A Squamish 50 Mile experience
I was very excited to be part of the Squamish 50 Miler….albeit a 3 person relay team as the idea of doing 50miles on my own is still intimidating. I was joined by my teammates Meredith Cale and Graham Archer to form Team Kintec. There was also a 5 person and 7 person team representing Kintec as well.
Start time was 6:15am. I had stayed the night in Squamish so that I could get a good nights rest, which I did. I was up at 5am and met my team in the starting area. There was 7 legs of the race. Meredith was taking the first 3 legs(18miles), Graham legs 4 and 5(18miles), and myself I was doing the last 2 legs(14.5miles). I have never ran this distance or elevation on trails in my life…least to say, I was nervous but excited for the challenge at the same time.
One of the most challenging parts was the waiting around for my turn. And it was HOT. There defiantly was good company during the wait but I really wanted to run. By the time I got started, it was 1:30pm. Eight and a half hours after I woke up. This was another challenge on its own. I’d never run after a wait this long and I wasn’t sure how my body and hydration levels would react…I’d find out later on.
I was off. I felt good right at the start and even started passing other runners along the trails. I felt like this was going to be a good race. I think I spoke too soon. Although my energy level felt good I was very thirsty 40min. into the run. At about the 6mile portion of my first leg I started feeling cramps in my calves and by the time I finished my first leg of 9miles I had be experience bad cramps in both calves and both inner quads…which was all a first for me. Graham met me at the aid station after leg 6 and gave me some tips and encouraging words for leg 7. I stretched for a few minutes while downing some chips, coke, water, and electrolyte drinks and I even had my camel pack refilled for the last leg.
I knew this last 5.5miles would feel more like 10 with how I was already feeling. The last leg started with a bit of a climb which I gladly walked then proceeded to run. I would only get about 2minutes of running when I would feel a cramp in my calf that would make me walk for a 30seconds. I also took a 30second stretch break during this time. Unfortunately, this happened for a good 30minutes. I felt like I was hitting that “wall” that you hear runners talk about. I started walking not only uphill sections but also flatter sections which I would normally never do…I guess I did hit the “wall.” Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse I started getting G.I. pain and I wasn’t sure if it was from the electrolyte drink that was filled in my camel pack (which I thought tasted disgusting) or I was dehydrated but it really sucked. I almost lost my lunch a few times while running (another first) but I didn’t and kept on going. There was one point where my stomach hurt so much and my legs were cramping so much that I decided to sit down on a log and rest. I took 5minutes to stretch and a few more minutes sitting just to gather myself to finish. I had never felt this way in any race before and I knew that I would have to really focus and collect myself to finish this race strong…and also there was no way of getting back to my car except to run to it.
I got up and started again…slow and steady. I was passed by a few runners who asked how I was doing and gave me some encouraging words. This started to help. I was then later passed by a solo runner who I remember passing earlier in leg 6. We chatted for a couple of minutes while running and what helped me was when he said that everything in his body was hurting so much but he had to keep going no matter what. That helped me a lot hearing that from someone running this whole race on his on…I felt like I had no reason to complain only running a portion of it and that’s that got me over the “wall.” I kept a nice steady pace the rest of the way. During the last stretch of the race, I reflected back on all the firsts for me in this race and how I overcame very tough challenges. I crossed the finish line and was greeted by my teammates. That was a great sight to see. I was very pleased to have accomplished this challenge and I look forward to the many challenges that lie ahead with running and everything else that may come my way.
Special thanks to the people and volunteers involved in putting on a wonderful yet challenging race. I will defiantly be back next year. Thanks to Kintec and my teammates and to those who provided me advice leading up to this race.
I usually have a post-run pic of my meal but let’s just say I wasn’t feeling up to eating…which is very unusual for me for those who know me.
Fiona McQuillanSeptember 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm
It was one tough race! I know I have never enjoyed a coke and chips as much as I did at that aid station! Good for you for sticking it out, I hope to run it next year too.