Sunday 28 June 2015

Blackfoot Ultra 50k 2015

What a great run again in the beautiful Cooking Lake/Blackfoot Provincial Recreation area! First off, thanks to organizers of the Blackfoot Ultra and all the volunteers which did an amazing job taking care of everyone on the trails! The weather couldn't have been better: cool, a bit windy and overcast. Originally signed up for the 100 km race (4x 25k laps), I decided, two weeks before race day, to move down into the 50 km race. The reason being was my initial hunger for distance couldn't match the amount of time and preparation required to sustain a 100 km run, in fact, my training mostly consisted of running after my kids :) Kidding aside, I was able to put in a few longer runs here and there but you can't call this proper preparation in order to have a fast race. However, my main goal was to enjoy being outside and able to run.

Sanja took me out to Islet Lake Staging Area where the race starts. The 50 km race started at 9am, while the 100 km and 50 mile racers were already on the course at 5:00am and 6:30 am. I had friends running in the 50 k (Oleg and Chad), 100 k (Darren, who had an amazing race) and the 50 mile (Mevlut) and it was great to see them on the course. It was chilly in the morning and I was debating whether or not to wear arm warmers. Eventually, I went without them and it was a great decision. Once you are in the trials, it gets warm fairly quickly. So we took off and things went good. The first lap went well and I clocked 1:58 h. I saw that Oleg (who at that time I thought was first) wasn't too far head of me which kept me going. Right behind me more people and the two leading women (Stephanie and Deb).

Trucking along at BFU 2015. Photo credit: Ian Holmes on FB, @irrationalcarny on IG and Twitter.
At that point I didn't feel too bad. No signs of cramps yet and I was running fairly fluent. As always, I tried not to spent too much time in the aid station, only filling up my bottle and move on (although I started to look forward to the finisher hot dogs). I am not really sure where I started to fade but at some point it became really tough to not start walking. In order to not completely blow up, I decided to walk up the hills hoping to keep it going on the flats and downhills. It sorta worked, however soon I got passed by Stephanie. I tried to stick with her, which worked well for about a few km, until she realized Deb is on her heels. Then she put the hammer down and was gone. Not much later, Deb also passed me and I kept pushing to the finish coming in 5th overall. In the finish, I learned from Oleg that he wasn't first. In fact, the first guy had a lead of 27 min over Oleg and finished in 3:30h!!! Crazy stuff. Anyway, hot dog time! Only a few minutes later Sanja, her mum and the kids arrived and I was so happy to see them. It was a great day for me and I'm happy with the result. If you are interested in the course and details about elevation, check out my run on Strava.

Happy to be done! Photo credit: Bob McGregor
P.S. For some reason, I never wrote a race report for the River Valley Revenge Ultra I did in 2014; and doing it now feels kind of too late. So the least I can do is to say if you are interested in running past the marathon distance you should come to Edmonton and give this race a try! Sanja and I both did it (Sanja this year) and it was a blast. Amazing trial running in the "largest stretch of urban parkland in North America"!!

Happy trails,

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