Thursday, April 15, 2010

Diez Vista 50K: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sometimes you need to get your @ss kicked to know how much you need to improve...

"Well this sucks" I said to myself as another runner ran past me somewhere around the 37km mark...There was nothing I could do - mentally and physically - I was gas tank was completely empty. I suppose there wasn't much else to say at the time - but one thing was for sure...the Diez Vista 50 had just kicked my butt in gear!

It's always easier to analyse one-self after the fact. Then again, you would be surprised at the revelations that come up when you're walking for 7kms along a powerline...

Before I take a deeper look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, let's go back 4 weeks, so you can better understand the situation.

After a fantastic 'Advanced Week' of training in France, capped with one of the most technically challenging races I've ever entered (up the slopes of Ventoux) - I was flying! Looking back, I think I barely had my feet on Canadian soil and was already planning my season leading up to the Death Race. "What can I enter that will get me ready...? What's this Diez Vista 50 all about? 50 kilometres...hmmm...Why not..."

Fast forward 3 weeks later, add in a couple of good weeks of running including two 3hr+ back to back runs to get some volume in the weekend prior, and there I was on the start line of DV50! Was I well prepared for the event? Not really. Did I jump the gun in entering a 50km race this early in the season? Most likely, yes. Would realizing any of this ever change my mind? Probably not...

As I said, it's always a bit easier analysing after the fact.

Diez Vista 50: Check out the website for more info and results

Here's a full recap my DV50...The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as I lived it! To help you follow along, I've added the course profile (above) and map for you to follow along (and feel the pain!).

~Pre-race: Feeling good, legs feeling peppy, breakfast food is digested and I'm ready to go!

~KM 1 - 2.5: The pace goes out easy. Gary Robbins (GR) led the way, with Chris Downie, Jacek Doniec, Mike Palichuk and I all tucked in behind, content to follow.

~KM 2.5 - 8: GR led the way up the first big climb - I tucked in behind. The climb was steep but I actually felt very comfortable. My only issue was that my pack was leaking all down my back/shorts due to a missing bladder clip, which I had rigged with ducktape. So I ended up taking my pack off a few times to solve the issue - letting GR gap me a few times - but quickly pulling him back in once I was back on track. These pre-season races are always a good oppotunity to test new gear as you don't want this kind of mistakes to happen during your big focus event!

~KM 8-12: Super fun, very technical decent! I was happy to have had some good technical running under my belt in France - not to mention a lot of downhill running. The beating my legs took would have taken me out much earlier had I not had some decent training. I was quite comfortable behind GR, content again to follow a few strides behind as our feet danced over the roots. However, we ended up exchanging the lead a few times as we each would overshoot the course and go off track - felt great!

~KM 12 - 25: This flatter section was quite rolly, and GR was pushing a steady pace - Again I followed. Body still felt good, I was eating well and felt in I thought.

~KM 25-30: First signs of fatigue on this section as we cruised on some open gravel roads. GR was running smooth and I was pushing to hold onto the flatter sections. Every little hill (believe it or not) was a welcome relief as the pace would slow.

~KM 30-32: The start of the big out/back climb let me know that the end was near...uh oh...My 'wheels' just all of a sudden fell off!

~KM 32: The accordion breaks...PV lets GR go...

~KM 32 - 32.5: Not good...

~KM 32.5 - 35: My pace slows more and more...down to a jogging pace - At this point, I knew my race was over both physically and mentally. GR passed me on his way back out - he had already gained 4-5min on me at this point... I cheered him on. (Note: Gary went on to break his own course record - Congrats Gary!). The feedstation at the turnaround was a welcomed site. I ate a bit of salty food, sweets but wasn't feeling super hungry. It wasn't a bonk that I was experiencing, it's simply lack of volume, the realization that I had not trained enough finally sunk in. I debated asking for a ride back...but I didn't.

~KM 36 - 43: I walked most of this section, with a few short stints of jogging. CD and JD caught me in this section, both looking fresh...I didn't even try to hold on. At this point, The only thing I had on my mind was finding a ride back to the finish line!

~KM 43 - 44: After stocking up with 50 M&Ms, 4 glasses of Coke and having a good chat with the folks at the Feed Station, I started up the last climb. It was actually a nice hike, with the birds were singing and all...

~KM 44 - 48: Just about the same time as the M&Ms sugar rush started kicking in, Mike Palichuk came up behind me, so I tucked in - He was worried about another runner coming behind him so I offered to 'pace' him down the final hill...why not! So away we went. I even felt like I was actually racing again - Mike was on pace for a PB, I was psyched for him!

~KM 48 - 50: At the base, reality hit again (that or my sugar rush died)...I cheered on MP to hammer, and I returned to a steady jog, happy I didn't have to trade a set of my Exo Calf III for a ride back, and thrilled to have made it to the finish line!

So there you have it...From amazing highs to scary lows...

The DV50 was an amazing race. Kudos to the George and his crew for putting on a fantastic event! I loved every second of it (yes, even the powerline walking section!). The ultra-world is a great community of trail runners and they welcomed me with open arms. Aside from a bruised ego, the event was a huge learning experience for me, and only left me wanting more.

Besides, at least now I know which plates to spin!

A peaceful moment on Sasamat Lake, the night prior to the race. I always make a point of running the start/finish of the course to familiarize myself with the area.

Up we go! A steady and steep grind greeted runners in the first 10km - oh, and you had to come back down this boulder-fest in your last 5km!

Halfway up the first climb - The course went up to the top of the ridge and followed the Diez Vista trail, which (I'm sure) would have displayed some great views of the Coast. But I wouldn't know, Gary didn't want to stop and look. Guess I'll have to go back.

Nothing like a Bratwurst to help dull the pain of a bad crash - Ouch!


Jude said...

well Phil... you looked good... no matter what happened... just keep growing your beans and spinning your plates for the big one 'the Death RAce' , YahOOooo!

you are AWESome!


Phil said...

Haha - Thx Jude. Lots of work to do, but I'll get there. Was psyched to read about your huge gains over the past year. Impressive running - keep it up!

Dom Repta said...

Welcome to BC Ultras....punk!!!! hahahaha nice

Derrick said...

Good to get that first one under your belt and learn a lot from it. You'll be in a good place for CDR.

Phil said...

Thanks Derrick - I'm definitely going to be squeezing in as many 'learning experiences' over these next months to be ready to go!

Gary Robbins said...

It was great running with ya Phil and I have no doubt you'll have all plates spinning nicely in time for The Death Race.

Just to clarify though, I would not have objected to stopping for a look n pic at the top of the Diez climb, lol!


Phil said...

GR - Actually, I did stop and took a quick pic on the ridge...hence one of the gaps on the way...haha ;)

Nothing like dancing down a steep technical track to feel alive. Thx for the great run - looking forward to more!