now, as if I really did 50km (I assume this is what that would feel like, having not completed one!). 

Really sucks!  All that training, suffering through taper madness... to have it go so bad when it mattered the most... gah!

I know I can do the 50km - I'm sure of it.  My legs felt great, even after 25km.  I'll do it.

Just not today.

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