Race Report: Dirty Feet Tunnel Run

On Sunday along with my running partner Tara and Eric I did my last race of the 2014 season. The Dirty Feet Tunnel Run in Penticton. As I’m sure you guys have noticed I do a lot of the Dirty Feet series races every year. This is my 4th Dirty Feet event this year alone. This race is different than some of their other races because even though it is still technically a trail race it is along the Kettle Valley Trail which is a scenic route along the old railroad. It was a 20km out-and-back race with a relay option so many people did 10km out and then tagged off someone for the 10km back and some people (like us three) did the 20km option. The way out there was a 2-3% grade which was just enough to be annoying and feel hard but not enough to walk much and on the way back you were going downhill on that same grade.

Not going to lie. This run was tough. Me and my running partner actually think this run was harder mentally than our four hour 25km run in May!

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We decided to do 9 and 1’s (9 minutes running and 1 minute walking) for the 10km out and then would run as much as we could of the second 10km. I was watching my watch like crazy during that first 10km. Eric stuck with us for a bit but then said that his legs felt too heavy when we did the walk breaks so he would lag behind us and then catch up when we walked for awhile before he eventually passed us right before the 10km turnaround.

The huge tunnel we ran through was definitely one of the coolest parts of the race!

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That first 10km, which took us about 1:10 really drug by. By the end we were both dragging our feet and just saying how hard this run is! Once we hit the turnaround point we really realized how much of a difference that 2-3% grade was making because we were just flying back down and did not feel like we needed our walks every 9 minutes.

We were just getting into a groove when we came across a woman sitting on the edge of the trail who had fallen and broken her wrist!! There was already someone there with her so we ran up ahead to let the “wine girl” (there was a chocolate + wine station on this course) know that she needed help and she got a hold of the medics. I then did have a sampling of wine and had a small chocolate. This was at about 15km 🙂

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With only 5km to go at this point it felt like the race would stretch on forever! I was really starting to feel the fact that I was not even remotely close to being trained for 20km in my legs and hips as they were starting to fatigue and seize up.

There is no denying the views on this trail are absolutely stunning though. The fall colours, with the lake in the background and the amazing sunshine-y day we had couldn’t be beat.

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I have to tell you guys about the Toblerone bar. You see, this is advertised as a costume race since it always happens the weekend after Halloween. So they encourage racers to wear costumes and also offer a prize for best costume. Right at the beginning of the run Eric said “we can’t let the Toblerone bar beat us!” so the whole time I focused on keeping him behind me when all I wanted to do is walk. When we had about 1.5km left his friends were there cheering for him and I could hear them cheering just as I passed them so I knew he was coming up behind me. I really picked up the pace and pushed the last 1km to the finish as hard as I could just so the Toblerone bar wouldn’t catch me. Ha!

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I ended up crossing the finish line in about 2:09, just 3 or 4 minutes behind Eric. I probably would have caught him but I lost a minute or two when trying to help the girl with the broken wrist. He did so awesome, especially considering his iphone (music) died at 5.5km (yes it was charged – there is something wrong with his battery we think). As a newer runner Eric really depends on having music to keep him motivated so I think the fact that he ran 14.5km without music on such a mentally tough trail pretty darn awesome!

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So fun to have this guy not only at races with me, but running them too! While I admit this wasn’t my favourite Dirty Feet trail race and I found it really really challenging, more mentally than physically though my calves were very tight and sore by the end, it was also good for me. It’s important to be challenged like this sometimes. Plus you really can’t beat those amazing views we had. Just another reminder of how lucky we are to live in this beautiful place!

It definitely made for a long day on Sunday though as we drove 2.5 hours, ran for 2 hours and then drove 2.5 hours home! We were DONE on Sunday night.

Would you be upset if your music died 5km into a 20km race? When’s the last time you ran a race that was more mentally challenging than it was physically challenging?

9 Responses

  1. Nice work on your time – just think, we ran about 1 km more during our trail race and it took us 1 hour longer! I think that out and back runs are tough mentally as you don’t have a change of scenery to distract you! It looks like a beautiful course, though!

    I would be totally upset if my music died 5 km into a race… I usually don’t plan to race with music but I have it with me in case I need it when I ran marathons. I haven’t had any mentally challenging races lately that I can think of since I have barely raced in the last 2 years, but I have had some mentally challenging runs where I really had to talk myself into powering through!

  2. Emilie says:

    I needed music with me ALL the time when I started running, even up until this year! Now I run races mostly without music, only pulling it out if I’m really struggling. I think it’s awesome that Eric ran so much of this race sans music!! It’s definitely a major accomplishment. Also, way to go with your 2:09 time! Given the grade on the way out and your stop to help the injured runner, that’s an awesome, awesome finish time! I don’t have many trail races near me or trails to run on (real ones, anyway) so I always love reading about your trail races so I can live vicariously through you! Also, there was a candy stand at mile 22 of my marathon and I’d really wanted to have some beforehand (just to say I ate chocolate during a race ha) but during the race my stomach was so bad that candy was not going to happen. Still making it a goal to find another race that hands out chocolate so I can cross that off my bucket list! Wine makes it even better 🙂

  3. Nora says:

    I don’t think I could run without music! What a bummer and also what a trooper your husband is to trek on without it (though I guess he didn’t have a ton of choice, eh?).

    Gorgeous views and what a neat tunnel. Congrats on having this race behind you!

  4. Ris says:

    I think I would cry if my music stopped mid-race. I almost always run with music (and have been since forever) and that would be so hard for me! Good job Eric!!

  5. Leigh says:

    Congratulations on finishing a tough race! Those views are seriously gorgeous 🙂

  6. Erin says:

    The views in this post are absolutely stunning!!!!!!!

  7. Carissa says:

    I think you know I hate running, but you always run in the most beautiful locations! This race trail really does look gorgeous. Love that tunnel! Nice work, both you and Eric, for pushing through the challenging parts. (As a side note, my iPhone and my husband’s keep dying really quickly. We have iPhones from the lot that has poor battery life. We can exchange it but we haven’t done it yet. But maybe that’s the problem?)

  8. […] I just skip over this one? I only ran a handful of times in November. I started it off with a bang with a 20km race and then barely ran the rest of the month. I’ve been busy at work. It’s been freaking […]

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