Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet Your Maker 50 miler

Somehow I got talked into entering the Meet Your Maker 50 mile race in Whistler last weekend. Although talking me into the race went something like this...-Carolyn- "I'm doing this Whistler 50 miler next weekend, you should run it" -Randy- "Ah...okay"...I wasn't sure if I was up for 82km, but it didn't seam a far stretch from this seasons many 40-50km runs. 50 solo runners set off at the crack of dawn, 6:15am, and started the first of 7 legs that took you in a giant loop through the mountains around Whistler. The first leg was a fast and easy 10km and gave me some time to settle in and chat with a few runners. I realized that just about every runner was a seasoned veteran and had completed many Ultras and judging by there fast times, I new I was running with the wrong crowd, so I backed off when I hit the first aid station. The next section was a gnarly 21km on the famous Comfortably Numb Trail. Anyone who has run or ridden this trail knows that there are no easy Kilometers to be had as it constantly twists and turns with short ups and downs . I Stubbed my big toe 15 times on this section, more than the last two years of running added up! By the time I got out of this part of the trail I was so happy to just put my head down and not worry about all the rocks and roots. The third section was a 10km climb that took me from the base of Blackcomb straight up 5,000' to almost the top of Seventh Heaven and then descended down to the Peak to Peak Chair. When I got to the top I was now 7 hours and half way at 42km into the race. Although the weather was perfect for running, the top of the mountain was a cool 8 degrees and I started to shiver in my sweaty T-shirt. When I got into the warm Tram ride for the 10 minute transfer from the top of Blackcomb to the top of Whistler, I had those first thoughts slip into my head about how easy it would be to quite. I figure this is the part of the race that now goes from a physical challenge to a mental challenge. It's actually easy to physically keep the legs going hour after hour as long as you can control those mental thoughts of why you can't or shouldn't keep going- that's the tough part!! The fourth leg at 8km long takes you on a quad pounding straight on descent from the top of Whistler to Whistler Creekside. It was so steep in some sections I was not sure if it was better to run it fast and get it over with or control my speed to save the Quads- I took the later approach which seamed to pay off later in the race. At Whistler Creekside, after a 5'000' descent, the next 12km section started off by turning around and going straight back up the mountain- ouch!...It took me a little bit of time to get the wobbly legs to move again, but eventually they did, as I was now focused on getting to the end of this section where the first cut off time was at. I thought I had lots of time to get there, but as I started to look at my watch, the 3:30pm cut off time was coming up fast. I ended up running - what felt like a 10km time trail pace- hammering to the next aid station getting in at 3:27pm! 3 minutes later and my race would have been over. I actually caught up to a few runners I hadn't seen since km5 and they were looking a little beaten down, so this gave me the much needed "mini boost" of adrenaline to get my ass moving again. The sixth section started off with a steep switch back climb that seamed to go on and on and on...The only thing that got me through this section was the thought of a large Coke at the next aid station. After 11hrs and 72km of running in the mountains I got to the aid station and there was no Coke!...I think I either cried or looked up to the sky and muttered something like "why me?"...One of the other runners offered me a cup of his personal stash and I gladly chugged back a glass of hot Coke- that must have been sitting in the sun. Within 30 seconds of downing the Coke and a Mars Bar, I popped out of my "feel sorry for yourself" stupor and said to the other competitor who was happily sitting in a chair "Lets go! Time to finish this f#&ker" The last 10km seamed to go on and on, but the smell of the finish line kept my legs moving, even feeling not to bad on the climbs, until I got back to the finish line at the Whistler Olympic Village in just over 12hrs.  Two Thirds of the runners either dropped out or didn't make the cut off time so I was really happy to just get this 50 miler off the  bucket list. I was a really well marked beautiful, but challenging course that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a great 50miler. I am sure they will deal with the difficult cut off times next year as I think this was the only issue runners were not happy about.

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