After the finish to our 2014 season with a 100 miler we decided this year it was time to slow things down a bit and train for some shorter races. First up on our list of races was Rundles Revenge a 50km trail race in Canmore Alberta at the Nordic center. We have a great history with racing at the Nordic Center and know the trails very well there thanks to multiple 24 Hours of Adrenalin races while we lived in Calgary. However nothing could prepare us for what was to come this year.
We arrived a few days early so that we were not rushed and we would be able to get everything sorted out and ensure we were ready to go for race day. This would be the first time the arriving early so that we did not have to rush to get ready would be detrimental to our race. The temperatures in Canmore that weekend were unbelievable. Canmore can get hot during the summer but most of the time it cools down at night. For these four days it did not. The temperatures during the day were over 30 and at night did not cool down below 20 degrees. We roasted for 3 days we could not get a handle on our hydration as most places in Canmore do not have Air Conditioning we were unable to get cooled down.
The morning of the race we arrived nice and early and had everything set we had a friend coming up to take care of Pickles. We setup a cooler and a bin full of food in the transition area and we were ready to go. Our goal was to run a smart race it was 4 loops of a 12.5km course so we did not want to go out to fast but I was also concerned that as the day went on the heat was going to take its toll.
Lap 1 went well probably too fast but I at least did not feel that I have pushed my body to hard. The course was a fun course made up of quite a bit of single track connected with double track and gravel tracks. I tripped on a root at one point and thought I was going down. I usually don’t have a problem with falling however this could have been a major problem as I put my hands out to catch myself and in my right hand was my mandatory Bear Spray. This freaked me out as if I hit the ground with the bear spray first there could be a great chance of puncturing the canister and being covered with bear spray. With this in mind I fought hard to not hit the deck and pulled out of the fall. I made a mental note of that location to ensure on future laps I would be more careful.
Lap 1 was 1:16:06. I was happy with that I felt it was going to leave me sitting in a good position to have a strong finish on this race. As lap 2 started so did the heat. The start of the lap heads up a nice technical section of trail called killer bees, this area has a lot of exposure to the sun and allows racers to bake nicely. As I got going I quickly realized that this lap was not going to be as quick as my first one. I pushed hard running as much of the course as possible. I got to the aid station at 1/2 way right on my predicted time. I was still moving well and still feeling good. I pushed out of there right away and headed into the second half of the course. As I came into the final technical section of the course I remembered the root I had tripped on in lap 1. I recognized the bridge the was right after it and once again proceeded to trip on the root. Again I did not fall however I jammed my toes pretty good and realized I was going to loose a toe nail or two from the race.
I finished off lap 2 1:31:21 pissed off with the fact that two laps down and tripped on the same root in both laps. I put this behind me and got out there for the 3rd lap. I was really feeling the heat now and started walking many of the ups. I could not get enough drink in me and I was having trouble getting my food down, I was just too hot. I pushed as hard as I could for the aid station so that I could get some more liquid when I got there I saw my split and new this was going to be a long hard last half to this race if I even got it done. I refueled and headed out onto the last half of lap 3. Heading along the trail to the section called the oven I could already feel the heat. The section called the oven is a beautiful piece of trail where there is zero tree coverage and the sun starts hitting it first thing in the morning and stays on it all day. By the time I got there is was crazy hot but I pushed thru. I found my nemesis the dreaded root that I had tripped on twice already in the race. I slowed down and walked over the root knowing full well that if I tripped on it again there would be a good chance that I would hit the deck this time.
With lap 3 almost behind me I was trying to figure out how I was going to get enough liquid in me for lap 4. As I came into transition I saw some friends hanging out at our cooler and food bin. Sweet I now have a support crew who wants to help get me geared up and back out there. This is perfect as I was pretty brain dead by this point and probably would have forgotten most of my gear for lap 4. I got them also to run some of my Eload bottles down to the Aid Station so that I could properly refuel halfway into this lap also.
Lap 3 was a bismal time of 1:59:36. knowing that I needed to get my act together to finish this I made sure to run as hard as I could and as much as I could in the shaded areas on this course. It was going to be my only way to salvage a decent finish on this race. Lap 4 was a tough go. The heat and technical nature of the trail made it tough to keep pushing. I finally made it to the Aid Station and got my second set of fuel. I left the aid station happy and excited that the end was near. I only had 6.5 km to go and then it was all over. I got lucky some of the sections on the last half the I was dreading due to the beating sun now had some shade on the sides from the trees. I was able to run along the edge of the double track trail and get out of the blazing sun. This helped me to make up time and start to feel better. I hit the section in the trees where my friendly little root resided. I saw it lifted up my foot to ensure I would clear the root and as luck would have it I caught the front of my foot on that very same root. Down I went hands and bear spray first. I hit the deck pretty hard but fortunately did not break the bear spray or anything else. I got up dusted myself off and continued up the path towards the final climb to the finish lap 4 2:06:36 . I got in just under the 7 hour mark. finishing in 6:53:41 for a 7th place finish in my category. Happy with the time considering what mother nature had thrown at us that day and sat down to enjoy a beer and wait to see Grace cross the line.
As I saw Grace coming to the finish line I ran out to get a few pics of her coming to the line. She looked like she had also had a rough day out in the trenches. It was not until after she crossed the line that I would find out how rough it actually was. She had apparently needed to puke since somewhere in lap 2 or 3. In lap 4 just after the aid station she got it done, in her words “I family guy puked right after the aid station. Then I could finally run again” needless to say she did not tell me this until after I had given her a kiss.
Another Ultra done and we live to see another day!!!