I sit here a little sore from my run yesterday up and down the hills of North Vancouver. I have had little time to blog about running recently but that does not mean I haven't been out exploring.
Coming off the TC10k (34:07, 22nd overall - two seconds slower than 2006, but two places higher) I felt good about running. I had been sickish prior to the event and as a result was unsure of how I would perform. The funny thing about the run was that last year I was shocked that I was where I was, waiting for my body to implode; however, this year I felt I was cruising and comfortable. A year can make a big difference. The TC was the last of the "fast" races for me and it was now time to focus more on the trails.
I have concentrated a little more on trails of late in preparation for the Iceland 55km race on July 14th. Doing my result stalking (looking at results from the Iceland race and then looking for results of the same people at other "regular" distance events), I have determined that I should be looking for a 5 hour finishing time (if everything goes well). Since my longest run ever borders on three hours (and that includes a fair amount of walking time), I figured I needed to push myself past the three hour point to see what was going to happen. For this adventure, I would need the help of one (crazy) Nik Southwell.
Nik and I started from the Thetis Lake parking lot at just before 7:30am on Sunday May 6th. I figured if there was anyone crazy enough to run a loop from Thetis over Bear Mountain, over Mt. Finlayson, through Gowlland Tod to the dump to West Saanich to Prospect Lake Rd to Francis King to Thetis and back to the parking lot, it would be Nik. We started out, me with my new running pack full of water and food and my handheld water bottle and Nik with, well, with nothing. I mean he had a singlet and short shorts, but nothing else. "I am training my body to not need water," he said.
"Training your body to die?" I inquired. But the laugh would be on me.
Bear Mountain passed uneventfully as did Mt. Finlayson. We had fun bombing down the backside of Mt. Finalyson before crossing over to Gowlland Tod.
It was a picture perfect day and I was having a blast. Not only is Nik an insanely talented runner, he is one of the funniest people I know. Not so much "ha ha" funny, but "omigawd I can't believe you said/did/tried that" funny. I am glad he is on my side, or should I say, I am on his side. I had banked on a 4 hour time for this run, having no idea what was really going to happen.
What was going to happen started on the extended downhill out of Gowlland Tod, approaching McKenzie Bight; I felt a slight twinge in my quad as I was descending, and decided that this was not a good sign. Knowing my propensity for cramping I slowed up and hoped for the best. The best did not happen. As Nik and I started into the the dump from the McKenzie Bight parking lot my quads let go. The cramp was debilitating as calf or hamstring cramps tend to be, but rather an annoying stopper.