Posted by: Karen | June 22, 2010

K-100 2010: Team Farts in the Wind

Saturday I got up at 3:30 in the morning to breakfast and drive to Longview for the start of the K-100 relay race, a 100 mile relay on foot through the Kananaskis, a part of the Rocky Mountains here in Alberta. I didn’t have to be there for 6:00 am for our team to start, as Greg was there and ready to run, but Greg hadn’t met our team captain Mike yet, and it would ease Mike’s nerves to know his first runner had indeed shown up. I had never been to Longview, so wasn’t exactly sure I was taking the right roads on the way there, but I did find the race start with about 15 minutes to make a quick introduction.

I got to drive a crew car for our team. Officially teams are allowed only two cars to supply runners and shuttle them back and forth. After the start Mike marked my car in blue masking tape, with the letters FITW, for our team name Farts in the Wind. Mike was to run the second leg of the 10-leg race, so Fiona drove him up to the transition station while I stayed back and offered Greg refreshments every 4 or 5 km along his route. There was a brutally cold headwind that early in the day, but it didn’t seem to affect Greg’s time much – he finished very close to his estimated time. I drove him back to his car at the start and then caught up to Fiona as she crewed for Mike on Leg 2. Throughout the day we leapfrogged along the course, taking turns cheering and supporting the rest of our team.

About half way through the day I drove ahead and took a little nap in my car so that when it was my turn to run I wouldn’t be too tired. I munched whenever I felt like it through the day, on whole wheat naan, cheese, deli chicken, blueberries, brownies and chips. I made sure I drank water and hit the portapotties often.

Our team was there for fun, not speed, so we often bumped up against the forced starts from transition points. The weather was wonderfully sunny most of the way, with only our 6th and 7th leg runners having to run in rain. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking! and the mountains were lovely too. It was a great day to be out there. Apparently there was a bear somewhere near Fiona’s route on Leg 8, but she didn’t actually see it, just the wildlife officers.

I began my 12 km (Leg 9) with the forced start at 6 pm and felt like I totally rocked it. About 10 of us left the forced start at once, and the first 3 km of the route uses a flat, meandering paved bike path. I am not fond of pavement running much anymore, and in the excitement of the start, everyone left me in their dust. I would not have team mates cheering me on through this route, as it was inaccessible to them, but I run trail races all the time without team support, eh? “It’s okay.” I told myself, “Let them go out too fast on this pavement and then see who you can reel in on the mountain.”

Sure enough, even before we reached the dirt trail I passed a younger woman in a green top, and I had an older one ahead of me, dressed in a salmon-pink leotard, in my sights. She managed the climbs well, but she started pussy-footing around the muddy bits and wasted time while I plowed on right through the middle. If you’re not muddy by the end of Leg 9, you haven’t truly relished what that trail has to offer.

I passed Pinky after the second water table and set my sights on a white t-shirted runner just ahead. By this time we were reaching close to the top of the climbs, and she was happy to walk a few of the steeper climbs with me once I caught up. She was there with her soccer team from Edmonton, who thought it would be fun to try a race in the mountains. The elevation was getting to her – Edmonton isn’t as high as Calgary, and soccer fields don’t have mountains on them.

Shortly after 55 minutes I realized we were heading down the other side, and my love of the descent kicked in. I left Soccer Chick as if she were standing still, and for about 20 glorious minutes I set my love of gravity free. I plunged over rocks, roots and more mud, down and down and over a few knolls and down some more. Wheeeeeee!The entire descent I could hear little streams and flowing water, even before approaching the creek at the bottom. I flowed just like the water.

I crossed the creek at the bottom and my momentum carried me up near a campsite where volunteers were calling in race numbers as “one mile out”. I let out a big Yahooo! and then turned around a corner to look UP at the hill I’d totally blocked out of my memory from the last time I’d done this route two years ago. Ah well, once a yahoooo is out there, I can’t take it back. I slogged through the last mile of roller coaster trail and was very, very excited to finish with a sprint next to the dinner line-up at the end. Our leg 10 runner had already completed his run, having started with a forced start at 6 pm as well, and his route had been shortened to 12 km due to trail conditions, so everybody was in.

I had expected to take about 90 minutes and finished, totally pumped, in 85. I grabbed a burger, met and introduced around some of my team mates to Roadrunners and made it home to bed by 11 pm. I did not have beer at the party. I was afraid it would make me too tired to drive home.

Our team achieved success, in that all 10 of us showed up on time and were able to complete our parts of the race. It was fun for me to meet new people and get to know a couple of others better. Our team was mentioned in the Calgary Herald running blog as having one of the best team names. We even managed to finish not-last, and several of us are looking forward to doing it next year.


  1. Great race report Karen! And it sounds like you had a blast, perfect!!

  2. I like how you write your reports! I can really get the feel of how much fun you were having! You are not called “all downhill from here” for nothing. Good job on getting in under the forecasted 90 minutes! YOU ROCK ON THE ROCKIES!

  3. I’ve already heard and read that these relays are a whole lot of fun, and this report just confirms it. Haven’t commented in awhile, Karen. Glad to see you’re still enjoying life to its fullest.

  4. *SMILES*


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