Jul 15, 2008

Knee Knacker Race Report

Knee Knacker race Report

Knee Knacker is a 50km trail run race. It begins in Horseshoe Bay and follows the Baden Powell trail along the North Shore Mountains to Deep Cove. This is one incredible trail with many steep climbs and technical descents. It’s not your average 50km: It’s better. If you check out the results page, times are about 1hr slower than most runners average 50km times. It truly is an exceptional race: the course, the volunteers, the organization, the support, and the racers. I didn’t quite understand why good friend Kim Steed was so bummed he didn’t make the lottery into the race this year until I crossed the line myself.

Now to tell my story….
To begin with, for some unknown reason I never got really excited to race this race. For me, it was just another race among a list of many races to do this year. Therefore, my training never really focused towards this particular race…so leading up to the race I began to feel nervous and unconfident in my abilities. Going into the race I really wanted to set my goal on time rather than placing as “time” is a controllable goal whereas “placing” is not (we can not control other racers). My goal was to be between 6-7hrs.

6am: the race begins. I find it’s such an interesting feeling standing on the start line before a really long race as it feels a little daunting to think how far you are about to go. I started off at a good steady pace. My heart never took off so I didn’t feel tired at all. The climb to the top of Black Mountain was steep but kind of fun with a boulder section, a skreet section and some pretty knarly rooty/rocky sections. I love climbs like this one as upon reaching the summit, a glance around makes you realize the hard work was all worth it. The views were breathtaking…It’s too bad we were racing as I could have hung out there for awhile. I did a 360 glance around, smiled and was off. Once at the top we had to run through some mud and snow in order to reach the 1st water station. From there, it was steep switch backs down to Cypress Bowl. Although my downhill running is improving I definitely have a mental block (fear of falling) that is preventing me from just opening up and rippin’ it down. I got passed by a couple of folks at this point. From here to Cypress Bowl I was feeling great. Two women caught Sasha and I on the snowy cross country trails but I didn’t mind. I was feeling great and felt as though this was going to be a killer race despite a little lack of specific training and confidence.
Coming down cypress Nordic the trail is great but steep and rocky. There was about a group of 5 of us running down not too far from Cleveland Dam when for me my ‘race’ was suddenly going to change. I took a pretty spectacular superman fall that shook me up pretty good. Luckily, nothing too major happened, just some scraps and bruises, minimal physical damage…but the mental battle I would face from here on out would affect the next 1.5hrs of my race. Not too long after my initial fall I stumbled again only to amplify my mental uneasiness heading downhill. I reached Cleveland Dam (halfway) a little frustrated.

I ran up Nancy Green Way(I was angry) making up ground on the group that left me behind after my fall but couldn’t quite catch them all (I would eventually catch a couple of folks). Between Grouse and Lynn Valley is where I had most of my problems. Despite trying to push myself through the downhill sections for the first time ever I had some stomach problems. What proceeded was 3 bathroom breaks within 20 minutes. The good news is after my last stop I felt fantastic. From Rice Lake to the end I was generally running completely on my own which at points I found difficult. In such a long race sometimes you slow down, forget you are racing, get lost within your thoughts. Some of these help get you through painful moments but generally end up slowing you down.
I managed to sneak by a couple of people close to the end and finished strong. The end was a pleasing sight. Deep cove provided us with a spectacular view, welcoming crowd and the knowledge and satisfaction of completing such a demanding race.

I am lucky to have some great supporters that help me accomplish the many adventures I find myself trying to conquer. I would like to thank Kim Steed and Steed Cycles for all his support, Marc Campbell and Helly Hansen for providing me with a wonderful HH top and for all of my friends and family fort he constant support.

Kelsey and the volunteers you made this race one of a kind. Before the start I didn’t think I’d be saying this but “ I can’t wait until next year!” I truly can’t.

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!

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