Monday, 20 October 2014

Couch to 50K- Grizzly Ultra Race Report

Two months ago I was on a runners high after running Deathrace. It was during this week of recovery that I decided to sign up for a fall Ultra Marathon.
The reason I signed up for the Grizzly Ultra Marathon was to help get me past the post-runners depression. I had every intention of keeping up my kilometres. I started off right, running 1 week after Deathrace and starting back to my regular gym routine. A lot happened (or didn't happen) and this is why I call this run my couch to 50K. I ended up with a really bad cold for weeks, and weeks. I actually still have the cough. But all of this means that I was not able to train like I planned. Every time I would attempt a long run I would have to stop because I was short of breath. I would always have to stop at about 10K.
Ok, enough whining from me. Lets talk about the race...
The Grizzly Ultra Marathon is in the mountains of Canmore, AB. It is based from the Canmore Nordic Center and is 50.7km (though my GPS said 52km). The run is based on 5 legs varying in distance and difficulty. 
Leg 1 is 14km and is labeled the 3rd most difficult. It was completely non-technical and very wide double track.
Leg 2 is 12 km and is labeled the 2nd most difficult. Also not technical at all, but extremely difficult with lots of elevation change.
With view like these, how can you do just as the sign says :)

Leg 3 is rated the most difficult at 12km. This was the leg I found to be the most fun. I give it 5 grizzly claws on the fun factor. It started off quite easy and then turned into winding, technical running. This is why I love trail running! 
Leg 4 is 7km and the 2nd easiest. This was the 2nd most fun! Also single track and a lot of fun to run!
All of the signs that were related to wild life and Grizzly bears was really fun and entertaining.

Leg 5 is 5.7km and is the easiest leg. It is the shortest leg and it also means I was almost done running for the day. It seemed as though there was lots of hills, but it was all double track and still pretty fun to run. It gets 3 claws from me on the fun factor.
Overall there is 1691meters/5548feet of elevation gain. Knowing all of this ahead of time, I was not expecting much from myself. With my lack of training and my new nutrition I was trialing my standards were not set high.
To my surprise, I felt pretty amazing the entire race! I was testing out a new energy/carb drink that claims it is good fuel before exercise, during and after. There is no protein in it, so I brought along some trail mix to much on while running too. But that was all that I had while running for 6 1/2 hours, and I felt great! I felt I had lots of energy and I had no GI upset at all! Vitargo is fuel of strength and power and claims to be worlds best carbohydrate. I tried the grape flavour and it once I got used to how thick it was, it was pretty great. I honestly felt more energized whenever I drank enough of it. I look forward to trying it again in the new year on my long distance runs.

So. The Run. The first 2 legs went by smoothly. They were double track and it gave me time to get into my groove. The 3rd leg is where the winding single track began and where the fun really began. I honestly did not even notice how difficult the course was or was not after this point. I just found it a lot of fun! This was definitely my favourite race of the year! Deathrace wins, just because I have dreamed of running it for years. But for organization, scenery and overall fun factor I think the Grizzly Ultra wins for 2014.
There was one point that I feel like I should be honest about. After leg 2 my right knee started to hurt. This is something I have not experienced before. I took Tylenol immediately and I felt good the remainder of the race. This once again proves that there are 2 amazing feelings when running a 50K race. The moment the Tylenol kicks in. And the moment you cross the finish line.
I even felt strong on the last 5.7km of leg 5. My hamstrings most definitely felt tight, but nothing I could not run through. I even passed team runners that were only running this final leg. (That feels pretty good :)
I am sure you have all also seen my amazing outfit I sported during the race. How much fun! Running as a pirate! INKnBURN always makes amazing and attractive gear, but I have never run even close to this distance in the capri pants. I must be honest. I was a little nervous and had my shorts packed in my running bin. They pants were fantastic! Not only did I receive hundreds of compliments, I also had no issues with chafing, blisters or discomfort! I am so happy to be part of an amazing company that can make gear that we can be comfortable in for 10K, 50K, or 160K!


With my sista.
In retrospect, I am so happy that I ran this race. The swag was pretty great! And the kids had a blast running the kids race. It was a beautiful sunny day in the mountains. I had my entire family there supporting and cheering me on and I ran into friends that I have not seen since Deathrace and/or Sinister. I would like to run this race again next year! But I will definitely try to train a little harder over the summer after any big runs I have. I would love to break 6 hours on this amazing course ;-)
I would also like to see what my GPS says. This year it said I actually ran 52KM! :-)
The proud little INKnBURNers...

Captured by my Mom the very second I crossed the finish line.

With my Mom and Dad right after the race.


  1. Hey, just came across your blog while searching for ultras in AB. Great job on the Grizzly 50k, and I see you conquered Death Race too. Way to go girl. It's always nice to hear someone else's training and race experiences. Keep rockin' it!

    1. Hey Chantel!
      Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your comment!
      I definitely enjoy running Ultras! And Alberta has a few great ones!
      Happy training :)