Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flagline 50km Race Report

Like my race, this report will be short. The Flagline 50km in Bend, Oregon was supposed to be my big fall race. I had trained hard for it and was hoping for a good result. Unfortunately, for the two weeks leading up to it, I suffered from horrible diarrhea, nausea and vomiting among other unpleasant symptoms.

It seems I contracted something nasty while in Italy for the World Mountain Running Championships earlier this month. (I've since found out that half the members of the Canadian and USA teams that participated are sick with the same undiagnosed illness. One of our Canadian guys even ended up in hospital!)

As we were going to Bend anyway for Dave's adventure race, I decided to wait and see how I felt closer to the weekend before deciding whether to race or not. (Due to fire activity in the area and concerns about the air quality, there was a possibility that the race would be cancelled.) I didn't feel terrible race morning so I threw on my gear and headed to the start line, which was located at the base of Mount Bachelor. The weather was perfect and the sky was clear and smoke-free.

Many exceptional athletes live and train in Bend, and as Flagline was the USA 50km national championships this year, a number of the top American runners were there. I got in a good 20 minute warm-up and was still feeling okay so I was optimistic that I could pull this thing off even though I hadn't been able to eat or run much in weeks. I'd be well-rested and light on my feet, right? Wrong!

Without much ado, the race was underway. I actually felt pretty good for the first 10km of the race, which was a nice mainly single-track trail through the woods climbing up to some scenic lookouts. Over the next 10km, my energy started to fade until there was nothing left. My legs had no race in them and my stomach was starting to feel that oh so familiar queasy feeling. I made the wise - albeit difficult - decision to drop at 25km and then jogged and walked another 5km back to my car. Even though dropping out of the race was the right thing to do under the circumstances, I'm still grappling with it. Quitting never feels good even if it's for the right reasons.

I'm feeling a bit better this week but am still not quite right so I'm going to go to the doctor today and get some tests done so I know exactly what I'm dealing with. For now, my ability to train is limited because my energy is low and my stomach is volatile. The only race left on my calendar this year is The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler in December. Hopefully I will shake this bug soon so I can get in some good prep for it. Until then, my focus is simply getting healthy.

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