So, I really don't know where to even start to describe this race... I guess I will do a chronological race report, then share some of my thoughts.
I woke up bright-eyed and ready to go at 3:50am!! ( I didn't even wait for my alarm) I was stoked, and just wanted to get to the start line. Corey and my dad got my breakfast and hydration ready and before I knew it we were off to the start.
I toed the line with 2 of my fav guys (John McAlister and Dale Draaistra), I was totally ready to get this race underway.
WE WERE OFF!! The lead men in the 50 mile and the 100 mile took off ahead, I considered going with them, but decided to run with Lisa Van Wolde (amazingly talented runner, who was in the 50k race) and my buddy Alan Murphy (Houdini - my new name for him cause he disappears and reappears at the most random places during races).
The first 6k was on the dirt road, it was easy and fast, really got my legs spinning and warmed up for the technical section coming up. We entered into the Normac Trail, and immediately started flying through rocks and roots, with lots of little climbs. Everything was running smoothly for me at this point! UNTIL BOOM, I tripped and fell onto a huge section of pointy, sharp rocks!! I landed on top of my handheld bottle and it exploded EVERYWHERE!! UGH! "No worries, Laura, shake it off". I didn't let it phase me, I got right back up and settled back into pace. I was running well, but MAN did my knee hurt!! (I had no idea how bad it actually was).
After Normac we headed out onto Poacher's Trail, which is an amazingly technical trail with TONS of climbing, it's awesome... well, it was awesome till I fell AGAIN!! OUCH! Keep moving Laura, keep moving. I kept the pace strong and stayed light on my feet the entire way. I was pretty much by myself at this point, but that didn't bother me. I knew I was in the lead (of both the 50 mile and 100 mile women, and I just wanted to keep it that way).
At 15k I entered AS#4 and saw my dad, Corey and Pat. They gave me a new handheld, some mountain dew and sent me on my way.
I can't remember exactly where it was on Krista Trail that I encountered the bear, but it was within the first few minutes of being on the trail. This bear was relentless and would NOT back down!! I tried everything to get it to move (HECK, I WAS IN A RACE AND NEEDED TO GET GOING), but it stood it's ground. For the first time ever, I was actually terrified during a bear encounter. I didn't know what to do, so I laid down on the side of the trail and waited for the bear to leave me alone. It took about 3 minutes of sniffing, but eventually the bear lost interest in me...
* nothing else eventful happened in this section. I was running SCARED after the bear encounter and SURELY picked up my pace substantially!
I was relieved to come into AS#6 and hug Corey!! That bear encounter SUCKED!!
After what seemed like forever on a mixture of grassy trail and annoying dirt road we entered into the King James trail. I remembered HATING this trail last year... not because it is technically hard, but because it is one LONG SUSTAINED climb after the other!! I don't know how, but I think the number of hills actually multiplies each time you pass through.
I reached the turnaround point, and looked at my watch, I wanted to see how big of a lead I had on the other women. I was extremely surprised when I passed the woman in 1st place in the 50 mile race, I had roughly a 30min lead on her!! CRAZY... maybe I was going too fast?!? Should I be ahead of the lead 50 mile woman when I'm in the 100 mile race?!?! UGH! When I passed the 2nd place woman in the 100 mile race I knew that I had at least a 45min lead, which gave me great comfort. I was still running strong and feeling very comfortable (well, except my knee, it was killing).
I'm bunching all of these kms together, as they are all a blur to me! Nothing eventful happened, except I finally took a look at my knee. It was bloody and disgusting. The volunteers at the aid stations asked me if I wanted to clean it up, I said no, and just decided to ignore it.
I came into the 50 mile split and actually was the 1st woman in (in both the 50 mile and 100 mile race!), this was insane to me!! How on earth did I beat the 50 mile runners, had I taken it out too fast?? No, I felt great!
I wish I could give some details about this stage of the race, but I honestly don't remember much. I know that I was still running strong. power-hiking some of the uphills, but still flying on the flats and the downhills. I felt great... well, as good as I could possibly feel 110km into the race!! My legs were tired of climbing and mentally I was getting a little tired, but overall I was positive.
FINALLY, my pacer was allowed to jump in!! Yaaaay!! Corey's energy and positive attitude was such a pick-me-up, I instantly felt re-energized. (I love him! I have the best fiance)... Corey understood that I needed to walk the steep uphills on King James trail, but I promised him that I would run everything else! It was so great to have him out there with me. On the way back to aid station #6 I saw the 2nd place woman again, and I knew that my lead had increased.
My awesome friend Pat Chartrand jumped into pace me at this point. He kept me smiling, kept me moving and made me laugh! It was great!! owe him HUGE for this one. :)
Corey jumped back in at this point and I was starting to get very emotional! My feet were killing, my knee felt like someone had taken a cheese grater to it and I was JUST DONE with this race! Luckily, I only had 15km to go... That sounded like 1000000000 miles at that point though. The uphills were torture and the downhills had me afraid of tumbling with every step. Thank goodness I didn't fall at all in the later stages of the race!
My motto became: Run when you can, and use it! I tried to push wherever I could, I gave it 120% at this point. I was emotional, but kept telling myself "you have worked so hard for this, don't let anyone take it away". Corey and Pat were amazing, they kept me moving, kept me positive and helped me to believe in myself.
When I entered the home stretch a new-found energy came over me! Corey said to me "go babe, run, you've got this" and it just gave me that little extra push to get me to the finish line!
I was thrilled when I crossed the line in 22:23! 1st place female for the 2nd year in a row!!!!
A HUGE shout out to Dale for killing the men's race in a time of 18:36. He was totally in a league of his own!! (Dale also won at Sulphur, he's on fire this year)
A huge thanks to my Dad, Corey and Pat!! This victory isn't just mine, it's all of ours!
Also thanks to my coach Ray Zahab for always believing in me :)
Lastly, thanks to my sponsors: Inov-8, CW-X, Drymax, Tho'z Bars, and Hammer Nutrition.