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September 5 Newsletter

August 29th Weekly Update

August 22nd Weekly Update

Strava Status

August 15th Weekly Update

Wakely Dam Ultra – Race Report

Wakely Dam Ultra – 55K Trail Run in the Adirondack.

Unsupported. Point to point. “The first aid station is the finish line!”

Louis discovered this race while looking for something to do between our two main triathlon events this year (Half Ironman in Tremblant in June and Half Ironman in Placid in September). With about an hour lead time, prior to it selling out, Louis mentioned the race to me and Paul and of course we did not hesitate to sign up. It sounded like a good adventure and that’s how we roll!

We started our training back in the winter using some local races to build some mileage and stay in shape (Chilly Half and Around the Bay). As the weather got better and the trails dried a bit we started running off road on the Bruce Trail (some old routes and some attempts at new routes).

If you want some local trail running routes, here are some of the runs we did:

https://www.strava.com/activities/925143786
https://www.strava.com/activities/964658863
https://www.strava.com/activities/975424081
https://www.strava.com/activities/997013010

We did train in the mud. 🙂

 

We had lots of fun off the road

Especially Paul!

During training, we didn’t do particularly very long runs, but we wanted to get used to running in unfair hilly conditions of trail running. One run was early in the spring, right after a rain storm and the mud really tested our patience, strength and perseverance. After about 2 hours in the mud we were very tired and called it quits and worked our way back to the road. In retrospect, this was one of our most important training runs; 30+ KM into Wakely, we were glad we did that run!

Paul and I are rookies when it comes to trail running so in addition to training we needed quite a fair bit of equipment – Who doesn’t like buying more gear?? Louis guided us and by the time we arrived at the race we were ready to tackle the challenge. We all had a running vest which allowed us to carry a fair amount of water, nutrition and supplies as there were no aid stations from start to finish. We opted during planning to carry a limited amount of water and brought MSR Trailshot water filters from MEC (we had two for the 3 of us) to replenish our fluids at many of the lakes/rivers on the route. We packed food and other supplies included cliff bars, salt tablets, band aids, toilet paper, bodyglide, pain killers, insect repellant and gels. We also all invested in trail shoes as they offer better grip in wet conditions and oh boy did we need the extra traction.
Louis owns a pop up trailer so we decided to camp not far from the end of the race at Point Comfort Campground in Adirondacks state park. The drive to Piseco New York on Friday morning was uneventful. We got out of the GTA by just after 6AM and cruised through Kingston and 1000 islands bridge to cross the border. Camp was just a couple hours away once we got to New York State.

Our trip

Luigi’s Pizzeria

On route we stopped for lunch at a place called Luigi’s Pizza in Boonville. If you ever go around this place, don’t stop there. The food was awful, the restaurant was very ugly and it’s one of those places you know you don’t belong as soon as you walk in. It ended up being the blunt of most of the jokes for the rest of the trip, so it deserves a spot in our story – it was fun and will remain an integral part of this trip.

Shortly after Luigi’s, we arrived at camp in the early afternoon, prepared everything for the evening to come. Louis had pre-researched the camp, and although the camp itself wasn’t great, except for a crazy lone traveler from Quebec who was camping beside us – we had an awesome private site overlooking the lake.

Louis hard at work. Thanks Louis for your truck and trailer!!

After camp was set, we drove to the race site – Piseco Airport (the finish line) to get our registration kits and race swag as well as meet with the race organizers and some other runners. It looked like a good bunch of people and you could feel the tension building up. In talking with some of the people there who had actually already raced this before that we realized we were in for a challenge. The word “mud” and the expression “blowdown” kept coming up a lot! We found our later what it meant (referring to blown down trees making the actual trail impassable)

Blowdown (photo credit: Dan at breakhearttrailrunning.blogspot.ca)

 

Piseco Airport

Pasta Dinner

The race organizers and volunteers prepared a pre-race carb load pasta dinner for all participants and families. It was a simple but tasty dinner, with lots of home-made goodies that Paul enjoyed very much (He has such a sweet tooth).

After the pasta dinner, we made our way back to camp to put the final touches to our preparation and packing. Packs and outfits were made ready in no time and we were relaxing around a camp fire. We went to bed early as the alarms were set for 3:45am.

Surprisingly we woke up naturally – all 3 of us for some reason, our alarms were not needed. We quickly got ready, ate breakfast and made our way to the finish line back at the airport where coffee and the schoolbus were waiting for us. The bus took us to the start line – a 60+ minute drive! This ride took forever it seemed and really highlighted how far a 55km run was to be! We got to the start line with about 30 minutes to spare at 6am. As with any race, final washroom breaks and the addition of bug spraying took place and in no time we were waiting for the start of the race.

This the 17th year of the race and it always has been capped at 65 runners; something to do with the New York State Park Authorities. I believe 62 made it to the start and we all lined up for the customary pre-race picture.

We were each wearing a Half Ironman Muskoka t-shirt from a different year 🙂

The whole gang ready to start

Off we go

At 6:30am, the race director started the countdown and we were off. We got into this race not knowing exactly what the terrain would be like. We heard it would be a bit technical, a lot of beautiful scenery and very muddy.

The first 10K (about 65 minutes) were very runnable and we were loving life. The temperature was nice and cool and there were still a fair number of runners around us. We tried to settle into an easy pace that would work for all 3 of us. The further we got into the race, the more remote and the muddier it got, more mud, more technical, and more hashed the trail became. There were lots of stop and go’s and a lot of blow down trees across the trail. We kept working our way ahead and made it to 20K which is where the elevation is at it highest point during the race (most of the climbing happened between 10 and 20K). We were a bit slower in this section (about 85 minutes) there were the first nature breaks, food break and the terrain continued to get harder. Between 20K and about 34K (about 2.5 hours) is where the scenery was the most beautiful. We took several long breaks to enjoy it with mandatory picture stops. We crossed many lakes during this portion of the race. Unfortunately this part of the trail was also the most wet, but so far the temperature was still very good and the bugs were still away.

Refilling our bottles with filtered water. The water was safe and tasty.

Ned ran a bit with us and took this picture for us. Thanks Ned!

A fancy Panoramic

We crossed the Marathon distance of 42KM after about 6.5 hours. We were starting to get a bit tired and it was showing – a few pain killers were ingested around that time. 🙂 But we knew then we were close to the end.

Just past the marathon mark. We don’t look so bad. 🙂

But as we had hoped, the closer to the finish line the better the trail would be – this proved to be true.
The last 10K were mostly downhill but still very technical and still very muddy. Did I mention there was mud?

We were told there would be some orange tape indicating when we were to make our way off the trail to make our way to the finish line. About 2K left at that point. I had planned to take a picture of the tape but I forgot. To be honest we just wanted the race to be over at that point. My feet were soaked and I just wanted to get rid of my shoes. By this point in the race the sun was high, the temps were hot and the infamous bugs were showing up in force. The deer fly traps we were given in our race kits for our caps were working well. I don’t think any of us got bitten during the race. We were very surprised.

Deer fly trap worked nicely. Louis caught the most. 😉

We arrived at Piseco Airport and knew we still had to run around the runway, who knew how long runways are!!!. We put on our best smile on and crossed the finish line all together.

Ready to cross the finish line

We knew there would be a hose in the finish area, I went straight to it and got ride of my vest and soaked shoes/socks. I washed my legs and feet and it felt awesome. The cold water on my toes was awesome.

We cooled down a bit, we looked at the results and were impressed by the finish time of the winner (5h30). For us it was almost 3 hours slower (8h22). Even though we ran together and stopped for pictures and food breaks, we don’t think we could run this race in 5h30m, kudos to the winner! We will be back to do better now that we know what to expect.

We enjoyed the post race meal, had a hamburger, a few sweets and lots of yummy drinks. We socialized a little with a few finishers and watched many more runners come in. We changed into our FMCT singlets and put on our shiny new Team Panda FMCT visors and took another finish picture.

FMCT Crew Representing

After that we packed and made our way to camp.

The entire area around the race, finish line and our camp had limited to NO network/cell phone coverage. We managed to find a tiny pocket of 3G network between the finish line and our camp that was literally about 3’ wide. We huddled there as long as it took to upload our watch activities to Strava. The slow network and our exhaustion did not help, it was hilarious, but there was no way we were leaving till we got our files uploaded!! Eventually we got all 3 our activities on Strava and we could finally relax and be proud of our accomplishment.

It did not happen if it’s not on Strava! 🙂

Our campsite was not far from the lake and as soon as we arrived, we just jumped into the lake to refresh and wash off the mud and sweat. We felt much better after.

Shoes took a beating

We made our way to the only restaurant in the area called the Oxbow Inn. Several runners were there already. They recommended the pizzas and that’s what we ordered. Obviously, we were hungry. We did not last very long that evening and I don’t think it took us long to fall asleep that night. In the morning we made breakfast, packed and drove back.

Our next adventure will take place not far from this trail race as we will be in Lake Placid to race the Half Ironman.

Thank you for reading!

Louis, Paul and Zindine

August 8th Weekly Update

Member Bio – Marc Fitzner

This month we’d like to introduce you to Marc Fitzner.

Growing up in Bolton I participated in whatever sports I could. If I wasn’t participating I was watching sports on TV. I loved sports, especially every 4 years when the Olympics rolled around. My Dad was a runner, and as a teenager I often would run with him until my knees told me to stop – those long cortisone needles were brutal! I stopped running for 25 years.

Around 2009 my wife Paula got me running with her. She loved it, I hated it. I started at a 7 minute kilometer! 10 and 1’s. Oh the pain! At that time I was also swimming a few times a week at the Wellness Centre in Brampton and met a guy who had done triathlons. Sounded kind of neat! I only biked casually.
I ended up signing up for a Try-a-Tri in Milton shortly thereafter. First race of the year and the water was freezing. But I did it! Success! A triathlete was born.

More Try-a- Tri’s followed and then Sprints. One race I came out of the water near the front. On the bike people zoomed by me. One girl, as she rode by, commented how good I was doing on my Canadian Tire Raleigh bike. I got the hint.

Eventually I got involved with FMCT around 2013 through introductory seminars – ”Transition practices for beginners”. How to improve times, equipment, techniques, and nutrition. That followed with group activities – bike rides, pool swims, open water swims, simulation days, new friends, and lots to learn.

I have now graduated to the Olympic distance. Super-fast I am not, but I get involved and love it! Thanks FMCT!

August 2nd Newsletter

July 25th Weekly Update