Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Crash and Burn in Washington

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One day I hope to race marathons in the great cities of the world.  The New York Marathon.  The Paris Marathon.  And maybe even the Boston Marathon one day.

Until then I settle for 30K runs around the beautiful Birch Bay in Washington.  

I stayed in a hotel in Blaine,  just a few blocks from the Canada U.S.A. border.  The hotel was - well - a dive.  It smelt slightly of curry and proudly advertised monthly rates in crooked letters on a neon lit sign.

Birch Bay in stark contrast was gorgeous.  It sweeps the coast line in a long lazy arch.

I had done the 15K version of the course a year ago and was quite pleased with how it went.

This year was a successful failure.

A successful failure? Let me explain.

My goal was to clock in under 3 hours.  The race started in drizzle and I soon locked into a pace that felt sustainable and would get me well under 3 hours.

This worked well for about 2 hours, then as some hills approached my legs felt heavy and I lost energy.  My paced slowed and there was nothing I could do about it.  I had hit the wall.

A beautiful sight
The last kilometre was torture.  Not only were my legs like lead, but a nasty head wind had kicked in.  My brisk 5:52 mins/km pace had plummeted to 8:00 mins/km.  I crawled over the finish line in 3 hours and 14 minutes.

On the positive side I learnt some valuable lessons.

Respect the distance.  30K is 30K.  It's a longway.  I'll be running 50K in about 2 months.  The respect is already building.

Fluid intake.  I didn't drink enough on the course.  Towards the end I was guzzling it down at the aid stations, but by then it was too late.

Food.  I ate crap the night before.  I ate crap for breakfast.  And I didn't consume enough on the course.

Suffering.  I learned how to run even though I was pain and felt I had nothing more to give.

In about 2 weeks I'll be running 4 laps of the 50K course on Vancouver Island.  I'll be testing out pacing and fuelling strategies as I run the 40K.

Hopefully I'll work some things out and gain some confidence for the 50K.


I am running the 50K ultra-marathon on May 10 as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation.  Find out details and how to donate here.