Sunday, 15 May 2016

Seaton Soaker 50K

 50K was all that stood between me and 2 weeks of taper before Sulphur 50 mile.  A mini dilemma the night before trying to decide what to wear on top.  In similar weather at Mississauga, I wore a long sleeve and vest was fine except when I stopped to eat after the race.  But the consensus was to wear something short sleeved so I went with that and arm warmers.

The rain really wasn't a factor and I quickly got warm and ditched the arm warmers.  The first kilometer was paved trail/road but then we got in the forest and it was stunning.  Even though Seaton is only about an hour away, the terrain was different and looked "exotic" to me, accustomed to running in the escarpment rocks.

The first half was otherwise fairly uneventful.  Of course there were muddy spots, but most of it was runnable.  Spent less than a minute at the aid stations, supplementing my spam musubi and mashed potato cakes with orange slices, ginger ale and Coke from the aid stations.  

The second half is where things got interesting.  The 25K was an out and back with a little 3K split at the end to cross the river and loop back to the start/finish area.  I remember at Sulphur 50K last year I walked a LOT but kept things comfortable.  At times, the sun would peek through and it felt like it was about to get hot, but then suddenly the sky went very dark and a hard, cold wind started up. There was a girl who was following me, not very closely, but she was walking when I was walking, and running when I was running, and that made me very uncomfortable.  So I stopped (and she stopped) and I asked her to please pass me.  It was nothing against you, girlfriend, I just would rather be last than have a shadow following me.

1st water crossing and my trail stalker.

As I approached the 12.5K turnaround for the final time, a old man in a neon rainbow hat (whom I have seen at many trail races) said to me, "nice...but you better hurry if you're going to make the cutoff." I looked at my watch and it was around 2 or 2:15 pm..almost 2 hours to make it 12.5K.  On a really slow day I do 10K in approximately 1:30.  Still, his passive-aggressive compliment/motivational talk (?) planted the seeds of doubt in my mind and I texted Agnes (who was with Lori at the 7K aid station) that I would drop if there was no way to make the cutoff when I passed through the aid station for the final time.

I started feeling really pressured to keep running and not walk whenever I wanted, which I really hated but I guess in hindsight was a good thing.  Came through Lori & Agnes' aid station with about an hour left, chugged some "magical Mexican shit" (lime agua fresca) and kept running.  

Approaching the 7K aid station for the 2nd time.  Photo by Lori.
The final aid station was packed up when I passed it, and the rope going across the river was gone.  The first time across the river I held onto the rope just because it was there, but I was thinking, "oh no big deal, I've done tons of water crossings without ropes and been fine, so I'm sure I don't need it anyways."  The river bed was covered with medium to large rocks, I slipped on one of the larger rocks and fell.  Not a huge deal to be soaked with 3K left to go, but it was coooooooold!

With 2K left and 15 minutes left on the clock, I ran as fast as I could. "It hurts up to a point, and it doesn't get any worse."  Thank you Ann Trason, for that piece of wisdom.  I thought about Rainbow Hat Man making that comment and I was reminded of the time in university when every week, for an entire semester, the piano professor told me I would surely fail my jury..which I ended up getting a fairly decent mark on.  Why was I letting the negative voices get to me? So what if I am last? So what if I miss the cutoff? does that mean the fact that I ran 50K get negated? Hell no!

The finish mat was packed up when I crossed the finish.  Even by Garmin time (which I stop at aid stations) I had missed the cutoff.  But I had a cheering section at the finish line: Robin, Amelia and Agnes! 

finishing with a smile, even.  Photo by Amelia.

I'll continue to call it DFL, thanks.

I think there are some people I know who would be completely mortified being DFL.  I am totally OK with it.  I covered the distance, I got my run in and I beat everyone who was sitting on their arses on the couch.  The very back of the pack is where I feel the most comfortable at races, I had fun...and as they say, I saved the best for last.  


  1. Ron Gehl was the man. I asked him when he came in if you were still out there. Rope gone for everyone on second loop too! Gkad you finished and didn't find it too hard. I had a hard time running in the mud lol. See you af Sulphur.

  2. 50k is an amazing accomplishment at any pace. Kudos to you and your finish line cheerleaders!

  3. Great blog post! This sounds like a very interesting race.

    I admire you for finishing! I wouldn't have started. So you beat me too

  4. You made it!
    I remember reading that in some ultra races in the States they have a special award for whoever finishes DFL. I think you definitely deserve special kudos for sticking it out!

    1. I got a bottle of "tropical" wine (that I've been afraid to drink) for being DFL at the Oracle back in Feb.

  5. Great run see you at Sulpher

  6. Love the DFL! (What did your shadow say when you asked her to pass?)

    1. she apologized for upsetting me.