Monday, June 1, 2009

Blackfoot Ultra 2009 - Race Report

The 2009 edition of the Blackfoot Ultra offered up something completely different for me: a new perspective. I was excited to be on the road again and heading North for a change of scenery. The Cooking Lake Recreation area sure is a pretty place to hold a race and enjoy a rolling cruising run Northern Alberta Lake Country. It's awesome. The weather and the mosquitoes cooperated and we enjoyed a beautiful day in the sunshine. We rented a fantastic cabin in the woods, to maximize and enjoy a relaxing weekend in a beautiful place.

Keith was stoked to be running his first official 50km race and I was excited and proud of my honey for coming such a long way to get to the start line. He has officially lost 30 pounds and become my trail running stud. I was so proud!

Me, I had enjoyed a leisurely week post-Camp and taken the entire week off to let the legs recover. When I arrived at the cabin after the 5 hour drive and got out of the car, something really strange happened. My knee locked up. Like it was catching at the joint and it didn't want to straighten. And it hurt. A lot. Hmmmm.

The next morning I dressed to race, but my knee was being completely unpredictable. One moment I was running along, the next thing I was brought to my knees with a joint that wasn't working. So I decided to not run. Weird, eh? I haven't had any issue with my knee for 3+ years post-surgery and I have been the poster child for successful ACL reconstruction.

So, I sat out the race and got a different perspective. I got to sit back and enjoy the day from the sidelines. I took lots of photographs. I cheered on my husband! Yaaaay Keith! I got to cheer on the friends. I met lots of nice running folks. I napped in the sun. I talked until I couldn't talk anymore. I love playing cheerleader.

We shared our cabin with friends Iris, Melody and Philippe who were also racing. Iris herself had a disabling knee injury only a year ago and I remember her saying that she thought she might never be able to run far ever again. But she did! Phil had a great race and placed 3rd in the men, with a super speedy performance. He hadn't run a trail race since last summer. The ladies finished strong and it was great hanging with the friends for the weekend.

But of course, the superstar was Keith. In true Keith style, he followed a pony-tail and ran waaaaay too fast for the first 25km. When he finished his first lap, it was evident he was having a lot of fun and enjoying his first experience. But the first thing he said was"I am so screwed!" he proclaimed when he saw me at half-way. "I ran with a girl who chatted for 25km and I knew I was going way to fast, but I couldn't help it! " He did slow down significantly on the second lap, but still hit his "A" goal of 6 hours. Yeeah, Keith!

Sadly, as well as me being out of commission....last weekend's swim in the American River was the death of my camera. We had a brief, but tumultuous relationship. Next time, shock-proof - water proof?? So unfortunately, no photos from the weekend.

Happy Trails!


Journey to a Centum said...

The knee problem will no doubt put a damper on future runs for a while. I had a piece of meniscus that would flip into the joint and cause my knee to lock up and it put a painful strain on my ligaments. Had it scoped and the problem went away. I actually blew the same knee out in college and don't have an ACL. Seems to be working fine but I can't ski anymore and I don't do court sports. I could do those things if I got a custom knee brace but running suits me fine.

Congratulations to Keith! I think everyone should get to experience the thrill of going out too fast in a long race! Heck I still do it.

Sorry about the camera. The swim in the river is almost worth trashing your camera.

ian said...

Hey Leslie, it was good to see you on the weekend. sorry about your knee, it was a great day to be running. Cheers to Keith! next stop - Kananaski Iron Legs!!! (come on, you know you want to)

For a camera, i got a pentax W60 at Christmas. It works really well, but there is a bit of a barrel effect from such a small lense (as with all the waterproof ones). I don't find the pictures to be great (compared to a bigger digital when printed out at 8.5x11), but then again, better a decent 4x6 than no pic at all! From all the reviews i read, it seemed to have better picture quality than the olympus cameras.


Doone said...

Knees are funny things - I have a love-hate relationship with mine. I remember getting off a plane to run Seattle Marathon and I couldn't walk on it. Next day I ran 25 miles with not a problem - then at mile 25 it became really painful in one stride and I walked the last mile. Who knows what those little pieces of cartilage get up to.
On camera topics after smashing mine in the Grand Canyon Tim bought me a waterproof shockproof Olympus - not the greatest photos but it sure has survived alot of abuse.

CoyoteGirl said...

Way to go Leslie for being so darned positive, even when the knee is givin' ya a little trouble. Congrats to Keith, that's super.

kristen said...

Way to go Keith!!! What an awesome first 50K!

I've had ACL reconstruction as well (is your new one made out of patellar tendon or of hamstring?) and 99% of the time I have no problems with my knee. Every so often though, I have issues and this usually comes after long car rides...after I rest it for a few days it usually goes back to normal and I forget about the incident until the next time it happens. I hope yours gets better quickly!

Danni said...

Yay Keith!

Jenny said...

Hey Leslie,
I'm glad that we actually saw each other on the course. It was such a terrific experience for me.

My husband took a bunch of pictures throughout the day. I don't know if he got a picture of Keith or your friends, but here is a link to a gallery I posted with downloadable photos:

Hope he got some photos of your friends.


Leslie said...

Hi Eric,
The good news is both the knee and the camera have recovered! Youpee!

Hi Ian, Great to see you this weekend you looked so solid out there! I would have LOVED to join for a run....

Hi Doone,
I've decided that running is good and it is the sitting that sucks. Sitting is how you get hurt, I swear!

Hi CG,
Hope all is well in your world!

Yay, Danni!

Hi K-
Yup, I had mine reconstructed with the hamstring tendon and got stitches/repairs to the meniscus. I ran my first 50k only one year later!!

Hey Jenny!
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed your first 100k experience. You were a star!

Gretchen said...

Awesome, make sure you tell Keith a big congrats from me!! So exciting!
Bummer about the knee, but you were smart to take it easy. Glad to hear it seems to be improving.

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