Monday, August 17, 2009

No Wildcats, 50 Mile Madness, 1 Mile Race

Last week ended up being an interesting one in my running life.

First I decided to take the plunge and buy myself some decent trail runners. It became very clear during and after running 50k at Dirty Girls that I will be spending a lot more time on trails this fall.

I obsessively researched (per usual) trail shoes and finally decided on LaSportiva Wildcats. They got great reviews and matched what I was looking for in a shoe. I need something that will be okay for some road running (it's a mile to get to the trails), neutral (for my inserts) and affordable.

Simple right? Turns out nothing is simple in life. These shoes are only carried by one retailer in all of Toronto that I could find.... Mountain Co-op. Surprise, surprise, they don’t have my size and are not sure if they are getting more in. I would just order the shoes online but because of my inserts I have to be sure of the fit so that is just not an option for me with untested runners. You would think getting these things in the largest city in Canada would not be a problem but you would be wrong. Potential market 3 million people, number of size 10.5 shoes .... Zero.

Actually don’t blame the company here but more the retailer. I mean what are the chances that a guy will wear a 10.5 shoe. I don’t know maybe 50% chance. Only other size options were 10 (I guess I could bind my feet and try to shrink them) or 12. Yeah those will fit as long as I wear 8 pairs of socks.

Now I am redoing my research again although this time I will arm myself with a list of shoes. Any trail shoe suggestions are appreciated.

In a moment of temporary insanity after last weekends 50k I decided to take the plunge directly into the deep end of Ultra racing and signed up for the Halliburton 50 miler that takes place September 12th. At this moment I am wondering what exactly I could have been thinking on this one.

I am not sure if I am ready for this type of distance but I guess I will find out soon enough. Yesterday on my long run I practiced curling up in the fetal position on the side of the trail and crying as they always say you shouldn’t try anything new during a race.

Longboat 1 mile on the track
Last Wednesday was Longboat’s 1 mile race on the track. Each year the club puts on an event for members that most would not normally run in the normal course of racing. Last year it was 1 hour on the track where you ran for an hour in circles (okay ovals) as someone counted your laps with the longest distance deemed the winner. That was great fun by the way. This year it was a 1 mile race.

I have to say I had been looking forward to this since the spring in order to see just how fast I could go. With all the track training I figured I would do pretty well until I realized that the race would fall 4 days after I had run my 50k... DOH!!

Still I am not one to shirk my racing responsibilities so I decided to run it just the same. There were a total 3 heats and 22 runners. Heats were divided by expected times to keep them all competitive.

Heat 1 (expected finishing times 7+ minutes)

John C. won it running a fast 7:05. Nice job John. No photos from this heat as it seems John can’t run and take photos at the same time... who knew. Kim was also in this heat running a 9:47 on very, very tired legs that were still recovering from Dirty Girls.

Heat 3 (expected finishing time sub 6:15)
I all I can say about this heat WOW. Some super fast times here. Roger M. won it in a blistering 5:12 followed closely by Rob C. at 5:17. Also of note my usual track training partner Rob H. broke 6 minutes running 5:55 and PBing easily (way to go Rob!).

Heat 2 (expected finishing time 6 to 7 minutes)
I ran in this heat with the hope of just putting up an okay time. I knew I would be slower as my legs were dead tired from Saturday’s race but what can you do. Really just hoping to beat Steve or else I would never hear the end of it ..LOL. Heat 2 had 7 runners in it, all of them pretty good so this was going to be fun. For those not familiar with the track 1 mile is 4 laps +8.5 meters.

Gun when off and we were racing. I started on the inside and surged hard right away to try and keep the inside track. Legs felt okay but no spring at all, this was going to be interesting for sure. I got out to a decent start and led for the first lap with Jason B. right on my tail. I pushed the pace for lap 1 hoping to get as far out in front as I could. Finished the first lap in 1:30. As they called out the times I heard 1:31, 1:32 ... so knew people were right on my tail.

Headed around lap 2 I was still leading but Jason was right up my butt. I have to say this was a very new and odd experience for me. I have never been in first place in a race... ever. Was not really sure how to work any kind of strategy here and couldn’t see how close other runners were with the exception of Jason who I could hear right behind me. Finished lap 2 in 3:03. Heard 3:04 called out then 3:08. Okay got some separation from most of the field.

Lap 3 was the most difficult portion of the race for me. I really began to feel it in my legs and unintentionally slowed down. I started to over think things with Jason right on me. Should I surge, conserve etc. I am sure this cost me some time. You really shouldn’t try to think at this point of the race. I missed the line for the 200 meter mark so didn’t have any info to adjust my pace. Thought I might be slow but wasn’t sure. When I run track what causes me to slow down is almost always cardio, my legs feel like they could go faster but I just can’t get any more oxygen. During lap 3 it was all leg, I just could not get them to turn over any quicker. All I could think was Go away Jason but he just keep hanging on. Finished lap 3 no idea what the time was as I was completely into pain management mode. Heard it yelled out but it sounded like adults talking to Charlie Brown …… (WAH, WAH, WAH)

Lap 4 went much better then lap 3. Held about the same pace and keep Jason just behind me. No idea how far back anyone else was. Made my final kick with about 120 meters left to go. Damn it could still hear Jason right behind me. I started to think that I may have kicked too early as I began to feel it bad with 20 meters left but held on to win the heat. Jason finished 0.75 seconds behind me with Joan only 1 second behind as well. Didn’t even know she was with us. Great Job Guy / Girl.

Pretty happy given how tired I was although I would really like to see how much faster I might be on rested legs. Final time was 6:26 so dropped off in the second half.

See the video of the finish below. First girl you see is not actually in the race just someone on the track.

Here is the video from the halfway point of the race.


  1. V nice job! I have a tendency to sign up for races when on an endorphin high. I regret it later, but ultimately love it. Ana-Maria

  2. A 50-miler! Good on ya!

    Congrats on the mile. That is speedy, ESPECIALLY on tired ultra legs!

  3. WOW a 50 miler! I'm afraid I might do something silly like that after my 50k in Sept. It's just so tempting I know!

  4. You are a machine! Congratulations on the 50K + the winning mile.

  5. 50miler, I think you're a little mad but that's okay we're all a little off.

    Congrats on the miles as well.

  6. Way to grind it out and get a good time on the mile with tired legs! Good luck with the 50 miler, should be a awesome experience...

  7. If you can run a 50K you can do a 50M. After all, M is just 2 letters more than K!!

    The mile was always my favorite distance to race. Then I got old and slow, and now it scares me to death.

  8. lol about practicing the fetal position. good call! ;) i'm sure you won't need it. hope you are able to find some good shoes, i have no suggestions - not much of a trail runner, sorry!

  9. I love your sense of humor!!!! 50k to 50m - whoa!!! I'm sure, though, you'll do great. Esp since you are capable of tearing a mile race apart after running a 50K! That's impressive!

  10. You are right on track for Haliburton. That 50km was right where you needed it!

    MEC can be frustrating to deal with. I was lucky when I got my Wildcats: they had them in stock. You can order online from MEC with in-store delivery, that way you don't have to ship them back if they don't fit. I also saw some sweet Inov8 shoes at RunningFree up in Markham.

    Congrats on your Mile, must be nice to be in front! See you in Haliburton.

  11. whoa speedy mile! and WOW is all i can say about the 50 miler, amazing and i bet you'll rock it!

  12. I am not sure if I am ready for this type of distance but I guess I will find out soon enough. Yesterday on my long run I practiced curling up in the fetal position on the side of the trail and crying as they always say you shouldn’t try anything new during a race.

    that just made me laugh so hard - so very funny! can't wait to hear about haliburton - sounds like it'll be an epic adventure!


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