Thursday, February 7, 2013

Race Review 2011 - Part 2

August 6: Dirty Girls 6 Hour Trail Run

And then there was Dirty Girls again! My friend Diane, the race director always adds a very special touch to the race, starting with the race kit, the finisher medal, and the arm sleeves or race t-shirts with the ambiguous imprint (for the male runners only) "I did the Dirty Girls".

In the previous four years I did the 12 hour race but this time I decided to run the 6 hour race as a "tapering" run for the Beast of Burden 100. The course is a 5 mile/8k loop, with time measurement at the 2.5k, 5k and 7.5k marks. The weather was perfect - hot the way I like it! I felt great until the last loop when suddenly my legs started to cramp. Even though, I felt still strong I had to slow down and I could hardly lift up my feet. To make matters worse I hit a root and took a hard fall down the side of the trail. My whole body cramped up and I was screaming when a lady from Houston who was in third place passed me. She looked at me and just kept going without even asking if I was ok. Usually trail runners are very friendly people and we help each other. So I could not believe she didn't say anything which made me really angry. I pulled myself up on a little tree, stretched out my legs a bit and started to run the downhill section to the 7.5k time station. No way this woman was going to beat me. All I have to do was catch her before the time station and I ran downhill as fast as I could. I passed her with a few meters to spare and finished 7 seconds ahead of her. Yes! I have to say even though I had to walk back to the start/finish line because my legs started to cramp again, it felt pretty damn good! Sometimes even a lady can be very tough!

Running incognito

August 20: Summer Beast of Burden 100

Two weeks later I was ready for the Beast of Burden 100 - another hot weather race! Friday evening before the race we got together after dinner with Kino whom I met at the Jerseyville 100. He introduced us to his friends Marco, Brian, Jacky O and Jacky C. It was very nice to make some new friends and to talk race strategies.

The next morning, before the start it was great to see two of my Badwater friends (Tony Portera and Lisa Smith Batchen) again and to get a chance to catch up.The Beast is a flat 25 mile out and back loop course, and there is no shade at all. The race started at 10:00 because according to the website, the race director likes to sleep in. It was a hot and very humid day and the humidity was definitely a challenge. I have to say I prefer the dry "Badwater heat". Nevertheless I felt pretty good for most of the race and thanks to my lovely husband who was crewing and pacing I was lucky to finish before the thunderstorm and the rain started, and finished in 18:03 my 3rd fastest 100 mile time.

At the beginning of the race with Charlotte Vasarhelyi

Winners with a big smile. 
Congrats Brian Hsia! First place in your first 100!

Note: Ultrarunners are some of the most amazing and nicest people out there. I would like to share a very special note I got after the race. Thanks so much Brian. It means a lot to me.

"Thank you Iris. Truly you are the Swiss Miss and what your skirt said was true. I was fearful of the Swiss Miss (even ask the aid station people). I was in and out fearing you would come at me. Thank you for the competition, you brought that out of me as I was trying to have fun with the race and experience what being an ultra marathoner was just about. I hold you all up in high regards: Valmir, David and yourself, you guys are running legends and gods (mere mortals) of this sport and you exemplify what running is (body, mind and soul)...the best thing about it was all of your personalities. Thank you for allowing me to have a memorable experience that will live with me forever and I look forward in seeing you at other races again..."

September 10: Haliburton Forrest 100 Mile

This was my 5th time at the Haliburton 100, my favourite race in the Ontario Ultra Series, and I was hoping to run sub 24 hour again. The year before I just made it in 23:52. This time I wanted to run a little faster than that. Having such an amazing running year, I was confident I could do it. 

It was a beautiful day and I felt great from the beginning. The trails were pretty muddy due to the rain in the weeks before the race but that didn't take away any of the fun. At around 90K I caught up to my friend Kinga and we ended up running together all the way to the finish line and finished in a time of 22:45 (1. women, 7. overall). Thanks so much Kinga! I had a blast out there with you!    

Heading out of the "Submarine" aid station

Finishing together with my friend Kinga Miklos - girls rock!

October 1: Run for the Toad 50K

George and Peggy do a fantastic job year after year organizing the Run for the Toad. For anyone who is looking to do their first ultra this is the race. The course is not technical and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. Before the race start I got the chance to meet one of the top female ultrarunners - Ellie Greenwood. What a an amazing woman!

I was hoping to finish in under 5 hours but missed it by 8 minutes and finished second in my age group. All in all I had a great time out there. At the award ceremony I also got presented with ACU award for my new 100 Mile age group record I set at Jerseyville 100 (17:33). Thank you Nadeem and Armand!

October 15: Vulture Bait 50K

This is the last race in the Ontario Ultra series and also my last race for the year. My plan was to finish in under 5 hours but this time I missed it by 9 minutes :) Nevertheless I had a great time out there! Now it's time to take it easy for the rest of the year and give my body the well deserved rest. See you next year!