Grizzly Ultra 50k Relay Oct 11, 2015

Here we are again!  Team SuperLazy and DonutMan are off to Banff for the weekend for a bit of mountain therapy.  In 2014 Kev ran most of the distance since it was our first trail race, this year we are splitting it 50/50.  I'm doing legs 1 & 3 (25.6k) and Kev has 2,4 & 5 (24.4k). 
Package pickup is easy as usual though there are some grey rainclouds rolling in as we drive the extra 20 mins on to Banff.  It pours all night and into the morning, snowy peaks and soggy roads greet us the next day.
Sunday - Team SuperLazy & DonutMan in action!
Before the race we find fellow INKnBURN ambassador Lisa and her other half who are also doing the 2 person relay.  I'm going full robot, she is going full zombie - awesome!  After all the rain it is a little bit muddy and there are some deep puddles on the grounds.  BUT no snow, so we are not complaining.

Leg 1   Grey Wolf   13.5k   224m
I love this leg, it is incredibly pretty without being too tough and I manage to run almost all the hills.  We start on pavement for 1.5k or so then head onto trails through the woods and past some gorgeous open mountain views.  I focus on the km I am in without worrying about overall distance.  When my breathing gets too heavy (think medical help) I slow up a bit.  I feel really strong, clearly the core & strength training I've been doing are GOOD THINGS. 

Coming in to the central transition to hand over to DonutMan.  Wheeeee!  (or maybe plod)

Kev - Leg 2  Cougar  12km  350m
I’m expecting Sue any minute and I’m so busy watching for her that I forget to keep my Garmin active and as I see her entering the transition area I realize it’s gone into sleep mode so frantically press buttons to get the satellite lock.  Doesn’t happen in time so I head off with the watch still searching away, must remember this on the way back when giving Sue an ETA.
There’s a decent amount of uphill through the first 2km but being full of energy I do my best to maintain a steady pace.  It is a straightforward out and back and as such navigating some of the larger puddles is a challenge as I’m overtaking quite a few runners and doing my best to not get in the way of the returning runners who are also trying to get around said water hazards.

About half way around the sun decides to come out and things warm up real quick and I start to wish I had less layers on.

Before too long I’m back at the staging area and handing over to SuperLazy, feeling pretty good about my first leg.  Time now to go rest and figure out whether to eat or not.

Leg 3  Lynx  12.15km  435m
I tried hard to stretch everything out after leg 1 but my Achilles and calves are stiff as hell anyway. I'm running in my Pure Flows as I know they won't rub on the bump that has been hanging around since last year's Achilles injury. Starting out it's a case of getting through each km (that's basically how I approach all my runs lately.)  This leg has a lot of steep climbs and some very fun twisty drops.  It is singletrack after the first km and quite lovely.  The trail drops to a small pond then we climb and get views over a dropoff to the side.

The first 6k go well then we hit some really steep climbs, wow tiring on the legs.  By the time we pass the aid station and hit wider forest trails I'm about done.  And here's another hill.  There are even more after that.  Despite the swearing, I'm very pleased about how much better I feel compared to last year.

So much happiness to get my legs done!

Kev - Leg 4  Killer Bees  6.8km  270m  & Leg 5  Coyote  5.6km  215m
This year I’m doing legs 4 & 5 together so going into the race I’m aiming to pace myself on 4 so as not to be too tired through 5.  Couple of text messages exchange with the missus and I’m back outside waiting to get going again, feeling pretty good though wondering exactly what the vertical start to leg 4 will be like.
Crikey, 140 meters of elevation gain over the first 2km and I’m certainly feeling it.  After a brief foray into running this section I quickly resolve to just power hike the hills as they’re pretty steep and there’s a lot of running ahead of me.
Up and over the big climbs and now the fun starts, from here on the rest of leg 4 is mainly downhill single track with lots of twists and turns and all kinds of rocks and stuff to avoid, this is the part I’ve been looking forward to the most!
Having great fun pelting down the track biggest trouble I have is getting past other runners, but to be fair they are all super courteous and a simple 'coming by' and they all do their best to make space for me to pass.
Before I know it I’m racing down the final hill towards the transition area and then I recall that no I don’t get to stop now but head out on leg 5 and maybe I should have conserved energy on the downhill sections, but I got a bit carried away.

Sue is there to offer support as I’m leaving the transition and off I go, unfortunately the biggest climb in leg 5 is pretty early on and I’m back to walking.  At least I have the presence of mind to force a power hike rather than a defeated slog up the hill.

Leg 5 is a blur of hiking the hills and running the flats and downhills as best I can.  Halfway through I’m feeling pretty much done, so it’s just a case of toughing it out and focusing on what’s right ahead of me rather than how far I have to go.
It’s times like these that you get a true perspective of what doing the full 50k must be like so total respect to all the solo runners.

It’s easy to overlook leg 5 sometimes as it is rated the easiest leg, but there is still respectable elevation gain of 215m and it seems to be a constant up and down whereas on leg 4 all the elevation is early on.
But complaining aside I hit a point I recognize and know I’m just about there now, so head down and pour everything I have to running the last km.  I watch out for Sue so we can run the finishing chute together, bless her heart she wants to sprint it……and we’re done.

How did we do?  Just went and ran a team PR by 17 mins over last year!  Since I took on some extra mileage I was not expecting that result.  Happy happy!
Kev sums it up:  Pizza, soda, and a sit down in the sun and all is well with the world.

Let's do more trail running!  Once again a very enjoyable well organized race in a gorgeous setting.  The food area was set aside for the solo runners this year though they still had to exit in the same place we did and there were still far too many people just standing in the way.  Maybe a clearer exit channel?  I loved the Muscle Milk on ice and the fresh pizza and Grizzly Paw soda after the race was perfect.  We had a brilliant day. 


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