Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011 Race Reviews - Part 1

Last year I had my best running year so far: 4 wins in 100 mile races, 3rd and a PB at the Badwater Ultramarathon, and PBs in the 50K and 6 Hour. Each race was very different and a wonderful and unique experience on its own. I have learnt so much which will help me mastering any obstacle that may lie ahead of me and I'm looking forward to the next adventures!

April 23: Jerseyville Fat Ass 100 Mile

After a long and hard winter of training and putting in a lot of miles I was ready for the first race of the season - The Jerseyville Fat Ass 100 Mile, a race organized by my good friend Monica Scholz (yes the famous Monica, world record holder for the most 100 mile races in one year and also one of my running heroes). I went into the race with the goal to break my own Canadian 100 mile age group record of 17:52, and hoped to run under 17:30. The key to succeed was to run a steady pace on the flat 5k out and back course. I felt great for most part of the race, though a did have some low points were I had to walk. I won the race overall and finished in a time of 17:33, a new Canadian 100 Mile age group record. Thanks so much to Monica for organizing the race and to Sharon Zelinski for measuring it out for the ACU (Association of Canadian Ultrarunners).

On my way to break my own 100 mile record

April 30: Pick your Poison 50K

After a few days of recovering from my 100 miler I was at the starting line of the Pick your Poison 50k. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed being out there with all my running friends and with no pressure to run a fast time. It took me 6:51 and it was a lot of fun - every minute of it. After the race we sat in the sun and celebrated with a beer. Thanks Jim Morrison!

May 28: Sulphur Springs 100 Mile

This was my 4th time at the Sulphur Springs 100. I really like the 8 loop course and it's close to home. We had a lot of rain in the weeks before the race and the trails on race day were very muddy and slippery. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to the race and also to see my friend Keith Straw (the Tutu Man) again. It was a lot of fun and I had an amazing time out there. The only low I had was during the end of my 7th loop when Ken Niemimaa lapped me on his last loop and I realized that I still had another one to go. However, as soon as I was on my last loop the low was gone and I felt strong till the end, and finished in a time of 20:44, my fastest time here so far (4th overall, 1st women). And it was the first time I didn't have a pacer during the night. Yes, I'm not a "chicken" anymore!

Walking the uphills

June 11: Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 6 Hour

The last 3 years I ran this race in preparation for the Badwater Ultramarathon. The course is a 840 metre paved loop along Lake Ontario and around the walls of Fort Frederick in Kingston which makes it the perfect race to test different types of fluid and nutrition. It is usually hot and humid with no shade which is another bonus if you are training for a race in the heat. This was my 6th time here with the most kilometers in 6 hours so far: 62.554 (5th overall, 2nd women).

June 18: Niagara 50K Road Race

This is my favourite 50k road race not just because of the free beer at the finish line. The scenic course follows the Niagara River Parkway from Niagara-on-the-Lake past Fort George and on to Niagara Falls and back. At the turn around you get a full-size view of the stunning Niagara Falls. I've seen the Falls many times before but every time it's still breathtaking.

In the beginning I felt a bit tired and had to walk the uphills but I kept myself going knowing all those uphills will be downhills on the way back. Yeah! With about 5K to go I realized I had a good chance to break my previous 50K PB of 4:25:49 set back in 2003 and the andrenaline kicked it. I pushed myself as hard as I could and finished the race in 4:24:25. WHOOOAAA!! More than one minute faster than 8 years ago (5th women, 17. overall out of 162 runners). This was by far my best time at the Niagara 50K, and the beer at the finish tasted better than ever!

July 11: Badwater Ultramarathon

This was my absolute best Badwater Ultramarathon so far: 29:52, 10th overall, 3rd women. Team Swiss Miss rocked! Thanks so much to the best Badwater crew on the planet: John, Jeff, Adam and Bernie I could not have done it without you!

Team Swiss Miss before the start