RACE REPORT BY P.A.C.E. ATHLETE: DAN STRAW
It was with some trepidation that I decided to sign up for my first
ever 50 mile race this year.
The race I opted for was the Meet Your Maker(MYM), which along with 50 miles of trail running also includes 3700 metres of ascent and 3700 metres of descent around the trails of Whistler,BC. Myself and my support team(Rachel and Harry) arrived in Whistler friday night, with the race starting at 5.00am Sunday morning.
Saturday morning was race check in followed that evening by the pre race dinner and mandatory meeting. There was over 300 athletes running in either the solo or team categories. The dinner was great, Pasta and salad, and a bar,which i abstained from,it was then off to bed to try and get a few hours zzzz's.
Slept pretty well considering, and was out of bed at 3.50 am, I always find it difficult to eat at this time in the morning but the protein shake did the trick. It was then a 10 minute walk to the start area.
At 5.00 am we were off, the first leg was 10km in the dark on smooth trails, I kept the pace nice and slow, and felt good, and rolled into the aid station with 40 minutes to spare. I quickly refuelled and was off again, the 2nd leg was 21km on a technical mountain bike trail known as Comfortably Numb, this was fun apart from the Wasps,(stung on the back of both knees) I arrived at the next aid station with 1hr35mins to spare, Rachel sand Harry were waiting for me here with trekking poles and fuel.
No time to hang about as leg 3, is 10km's and 1150 metres of climbing. This is when things started to go wrong. I had decided to freeze my protein drink for the climb thinking it would defrost quickly in the heat, and so would stay nice and cool,how wrong i was. It basically remained an undrinkable block of ice for 3 hours. About 100 meters from the top of the climb in a forest I "bonked", my heart rate was going through the roof, legs were cramping and head was spinning, I decided to sit down for what felt like an eternity but was probably minutes, ate some food and then went again, luckily 10 minutes later I was out of the trees and it was all down hill to the Cable Car, I lost quite a bit of time here and only made the cutoff with 30 minutes to spare. Grabbed some food from the aid station,ate, and did some stretching in
the Cable Car and got ready for a 1150 meter descent over 8kms.
The run down was quick, and it was good to see the support crew at the aid station with pizza and coke, i picked up some time on the descent and was now 1h15 ahead of the cutoff. It's amazing the healing power of Coke and Pizza, I felt great and started the next leg of 12km and 400 metres of climbing in a positive frame of mind. I didn't see another runner for the next 2hours, and it was good to arrive at the aid station where the support crew was waiting with another can of coke. After that the last 2 stages flew by,(even though it took nearly 4 hours) 20km and 700 metres of climbing, over a mixture of terrain, to arrive at the finish with 1hr15mins to spare. Harry(my son) joined me to cross the finish line and Rachel,Pizza and more coke were waiting.
For a first 50 miler this is a great event, the scenery and variety of trail is spectacular, the aid stations were well stocked, course well marked and marshalled. The one big concern is reaching the cutoff at the top of Blackcomb Mtn, I tried to keep my pace slow and steady throughout, but even then I only had 30 mins to spare.
I would recommend Injinji Socks to anyone running any distance, I had no hotspots or blisters, which is great for 14 hours on my feet.I run in Icebreaker and Arcteryx clothing which again works really well with no rubbing or chaffing.
My fuel consists of Hammer Perpeteum(when not frozen),Endurolytes and Anti Fatigue Caps.
Apart from that, sign up for 2014, you won't be disappointed Big thanks to my support crew, and all the coaches and runners at P.A.C.E.