Monday, July 1, 2013

Harding Hustle 50km beat the heat!

Its going to be a HOT ONE! that is what I remember thinking when I saw the weather forecast for Modjeska Canyon. But that did not phase me too much as heat and humidity are something I am familiar with it would be about making good race choices on race day.
Race briefing
The race began at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, and some of the proceeds of the race would go towards this amazing facility check it out at

It was already pretty toasty at 6.20am and there was quite a climb waiting for me to tackle! I had sprayed my feet and insoles with Kool n Fit, had a light breakfast and I had opted for a hydration pac so I could keep hydrated even though there was well stacked aid stations every 4 miles I just did not want to chance getting a heat related ma-lardy resulting in an expensive air evacuation!
With Thomas as mile 5 just after leaving the Laurel Aid station
I really enjoyed running with Michele.

To reach the 2nd aid station at Maple Springs I followed quite a nice fire road, a few little rocks but nothing too technical at all and the grade really was not that steep BUT the heat was a factor, I checked my Polar Monitor as I wanted to keep my heart rate at a steady zone 3 to 4, as always the beginning of a race the adrenaline races but after a few miles the body gets into a Rhythm. I stuck to my plan and had 3 endurolytes every hour with race Cap supreme, Anti Fatigue cap, Endurance Amino 2 of those and every 30 minutes an expresso Hammer gel. 
Maple Springs 9.40 miles 4500 feet
Heading up to Aid station 3 only 1.60 miles away but all up hill.

Maple Springs I would see this aid station twice and there was plenty of ice to refill my pac too.

It is amazing that 1.60 miles can be so beautiful and then to see a mirage called aid station 3 was priceless.
The views were amazing!

Aid station 3 was pretty important as I would use that station 4 times!!

At this aid station there is a wee climb to Modjeska Peak my heart dropped I had done this climb once before and I knew this would be a dig deep and keep smiling effort! The good news was it was only 2 miles round trip the bad news is I would have to do this twice!!!

I put my best game face on a BIG smile I had a nice cold cup of defizzed Ginger Ale to help keep my stomach in check and set off up the single track rocky trail. Going up I was fine, I enjoyed the views and shouted out words of encouragement to the runners already on their way down, a few dirt bikes passed and kicked up the loose dirt and the smell of gasoline hit my nostrils but at least if I wanted to bail I could hitch a lift back!!! I smiled all the way to the peak at 5,384ft! 
Modjeska Peak 5,384ft with Lake Matthews in Corona in the back ground.
 On the turnaround I felt anxious as did I mention I have two left feet when descending downhill on a trail which I had no clue were to put my feet. There was a photographer on the corner less than 20 feet from the summit as I went past him in very slow motion I said high and something like I know I am slow, and 10 feet later I ended up on the rocky declivity doing a face plant worthy of a TV role only my face missed the rocks and I just grazed my knee but it really took the wind out of my sails! A little trail rash never hurt any one no bones broken my spirit a little shaken I descended that mile slower than I had climbed it!
A very modest amount of graze !
After descending and getting to the aid station and checking in I was informed I had 3 miles of climbing to Santiago Peak which is the highest point in Orange County and then 3 miles back at which point I would re climb Modjeska peak! I thought are you KIDDING ME!!!
Santiago Peak Aid station 5,689 feet 
That 3 mile climb was HOT HOT HOT and dusty too I saw only two mountain bikers pass me and as it was out n back was able to keep my spirits high by clapping and smiling at the other runners already on their descent. I was so happy to see the Aid station with my friends Daniel and Barbara manning the station.
 My pac was refilled and ice added, I took my Hammer Nutrition endurolytes and ate half a hammer bar washed it down with water. I felt a little headachy and I decided to walk a little and really hydrate I avoided the salt tablets and greasy potato chips I knew my body needed fluid and I needed to slow my pace and recover as at Altitude there is less air pressure to drive valuable O2 in to my lungs and my heart has to work harder to deliver the O2 to my working muscles!
All smiles as I near the base of the one mile out n back again!
I get to the dreaded one mile climb again, there is no use in complaining every one has to climb it twice, so I jogged and power walked back up to the peak and came back cautiously but did not fall a second time. Then I was all smiles it was all downhill from here!
I headed towards Maple Springs my smile a mile wide the worst was over and did I mention it was HOT! 
Just 9.40 miles left!!
With just 9 miles and some change left to run I can almost jump for joy it is all down hill from this point well except about 1.5 miles of two little climbs combined. I felt good and played catch up as I liked the company to run with other runners so that really motivated me to run faster!
My friend Ray was helping at the final aid station
3 miles and modeling the latest in Buff fashion!

The final 4 miles was like running in a furnace, but I kept it together with my electrolytes, and not over taxing my energy, I knew I was near the finish and kept visualizing 4 laps around the track for 1500! At around two miles to go the course went up hill again just about half a mile but it felt good to use different muscles and it was just hot!  Soon I was running all the way down a descent towards a road I was so happy I was going to finish this wee run and was almost skipping the final few meters!
Jessica Race Director of Dirty Feet Productions.
A Yorkshire lass, and Irish Lad and a Scottish Gal! We just needed some one from Wales to complete the quartet.

My friends Juan and Tina who did a great race too.

Paul and I help with a bit of sponsor time!

The Finish shot!

Nuff Said.
 Below is a link to the map and my out put for the 32 mile trail run. The temperatures on the trail were 107 degrees!!

Below is some interesting info when the weather gets HOT!
KEEP HYDRATED fail to keep up dated on getting fluid into your body and your blood volume with decrease and if your body runs low on fluids it will not be able to create a cooling affect ..dehydration will follow and that is never good. and your heart rate will begin to get rapid..
I took my hammer gels every half hour and plenty of water to dilute the gels as the gels are complex Carbohydrates the body burns more Carbs when under intensity and you need fat and protein for energy production but if I did not keep putting in my gels I would start to BONK ( feel out of energy)
 I can tell if this is happening as I think I am going harder on the trail and my heart rate is getting slower!!! SO I made sure I kept well hydrated and on top of my nutrition. Below is an excellent article from Hammer Nutrition it also has a link to electrolyte replacement I highly recommend to read.
 Heat and Humidity can cause your heart rate to elevate as it tries to cool down the body as with intense exercise the body forms a lot of energy on the form of heat so the body must sweat to dissipate the heat! When the body gets hot the heart rate will rise up to 10 beats faster!
There were a few runners on Saturday that I saw with swollen fingers and dizziness at the finish line, some were walking and spaced...if its hot begin hydrating early and slow your roll! Listen to your Body and fuel it right, In hot weather it is bet to keep to a liquid diet to help the body fuel the muscles required to do the work and cool you down instead of digesting solid food! Slowing the pace and enjoying the race and scenery.

BIG thank you to Polar USA for sponsoring the trail running series and for sponsoring the Harding Hustle, Ocean Potion for all the suncare they gave to the racers, HAMMER NUTRITION for keeping my body healthy and fueling it correctly , Rudy Project USA for my Pink Fluros, Brooks Running for great Trail Cascadia shoes, Kool n Fit for their conditioning spray,  Juan and Tina for the lift to and from the race venue and all the awesome Volunteers of the Harding Hustle who suffered in that intense heat making sure we the runners were well looked after.
I had a blast and loved making new friends on the course!!