CTRR Leg 5 – A sad state of affairs

I have very mixed feelings writing this race report. I had a fantastic weekend, and enjoyed myself immensely. The company was amazing all weekend long. The ceilidh was great fun. And I had a blast supporting my friends/teammates along the way. My run on the other hand is another story altogether.

A long moderate up to Ingonish Beach then go gently rolling downhill through the village of Ingonish, with its local traffic and spectators. This leg finishes at the Marianne Falls Warren Lake entrance past the Broad Cove campsite on the left.

17.5km, difficulty rating: 3.5/5

I knew going in that I would not hit the mats. My training has suffered and I am just not as fit as I was last year (when I just barely missed them). However, I did not anticipate the experience I had.

I started off running strong and steady at about 5:15-5:30, but within a few hundred meters had lost the entire pack! How did I end up in a field of so many fast runners!? Where were the lonely few newbies on my leg? Was I really going to bring up the rear? I was running faster than I wanted to start at, so I just let them get away from me, hoping SOMEONE had gone out too hard and would eventually drop back. At about 5km, I still had the same three women in sight and was thinking if I continue feeling this strong, I can pick up the pace and narrow the gap. I was average about 6:15. Then it happened.

Out of nowhere the Ambulance came up behind me and stuck to me like glue. Now I KNOW they follow the last runner through the entire leg, prepared to go on ahead if needed. I understand the logistics behind it all. And I didn’t really care that I was dead last, but there’s something about being followed by an ambulance whether you need it or not, that kills the spirits. I’m thinking, where did they come from? How can they be here already? I still have more than two-thirds of my leg to run! They can’t be following me for 12.5 out of 17.5!??? Can they?

By the end of the next 5km I was ready to throw in the towel. I was on the verge of tears, after listening to the rumble of that diesel engine, and literally breathing in fumes for 5km.

The next time Ian came up to support me, I told him just how frustrated I was with that damned Ambulance. He dropped back and spoke to the paramedics, telling them that the wind is behind us, blowing the fumes right at me. At this point I’d been breathing them in for 7km. I felt a whole lot better after they dropped back and gave me some room, but my spirits were trampled on by then. For the third 5km all that could pass through my head was “I am NEVER doing this again!”

When the team was stopped on the side of the road cheering, it was all I could do not to scream. They set up this fantastic group picture somewhere along the way, and fortunately warned me before I got to them, so I managed to muster up a fake smile and not ruin a great shot.

The last 2km I had to force myself to run, each 5km split had gotten a bit slower than the last (31, 33, 35), not because I couldn’t keep up physically, but because mentally I was not in the race anymore. I had already decided it wasn’t worth killing myself for it, and had switched from 20:1 intervals, to 10:1s. The final 2km, I did not want to be there. Ian ran about half a km or so with me, getting me to the last km. There were still people waiting on the roadside and many cheered me on as I approached the stripped down “finish line”. I felt like a fool.

It was a miserable run, yet I knew I ran strong, and had a whole lot more left in the tank if I’d only been able to find the desire to use it. My Garmin said I ran 17.5km in about 1:49 (for an average pace of about 6:4Cool. It may have been a little less than that – I forgot to turn it off.

My official time:
5 01:48:56 Trish McCourt 43 5 MIXED LATE

Which means that I arrived almost dead on the 5 minutes-past-the-final-official-timed-runner. 5 minutes!!! And yet I was chased by an ambulance. Sad

Before anyone says it, I do get the reasoning behind the ambulance being there. I appreciate what they do, and the importance of safety. But damn it, how can any runner feeling and looking strong after just 5km’s need to be chased by an ambulance so closely? I just wanted him to give me some space, back off, maybe park and take a little break from driving. Conserve some fuel maybe. Then catch up.

This was not the race I pictured myself running.

/Ceilidh out

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two