Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Trails in Motion Film Festival (Night 1)

This year's Trails in Motion Film Festival (TIMFF) runs over two nights with different movies on each night. I never look at line-ups, knowing I'll enjoy what ever is on offer anyway... and as I couldn't decide between night 1 or night 2 and suffering from FOMO, I decided to just go to both. I'm glad that I did.

Tonight's line-up included three sweet, shot movies - a few minutes each. The main feature was a full-length film on the 2010 running of the Western States 100, a gruelling and gnarly 100-miler (160km) run in California. The movie is named "Unbreakable". Without saying too much, it was a really good and captivating film, even if you've never heard of the main runners. For me it was also an excellent opportunity to see the terrain of the Western States.

I first heard of the race more than 10 years ago and it caught my interest back then. It's a race I'd definitely like to do; and I'm even more keen having seen what I'd be in for. This is when nasty is nice, very nice.

This evening I squeezed in a quick run between getting home from Day 2 of first aid course and heading out to the film festival. It was one of those runs where five kays felt like two kays. I was ripping up the tar tonight and loving it. Far better than those evenings when two kays feels like 10 kays. I also had a really good run at the orienteering on Sunday... I've been doing a lot more longer runs recently and rocking PBs on Gilloolies, so perhaps these shorter, fast runs have been just what I needed.

So sitting watching "Unbreakable" tonight... My feet were itching terribly for an ultra. I'm having flashbacks of ultras from years past. Before I started writing this blog.

In the movie were a few people that I've met. David Horton was interviewed. He's an American trail legend... One of the few finishers of the Barkley Marathon, previous record holder of the Appalachian Thru-Trail and creator and organiser of an awesome ultra in Lynchburg, Virginia - the Mountain Masochist 50-miler. Well, it's "50-miles if you believe in fairy tales" as the race's song goes... The route is closer to about 90 kilometres rather than 80. I ran it back in October 2004 (I have a dear friend who lives in Virginia on the race's doorstep).

I had such a good run at Mountain Masochist. I rocked the first 30 kays and then felt quite awful until about 40 kays. From 40, it was like I was running on air. My friend came to find me at an aid station around 60km and he said I looked as fresh as if I'd just started running (he may have been lying but I certainly felt great). Over the last 20 kays I was eating up the people in front of me. What a great day that was! I'm sure I have a belt buckle somewhere from MM. I particularly remember a section after 40 kays, up in the mountains. It was the beginning of fall and high up the trees had turned. I was running on a red-gold avenue of leaves.

Two weeks before MM my friend and I ran as a relay pair in the Mountainback race in Pennsylvania. This race was quite an adventure as I missed my flight to Pennsylvania from Washington and ended up driving through the night with some other guys from the same flight. I couldn't drive in the US and needed them to help get me through to the race - there were no more flights. We got to my hotel, where my friend had left the key to my room in the door for me, around 4am. I got about two hours sleep and then had to get to the race.

It was a relay ultra and so my friend and I alternated running and driving between the designated relay points, changing over every 3-6km. We had a super day and even ended up catching teams with many more people. I ran the last leg in the rain - it was lovely. My friend drove some of it next to me cheering me to the finish for our team. Great feeling. We were the first-placed 'Supra Pair'. I think about 8h40 for the 80km forested route. We both had very stiff legs the next day from the stopping and starting throughout the day.

Another face I recognised in the movie was Beverly Anderson-Abbs, who I met at the H.U.R.T. 100 in Hawaii in January 2006. I hooked up with my friend from Virginia plus his friend for this race. I was initially aiming for the 100-miler but during my third 32km lap I knew that I wasn't going to make the 36-hour cut-off. This is a wickedly evil race where each lap has three big ascents and three big descents. It was the downs that seriously hammered my quads. I had to walks down stairs backwards for two days after the race.

Not many runners make the 36hr cut-off. Over the first two laps I was running near a previous women's race winner from a year or two before. She ended up continuing on to the 4th lap but didn't make the cut-off. I'd made the right call on taking the 100-kilometre course option. About 20-hours and 6th place. I should have made the decision to run the 100km earlier... I could have run less conservatively (thinking I was in for 160km) and aimed for a higher placing...

All things considered, I had a good race there. I didn't have a good build up to the race in the weeks before as I came down with chickenpox (probably caught on the flight to New Zealand where I was writing for Southern Traverse) about six weeks before the race (at the age of 29!). Being a viral infection, and an adult case of chickenpox, I was banned from running for four weeks. Still, it was a really good experience.

Beverly won the women's 100-miler race. She was also in an incredible overall placing. I can't remember what it was now... Top 5? I'd suspect something that good. She was dead tired afterwards and with few helping hands around in the early and dark hours before dawn I 'looked after' her for some time. Amazing runner,

And then in the video I spotted Adam Chase pacing the then 22 year old Kilian Jornet. Lemme see... Where did I first meet Adam? Maybe at the TransRockies Run staged race in Colorado in August 2009? He's also an adventure racer so maybe at an international AR before this? Adam was also at the last Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge in Dec 2010 - racing in a media team. He's also a journo and the author of a really good book on trail running (it's called, "The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running"). I see there's a newer 2010 2nd edition (for Kindle too).

And then I met the amazing Kilian Jornet briefly at a Salomon thing in Pretoria in 2011. Always nice to see these runners in person.

All in all watching this movie set in motion a load of memories that are playing in my head... of people and places and races and wonderfully fabulous times and runs and memories.

And I'm itching to run. Right now! Far. Long. All night.

I'm looking forward to my North-South Adventure Night Run later this month with Rob. We've got a 30km planned to my friend's house. I know these itchy feet are not going to stop itching so I think I need to make a few calls, open Google Earth and take another look at a delicious route I planned a few years ago, but never ran. It should make for a good ultra to scratch this itch goodly and thoroughly.

I'm back for Night 2 of trail movies tomorrow. Who knows what I'm going to cook up after those films!

1 comment:

Staci said...

It was a great night of movies and i am also looking forward to tonight. Its great to read about your incredible running adventures Lisa and it sounds like another international ultra is calling you.