Dirty Girls 2011 - Barbara Hicks

This race consists of a 10k loop in the woods at Mansfield Outdoor Centre. You sign up for a time limit and see how many loops you can complete. Loops are measured in quarters. A description of the trails is:

10k loop on single & double track forest trails, Folks describe this course as deceivingly tough - hilly too - all runnable except for the big nasty hill that whiners whine about.

Last year I helped my friends Kinga and Stephan overnight at the 5k aid station. I thought trail running at night seemed like an interesting challenge. This year, the DG organizers found it in their hearts to run the 12 hour race from 8pm to 8am. So I registered.

Training went reasonably well. I missed the occasional run, but have logged some big weeks and been consistent. No really long runs, though, the mileage has been spread through the week. I managed to get a few nighttime training runs in to test out my lighting system. Those were some of my favourite runs this year. :)

Sunset around 8:45 pm, so with an 8pm start time, I knew I wouldn't be able to get a conplete loop in before dark.

Sunrise 6:15 am

Nutrition plan:
I figured I needed about 250 calories per hour. Over 12 hours, that works out to 3000 calories. That would be three containers of Ben & Jerry's but the B&J would likely melt, so I went with:

500g of boiled, salted sweet potatoes

3 honey stinger waffles

2 peanut butter and honey sandwiches

3 gels (2 carboom strawberry kiwi and 1 clif vanilla)

2 packages of Sharkies (citrus squeeze and fruit splash)

2 lara bars (cashew, cocoa coconut chew)

10 perogies (cheese and potato)

I figured that was a good variety of food with enough soft stuff to use if I had stomach issues (which usually isn't a problem for me, but better safe than sorry when it comes to runnig for 12 hours).

Used my camelpak and filled it with water once a lap, adding nuun tablets (yay — electrolytes!)

My goal was 6 loops. I did 4.

Loop 1: Started in the daylight, with a pack of people. I took a wrong turn almost immediately because the log with caution tape looked like more fun to leap over than to realize the tape meant don't go that way. Okay, wron turn out of the way. This loop went well. When I go tthe 5k aid station, Tracy an Stephan told me I couldnt have any of the sushi since I was just on my first loop. Meanies. Oh well, I'd be back. Dusk started to settl ein on the second part of this loop. I took a few stumbles and one full on horizontal landing fall. There's a reason the race is called Dirty Girls.Any semblance of decorum gone, I continued on. First loop done in about 1h30

Loop 2: Dark was settling in, but I was still moving although a bit more slowly. My lights were good, but the stumbles on the last loop meant I was shortening my stride a lot to play it safe. This slowed me down and also meant some hip soreness. I added in some power wlaking on the hills since that seemed to stretch our the hips. On this loop, I got some sushi. This loop took about 2 hours.

Loop 3: An overcast sky meant it got quite dark, but it was still pretty steamy. I was starting to feel some twinges in my left knee and the hip tightness came and went. Everyone was quite spread out at this point, about 100 people over 10k, so I was alone in the dark for quite a bit of that time. I put a podcast on my ipod for part of this loop, the only time I used it. It was a good distraction, but it also drove home how long the loop was since an hour podcast only lasts an hour. On this loop I saw a critter that I think was a badger. It was round and fat and acted like a raccoon, but the markings and face were all wrong. Definitely not the porcupine others reported seeing. This loop was a bit more than 2 hours.

Loop 4: Bit of light rain on this loop. Mostly power walking with some running thrown in. Each time I ran though my knee was not feeling good. When I got to the 5k aid station, I begged an Aleve off Tracy. I don't like doing that in races. Stephan gave me a nice hot pancake with maple syrup. Yum. :) The Aleve started kicking in and I was running better, but I could still feel my knee complaining. As I reached the start finish area, I knew a fifth and sixth loop were probably not a good idea, so I dropped.

Kinga was there, all cleaned up since she had made the call on her 24 hour race a bit earlier. We chatted for a bit, then I hosed off and crawled into my tent for a nap. There's something to be said for having a tent 50m from the finish.

I woke up in time to see my friend Cathy (we'll call her The Enabler) come across the line strong, finishing her first Ultra — 120km in under 24 hours.

There was time before and after the race to chat with a bunch of the regulars.

Things that worked:

nutrition plan. I think I did pretty well planning that out. I didn't end up touching any of the packaged stuff, but I was only out there for 40k.
The forest at night is magical and I did cover 40k

Room for improvement:

endurance is a never ending project and things change on the day, but as always, run more hill repeats. Or some. (least favourite workout - suck it up, princess)

Next up:

- I have a really, really busy month coming up, so Haliburton is definitely out of the question. I'm registered for two more Five Peaks Races and doing Vulture Bait 50k would mean bailing on one of those. Plus, it is probably a choice between that or a fall marathon, not both. I don't have to make any decisions though until September and won't until I see how the next month goes.