Saturday, May 16, 2015

DNF'ing the 2015 Elk Beaver 50 Mile Ultra

There were a couple of factors that led to me DNF'ing the Elk Beaver 50 Mile Ultra last weekend - shoes and heat. Though I had put in nearly 900km of training over a 16 week period leading up to the race, I found out close to the event that my Hoka Bondi 3 running shoes were deformed. I had run with Hokas in the past and had had no problems, so when I bought a pair online at a month before the race I figured they would be fine, but while training I developed some strain on the inner side of my knee, and a slight lower heal pain. I went to the local Extreme Runners shoe store to get some guidance. They took a look at my Hokas and quickly pointed out, by sitting them side by side on the counter, they were a deformed pair. I had to make some quick decisions, so I purchased a pair of new insoles for an older pair of trail Hokas (Mafate Speeds) and hoped for the best.
This year I was blessed to have my wife, Olivia, along to help out with the aid station. She took some video of the start too, as we all departed at 6:00 a.m. from Elk Lake Park. In the cooler hours of the morning I made good time and completed 30km in just over 3 hours. While the heat of the day hit us, I developed a blister on my left foot. I switched out my shoes at 40km for another pair of old Hokas to see if that would ease the blister pain. It did, but then my knee started to get inflamed while pushing to the 50km mark. I stopped longer at my aid station, drinking more, icing my knee, and I even took a swim in Elk Lake to cool off, since we were right beside the beach. With my core body temperature cooled down I was able to complete another 10km. But my knee was too inflamed by 60km to continue in the heat, so after this stage I DNF'd.

Lessons learned: Check running shoes for deformities, no matter how trusted the brand. Be prepared for all types of weather.

My wife and I shared the same motel as Arielle Fitzgerald (the eventual winner of the women's 100km race) and we drove her to the start with us in the morning so she didn't have to get a taxi. We helped her out as well during the ultra, sharing an aid station, giving her gels and S-Caps to help her when she looked like she was dragging. I was able to get video clips of the top 100km finishers including Adam Kahtava, and some shots taken after the race. You can find it below:

With this being my third time participating in the Elk Beaver Ultra I was pleased to see some people had returned. Armond LeBlanc, president of the Canadian Ultramarathoners Association, and manager of the Canadian ultra running team, was there. I had run some hills with him before in the Cumberland, last year, so it was good to see him again. Two of the Wounded Warriors I ran with last year were there as well. Allan Kobayashi competed in the Elk Beaver 50Km event and finished strong with a time of 4:30, placing first in the Men's Open category.

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