Sunday December 13th was the Egg Nog Jog. This is an 10.8 KM hilly race held just outside of Georgetown ON. Did I mention that this course is hilly, really really hilly including one very large soul sucking monster hill right in the middle of the course.
Now when people tell me that a race course has "a big hill" as well as some "rolling hills" I usually figure okay, I shrug and accept that my time will be a little slower than usual but whatever. I mean really every trail and cross country race I have ever run has had lots of hills so hills on the road should be no problem. When will I ever learn.
Weather for race morning was rainy and cold but luckily just above zero so at least it wasn't freezing rain. Kim and I drove out to the race with fellow Longboater Gregoire B. We got there well before race time, picked up our race kits which included a giant beach towel and milled around with a few other club members. The rain and dampness made it seem much colder then it actually was.
As the start time got closer we all headed out for a quick warm up. This was definitely another when will I ever learn moment. My warm up was too short and too ... well lazy to be honest. I was cold and should have worked a bit (a lot) harder. Now some people can get away with the sort of warm up or no warm up but I am not one of those people. After more then 40 races I still occasionally forget this... what a dufus.
We all lined up for the start of the race which ended up being delayed for about 5 minutes and then we were off. I actually got off to a pretty good start as the early part of this race has a good portion of downhill. I ran it fairly fast but tried to stayed contained, in retrospect I should have run harder here but I was mistakenly trying to run this thing like a normal course. My first two KMs clocked in right at a 4 minute pace. The road was a little slick, well used so not too bad.
After a long downhill and then a mostly flat run we made a sharp right hand turn and headed up and into the early rolling hills. It was all downhill (which was actually uphill) for me. As I began to run up and down the early small rolling hills my ankles on both feet began to really bother me, not the side of my ankles but the top area around my feet. This is really not anything I have encountered on a run before and it really tightened up. I began to do some quiet cursing and was already wondering about my lack of warm up.
The next few KM were up and down, up and down with my legs still not getting loose. I also noticed that my pace time was right out the window... grrrrr. Oh ya and did I mention the hills? I did. Well did I mention the lovely thin coating of snow and ice that now covered the road? No, I didn't, well we wouldn't want to leave that out. Once we turned off the main road a good part of the course had a light slippery coating of winter crap on it. Now this isn't the big trudge through the snow kind of thing or even the watch out or you will fall on your butt kind of thing, this was more of the can't dig in and push off kind of thing.
Up the hill, down the hill and on it went. Okay now here is the really funny part of the race. I had for some reason believed that the big hill was in the first 5km and as I passed the marker I had two very distinct thoughts at once. The first was that the big hill wasn't so bad so what's the big deal and the second was when the heck are my legs going to loosen up and stop hurting. Unfortunately both these questions were answered almost immediately.
It couldn't have been more then a minute later that I turned a small corner saw the actual "big hill". Oh Crap, that is actually a really big hill. Well what can you do so I just put the head down and started powering my way up it. It was steep and long and I was running kind of slow yet was still passing people so I guess I have to give the hill a reluctant thumbs up. It also completely loosened up the front part of ankles no more pain there at all. Of course that pain was replaced with a burning in my calves that was searing. I definitely need to hit the road hill training hard before Around the Bay in the spring.
Once I got clear of the hill the rollers that followed didn't seem like much of a big deal at all. I was more concerned with my lack of traction which I felt like I was really struggling with. I still managed to pick it up a little and wasn't being passed by people so I think most were having the same kind of struggles. As we came into the last KM we were back out on a main road with a better grip. The last big hill on the course was a very steep downhill and then a quick flat section to the finish.
Here is the official finish stats.
Official Time: 51:16
Age Group: 22/77
Okay so if you have read this blog this far you might think that I didn't like this race. Well nothing could be farther from the truth. I loved the course just not the footing conditions. This race is an extremely well run and organized race and the people that put this race on do it well. I would definitely run this race again in a second. I on the other hand just didn't have a good race. Not really sure why, sometimes you just don't have it on the day. I was actually fairly happy with my time given the course and conditions but man was this one painful but also strangely enjoyable race. How odd.