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Training Log Archive: STORM

In the 28 days ending Feb 28, 2013:

activity # timemileskm+m
  racing1 16:30:00
  running6 7:05:00
  spinning4 3:05:00
  swimming3 2:20:00
  Total14 29:00:00

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Thursday Feb 28, 2013 #

running 1:00:00 [3]

Last night's "sloppy" became tonight's "slippy" (and dangerously so). Sorry winter-sport-lovin' folks, but I am so done with this noise - bring on Spring!

Wednesday Feb 27, 2013 #

running 1:25:00 [3]

18km road run (make that 'slush' run). Wow it's sloppy out there...

Sunday Feb 24, 2013 #

running 1:25:00 [3]

18km road run. Slow and sluggish - feels like it's gonna take some time to get back on track.

Saturday Feb 23, 2013 #

running 55:00 [3]

Easy road run

Saturday Feb 16, 2013 #

racing (time approx.) 16:30:00 [5]

Hard to sum this one up quickly - long story short was that it was both an amazing and frustrating experience in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The island of Ometepe in Nicarauga is just phenomenal, and the racecourse pieced together all the best of it into one ass-kicking package. A perfect "adventure vacation" in the Tropics if the all-inclusive routine isn't your thing.

Fuego y Aqua consists of a 25k, 50k, 100k, and a "survival run" which can probably be best compared to the Spartan Death Race obstacle run. All routes involve climbing at least one of the two volcanoes on the island - one which reaches 1394m, the other topping out at 1610. Each is located on either ends of the island, and both are almost perfectly cone-shaped, which makes for a very interesting aerial shot...

There were around 300 racers between 4 events, although the organizers were very obviously most focused on the Survival Run, as this was the first year it had been offered (the RD apparently does work with Spartan Race in the US). Some interesting observations in the days leading up to the race re: the culture of obstacle racing in America and how fast it's spreading. We shared shuttles with one of the Survival Runners and spent time chatting with him - Browner very slyly asked if he had ever tried an "adventure race." Without hesitation, he launched into a list of long-distance obstacle runs that he had been to. As though building AR brand identity wasn't challenging enough already...

The 100k started at 4:00am, and because our accommodations were on the other side of the island (not intentionally planned - another long story), my shuttle left at 2:15. Browner was doing the 25k, so she got to sleep in until a luxurious 5:00am. Starting in the dark and running through the nearly-empty roads was pretty cool experience in itself - although I knew the temperature would spike pretty quickly as soon as the sun rose, the refreshing breeze off the lake made for a very comfortable first 20-ish kms. So far,so good.

I had an uneasy feeling going in about course marking given the number of race routes and the fact that 3 of them started at once. It proved to be well-founded, as racers were falling off-course at a number of key junctions in the dark, where a great deal more was needed than a few blue ribbons. I made it through without too many issues, but had a few choice words in areas where there were no markers to be found for hundreds of metres at a time. In fairness, it's an awful lot of ground to cover and the organizers aren't local, so marking it all as well as it needed to be would be no easy feat, but between that and the fact that only 2 people finished the Survival Run (which apparently was brutal beyond reason), there were a lot of very unhappy participants by day's end.

The climb up Maderas (the first of 2 volcanoes) was incredibly tough, but we were rewarded at the top by climbing into the crater, which was just spectacular (Maderas is the dormant one of the two). The route down was somewhat AR-esque, as it featured the infamous "jungle gym" section, that was essentially a marked bushwack through thick vines and roots. At the bottom was the 50km aid station, and despite suffering a bit on the climb up in the quickly increasing heat, things were generally looking good.

The next 30km though were pure misery - the temperature had reached over 40 with the humidex, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The sun sits very high here leaving few opportunities for shade, and I just cooked in the heat. By 70km I couldn't run more than 100m without stopping to restore my heart rate. At 80km we began the steep ascent up Conception. Despite the shade of the jungle canopy, I continued to blow up with each step. At the top the volunteers at the aid station had set up a pup tent, and I needed to lie down in it for 5 minutes before starting the route back down. I only had 11km to go, but things were about to go from bad to worse...

Half-way down is when I started getting sick - I had been fighting it for hours, but my stomach would have no more. Past experience has taught me that despite the immediate relief, I would only have another hour or so before things would start to shut down. By the time I hit the bottom, I was starting to stagger, and it wasn't long before I needed to periodically lie down on the empty trail. Finally, I spotted a streetlight ahead for the town where the finish line was...or so I thought.

The 100k and 25k races merged at one point, and despite diligently keeping eyes out for course markers in the dark, I accidentally followed the wrong markers at the junction where the two courses met. Apparently there were supposed to be volunteers stationed there, but they must have left to take a break when I passed through. After some very broken Spang-lish with a group of kids, I realized that I was now another 4km away from town. As I staggered off, a local volunteer heading home from the race site on a motorbike spotted me. He explained what I had done, and told me to hop on - I had nothing left in me to argue. At the very least, the ride in the dark through the sketchy trails on the back of a dirt bike was a pretty cool experience!

Looking at maps afterwards, I determined that I did in fact cover the whole of 100k, but it doesn't really ease the sting of a NOR ranking. Despite walking the last 30k, I had miraculously held 8th spot up until the point where I veered off-course. It took two bags of saline to get me to stop dry-heaving, so while emptying my stomach tends to be a fairly regular occurrence when I run long distances in the heat, I had clearly reached a level of dehydration beyond anything I've experienced before.

I can't say that I'd ever do this race again only because I'm clearly not cut out for hot-climate ultras, but for those who are, I'd recommend it in a heartbeat (with the warning that course markings are a factor to consider). Ometepe is an absolutely amazing setting for a racecourse, and I wish now that we had allowed ourselves more time here. Probably should be careful what I wish for though - the ferry back to the mainland is now an hour and a half late!

Wednesday Feb 13, 2013 #

spinning 45:00 [3]

Stupid spinning, but in the local gym in San Juan del Sur, where we're staying tonight before heading to the race site on Ometepe tomorrow. This was followed by my first ever yoga class at a studio that Browner found. Although I didn't dislike it as I thought I would have, yoga has been forever destroyed for me, as I'll never be able to replicate in Canada the experience of a wide-open thatch-roof studio with warm ocean breezes blowing through!

Tuesday Feb 12, 2013 #

spinning 40:00 [3]

Stupid spinning. Had some time to kill at the hotel in Managua before our shuttle arrived and didn't feel confident going for a random run in a city known for tourist robberies. No trouble working up a sweat...

Note

Race prep for Fuego y Agua in San Juan del Sur - life's rough...

Photo 1

Saturday Feb 9, 2013 #

running 55:00 [3]

Easy road run

Friday Feb 8, 2013 #

swimming 50:00 [3]

Stupid spinning

Note

Elevation profile and course map for next weekend's Fuego y Agua. Two fat volcano climbs and lots of flats, mixed with some jungle running. Gonna be interesting...

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Thursday Feb 7, 2013 #

swimming 45:00 [3]

Boring swimming

Wednesday Feb 6, 2013 #

spinning 50:00 [3]

Stupid spinning

Tuesday Feb 5, 2013 #

spinning 50:00 [3]

Stupid spinning

Monday Feb 4, 2013 #

swimming 45:00 [3]

Boring swimming

Friday Feb 1, 2013 #

Note

UTMB is making me weird - just uploaded my medical certificate and got a huge adrenaline rush out of it. I've done half a dozen expedition races that were probably 5 times as long as this race will be in some cases, but for some reason it feels like this is the biggest thing I've ever attempted.

Very impressed already by the race organization thus far - according to my online account, my qualifying results have already been verified. There are literally thousands of people registered for the various race routes, but someone has already been to my account; copied my result file links; reviewed and approved them - all before the end of January. Death Race couldn't even post a list of registered racers before June when their event was sold out within the same timeframe. Makes you wonder...

Registration paid, results verified, med cert uploaded. Now all I need to do is book flights, find a place to stay, and...oh - start training?

running 1:25:00 [3]

18km road run

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