Another weekend, another race.
This past Saturday, I ran my longest race distance — the Iron Legs 60K Ultra near Bragg Creek in Kananaskis County. The Iron Legs Mountain Races offer 60K, 50-miler solo (and relay), and 100K distances.
A couple of years ago, I ran the 50-miler as a part of a two-person team, so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the course. Specifically, I remember hurting on the downhills because my right hamstring was screaming bloody murder. (I’m forever thankful to the runner who handed her poles to me during one particular sketchy area.)
My main goal (as always) was to finish the race without ending up in the ER.
We started not so much bright and early at 6 a.m. Runners in the 100K had the option to go down to the 60K distance because of the smoke from the B.C. wildfires. Smoke lingered in the air, but I thought it was much worse in the cities. A few more cautious runners wore surgical masks.
Higher the elevation, the more I could smell the smoke in the air. The elevation gain for the 60K was more than 2,780 m (9,120 feet). Honestly smoke didn’t really factor into my race. All things considered, I felt fine.
The course gave us smoky views of the mountains as we started on the Elbow Valley Trail to the Powderface ridge, over Ford Knoll, up Ford Creek trail, over the backside of the Powderface Saddle, along the Elbow Valley trail down to the Sulphur Springs trail to the finish line.
Whew! Yes it was as long as it sounds. Fortunately, I had some company on the third, and arguably the most-challenging, leg with Mark Stevens from Edmonton who was running the relay.
It was a quiet race for me as I didn’t see many runners on the course, so it was a good test of will and determination. Pushing my limits wasn’t part of my game plan. I’ve been using these longer races to get used to being on my feet for long stretches as part of my training for my 100K. I finished under 12 hours, which is incredibly and dreadfully slow, but I was happy to finish strong. No major hiccups or real injuries. That’s a win.
Essentially, I’ve been training for the Iron Horse 100K in St. Paul since December.
Boy, am I ever tired.
For the past three or four months, I have travelling on holidays and the weekends. Throw in balancing a full-time job and other commitments and things can get overwhelming.
Thankfully, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a little over a month before my big race. However, my final tune up race is Lost Soul Ultra 50K in Lethbridge Sept. 8.
I love this race. The running community in Lethbridge always do a bang up job putting on this great race weekend.
My goal for this race is to set a new personal record (PR) for this course. Even if it is only by 10 minutes, I am going to try my best.
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