Diez Vistas 50 km

Diez Vistas 50 km

Date: April 5th, 2014
Location: Belcarra (Port Moody), BC

1 year ago I was at the same race ready to run my 2nd Ultramarathon in 3 weeks (2nd Ultramarathon ever) and I felt great, ready, and prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was my first ever major injury during a race that left me in a lot of pain and agony, and although I completed it, I was on the sidelines afterwards. Read my race recap from last year here.

So, here I am now in 2014 running the same race but with some unfinished business. I never had a goal time last year or even this year. All I want to do is complete the race without any injuries and a smile on my face. Of course, secretly, I wanted to better last years finishing time of 8:21:28 and as long as I didn’t get injured then I should be able too.

This year was also different because this time I had extra support and motivation as I was joined by 11 other fellow runners from our Kintec run clinics. This made the entire experience a special one. Lots of different training partners, lots of support, and most of all the best group of people to share an extra amount of time without in the woods.

My focus on the race was a steady pace up till the 1st aid station (which I did) and a slow and steady pace on the technical downhill sections of the Diez Vistas trail (where I got injured last year), and faster sections for the rest of the way when I could.

It was about the 9km mark where I got hurt last year and that would be the metal roadblock for me. If I said that I wasn’t thinking about last years incident during that section I would be lying. But I tried really hard to focus on technique, breathing, and a steady pace; I also focused on ignoring the other runners around me as I didn’t want to get caught up in a pace I wasn’t comfortable with, even if it meant other passing me (which did happen). Let’s just say that once I passed the 9km mark I felt like I already succeeded! But I wasn’t out of the woods yet…as there were more miles ahead of technical running. Once I completed that entire DV trail section I had the biggest smile as I literally yelled for joy! I felt like a winner! but wait, I still had about 35km still to go.

The only surprising and negative thing at this point was calf cramping…which I’m prone to getting but not this early. I even had a 37km training run without and cramping so this caught be by surprise. This actually stayed with me in some form throughout the race but rather than let it distract me I put mind over matter and somehow was able to ignore it for the most part.

In the kilometre, before aid station #3 Ryne Melcher was there, the same place as last year, where he “convinced” me that I could finish the race with my injury. This time he and I joked about how I made it this far unscathed as we ran together into aid #3 (more of me running and him gasping for air behind me.

Coming into aid station 3 (about the 21km mark) was an exciting part for me. This is where I knew our Kintec cheering section would be. It was nice to see familiar faces at this point. You get reenergized from all the support and it feels like you are just starting out for a nice long run of 29km at this point.  I was a little sad that this year there was no soup at this station but that’s ok I had my chips and pop, plus Powerbar gel blasts to keep me going.

After a quick pee break, I was back on my way. Julie Enos, who was trading paces with me from the start had caught up to me at aid #3 but I took the lead over her shortly after; it didn’t last long as she took the lead again shortly after an unexpected “aid” station just after aid #4 (28km mark) that was a very supportive cheering section. I recognized running extraordinaire and blogger, Solana, who can be found on www.solanaleigh.com/ and quickly introduced myself and said a quick thanks for cheering us on.

Once again on the uphill section (I’m slow uphill) Julie passed me and this time for good. I would see her again, as I did other Kintec runners Jason Dmyterko and Brad Enos, on the out and back section of Eagle Mountain (I was headed out as they were headed back–those 2 guys are too fast for me). I did manage to make up some ground on Julie as I neared aid #5 but I knew that by the way, she looked that I wasn’t going to catch her again. That’s ok, it’s not a race, right? Maybe I can blame my calves for this one?

My favourite part was on the way back on Eagle Mountain because I knew that it was the final 15km or so of the race; but what made it even more special was that I knew I would see all my running friends along this section. I gave each and every one of them a hug as we passed each other. It was all of their 1st Ultra and I was super excited about that.

Back down I went and on my way to the final aid station before the final climb up part of the DV trail and then downhill through saddle ridge trail and the final km of Sasamat lake before approaching the dreaded set of stairs to the finish line (who puts 100 steps to finish a race??) In that last kilometer I slowed my pace down not because I was in pain or too tired to run but to reflect on the last 49km, to reflect back on all the training with our group, and to reflect back from last year. I feel very blessed that I was able to get through this, this time injury free.

As I approached the stairs right before the finish I saw Neil at the top telling me to hurry up as he snapped some photos. I knew he wasn’t ahead of me on the course which meant only that he had to bail out early. Don’t worry Neil, I’ll be there to help you get through the training and get it done next year!

I was greeted by Jason, Brad, and Julie as I crossed the finish line. Offical finish time of 7:32:54. No fake smile this time around…it was a genuine grin from ear to ear. Because I was wet during the 2nd half of the I was looking forward to changing into dry clothes and getting my post-run hot dog and coke.

I hung around afterwards to wait for the rest of our crew cross the finish line. I was happy to see them all complete the race with a smile on their face. I gave my round of congratulatory hugs before we posed for a final group shot.

Once again another great race and event put on by Wendy and her crew. I highly recommend this event. Great finisher prize with the arm sleeves too! Thanks to all the volunteers who had to brave the rain and stayed out on the course for several hours. Your support and encouragement along the way is a bigger help than you can imagine to us runner and for that we thank you!

Gear check: Favourite pieces and most important to me: Brooks Cascadia 9 with Kintec Custom Orthotic (my feet never felts so comfy from start to finish). Nathan Hydration Pack (2 litres of fluid + holds up to 10 gels and gel blasts in the pockets alone). Polar RC3 GPS watch with heart rate monitor (highly recommended for training and race day)

Shout outs to all my running friends from our Kintec Run Clinics: Jason Dmyterko, Brad Enos, Julie Enos, Carmen Abubakar, Caresse Selk, Lisa Wong, Kim Morais, Shanon Kesslar, Gillian Wark, Sharon David, and Neil Schasny. You guys are my inspiration and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to do this with!

Also important to thank the crew at Impulse Sport Therapeutics (Port Moody) for the treatment to keep me strong and injury free.

Special thanks to my wife Lorie who gave birth to our 2nd child, Lauren, and was still strong enough to support me with all my long runs and training while taking care of both kids.

What’s next: it’s sort of my offseason but Tough Mudder in June is the only thing for now until the fall season of races where I’ll be doing Rock and Roll Marathon in Vancouver and Las Vegas.

Ermin Pagtakhan
Kintec Race Team

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