Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waterloo Marathon 2010 race report

You know when you have an idea to do something that seems like a really good idea at the time but then while you are doing it you think What the Hell was I thinking followed later by hey that was a good idea .... kind of. Well welcome to my everyday life.

So the plan was simple, run the Waterloo Marathon as a training run in preparation for Sulphur Springs.

This would be my longest run on road surfaces so far this year and I figured it would be easier if I had others to run along with. Its all in fun isn't it? I planned to do 15k at race pace then drop back to an easy run pace and just enjoy the ride. No worry about finishing time or actual pace just get my mileage in and enjoy it.

I got a drive up to the race with other longboat club members. Some were running the race for time others as training. Things got tough right from the start. Hello icy cold pouring race nice for you to hideout all week and make an appearance just before race time. Hey thanks for bringing you best friend Mr. Wind with you. Okay so with these kind of conditions I should be able to stick to the plan.

Race started out in Waterloo and then quickly headed out onto country roads. As soon as we got to the large open fields wind became a big factor and the rain actually started to come down harder. I started out running just behind my training partner Gregoire who was actually racing this one but then dropped about 100 meters back. One of the runners next to me gave me and odd look and then asked me if I had run Seaton the weekend before. As it turns out he was also running Waterloo as a training run with a friend of his. They were running about the same pace as I was so I did my first 15k of race pace chatting with them. I hope I didn't drive them insane but they are both much faster then me so they could have run away at any time. By the way if you see me at a race and I am driving you insane feel free to tell me to shut up.

I began to have some problems around 15k. It was raining hard, very cold and we were going directly into the wind. I had not worn any gloves and my hands were swelling up, freezing and not working very well at all. Why didn't I wear my gloves? What a moron! I began to worry that if they didn't warm up I might end up not finishing this race. Imagine not finishing a marathon because of your hands, talk about stupid.

Then suddenly at about 20k it stopped raining and we turned putting the wind at our back. Within 5 minutes my hands were fine again. This section of the course took us off the paved country road we were on and onto a gravel / dirt road for the next 5k or so. It was okay to run on but a little muddy.

Soon enough were were back on a main road and then out onto the side of the highway where the wind became a huge factor. For the most part it was unsheltered running with 40k winds hitting you from the front and side. Yikes.

I was keeping my training plan and was staying at my proper pace but I was mentally drained. The marathon is small (150 people) and I was alone from 15k on. At 32k I went over to the darkside. Its funny how that can happen all of sudden. I ran 53k the weekend before and never came close to going over to the darkside but suddenly here I was in negative thought land. Why did I run this? Why don't I just pack it in at the next aid station. Running distance is really stupid. I hate this Shit. Does anyone really need to run this far?

I was however still running well which made this mental meltdown even more perplexing. I decided to down a gel and just think about the next KM. This seemed to work and soon I was gobbling up the final few KM and headed into the finish.

Finishing time 3:48:16

Not bad given the conditions and actually my second fastest marathon time ever even though I was not actually racing it full out. I think that tells you how far my training has taken me in over the last year.

This race was pretty good except for the weather. Decent organization, nice medals and shirt and really awesome volunteers. I don't think I have ever seen a race with so many water stations.

Next up Pick Your Poison 50k trail run this coming Saturday

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Seaton Trail Race 2010 - 52K race report

This is the second time that I have run the Seaton Trail race which is put on by the Mudpuppies and is part of the OUSER series. Last year I had one of the most painful racing experiences of my life and barely managed to finish even though I only ran 26k (ONLY HA). This year I decided to run the 52k version of the race. Of the OUSER races that I have done so far I think that this is the most technical and difficult course that I have been on.

Saturday morning we drove out to Pickering in our trusty ZipCar rental. We had debated maybe taking the train but opted for something more convenient. Kim had signed up for the 26k and was a bit nervous about the course. I was fretting about the weather. It was suppose to be cold, windy and rainy with a chance of snow... Yikes.

Got to the race with lots of time to spare. Saw JD (see his blog here) in the changing rooms and chatted with him for a bit then head out to the start line. Decided to go with shorts and a light but long sleeve shirt even though temperature was right around zero. Also they gave us gloves with our race kits so I keep these on to start. Man it was cold.

My race plan was simple. The 52k is and out and back then out and back again (13k each way). I wanted to run some of the race hard but still back off so that I would not screw up my training for Sulphur. I figured run hard early then take a more laid back approach later on.

The Race
From the start line I headed out at a decent pace and soon was running alone kind of sandwiched between the very fast pack up ahead and the smart pacing people behind me. I was at the first river crossing at the 3k mark in no time at all. Holy Crap that water was super cold and not refreshing at all. Then when I came out of the river I got to listen to the sweet squeak, squeak, squeak of my soaking wet shoes for the next couple of Kms.

Did I mention that that this trail is really tough. So we headed up one rock strewn hill and back down another, rinse and repeat, again and again.. Although I had run this race last year there were some major course changes starting at about the 5k mark due to erosion issues on the trails. I wouldn't say that this made the course any less challenging just different.

I came out of the woods onto the road and past the first aid station at around the 6k mark. I didn't bother to stop at all as I was feeling like I was in a pretty good groove and was running with my own water bottle and gels. So it was back into the woods for more root dodging hill climbing fun. I felt good so I keep my pace up. Things were mostly uneventful at first but at some point along this section I caught a root and face planted hard and fast. I am sure that there is an indented imprint of my face on the trail even now. Kind of like a shrine to my lack of grace and big clown feet. Someone behind me asked if I was okay. Damn it wouldn't you know it as soon I look bad there is someone there to see it. Isn't that always the way. I told him that I was and he raced past me down the trail.

A few minutes later things got kind of misty (NO I was not crying... not yet) and ice pellets began to rain down. They were small so they didn't hurt at all and in the solitude of the forest it was an awesome moment. Then the snowing stopped and I was headed into the second aid station. I began to see runners heading back the other way and though Crap I am really slow until I realized that they were the 50 milers that had started earlier.

Soon I was at the turn around and heading back. I slowed my pace down some and tried to remember I was running this for training. My bum knee was a little sore from all the ups and downs and I had forgotten my brace which was making me nervous . I still had a long way left to run. I saw JD a few minutes after the turn around and he seemed to be running well. The run back to the start was slower and uneventful but enjoyable. I passed Kim at some point... she is such a trooper. Then back through the river again, still very cold, and into the start line. I downed some gels, got another water bottle and headed out as quick as I could. I began to realize that I had not been consistent enough with my nutrition which I can semi get away with in a 50k but not in a longer race. Staying on this was suppose to be one of my focuses for this race. First half of the race was done in 2:54ish.

Ran at a comfortable pace for the next 13k. I was not sure how my body would respond in the later parts of the race as this was the first time that I was running more then 38k this year. My legs were getting fatigued and sore but nothing that was not manageable. My feet seemed to be doing fine as well which was a worry with the river crossings. My knee was not having any issues at all.

Lack of nutrition was beginning to have consequences. Talk about running stupid. I almost fell in the river and had to put both hands and arms down into the water to catch myself leaving me with very cold hands. I was getting loopy and took another minor spill. I downed another couple gels and some salt tabs. Once I hit the next aid station I also grabbed some nice salty boiled potatoes (yummy) and coke but only stopped very briefly. I added potato stops to my aid station passes from that point on.

During this loop of the race I keep being passed and passing the same guy over and over. It was really getting annoying. I mean seriously how many times can you pass the same person.

I hit the turn around again and figured by the runners that had passed me that I was in about 12th place give or take a couple places. On the turn around I soon realized that there were 5 other runners less then 2 minutes behind me. Crap.

I didn't want anyone to catch me so I picked it up from here running a slightly faster pace for the next 6K and still one guy passed me. Double Crap.

After I passed the last aid station I really picked it up. My legs felt good and strong. My hill training over the winter really paid off. Okay that's mostly BS I really was running scared as I didn't want to drop any farther down the finishing field. I managed to pass 6 other runners in the last 6k although I think that 3 of them were running the 50 miler.

Came up the last stretch and was done. The guy who had been passing me over and over ( who I had nicknamed “the bane of my existence” in my head) didn't catch me. Take that Banny!

Post Race
I am mostly happy with this race. I ended up finishing in 6:04 (unofficially) and 14 overall (unofficially). The actual race results are not posted yet. Kim also ran well and finished her race in 4:38. I had hoped to run under 6 hours but also wanted to not burn out my legs so it was trade off for me.

The only negative for me was my stupidity in not staying with my food/gel intake plan which is going to be crucial for me at Sulphur. I will make sure I correct this at Pick Your Poison in 2 weeks.

On a lighter note a few minutes after finishing the race I was standing around at the line catching my breath when behind me I heard "I saw this one guy go down really hard". I turned around to see the guy that had seen my spill talking to 3 other runners about my fall. I said "That was me" and almost the same time as he saw me and said "Hey that was you". Damn it I had become a post run story topic already... DOH!

Next up the Waterloo Marathon next weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seaton 52K trail race this weekend ... Training Update ... Good Idea or Kamikaze Mission

Seaton Trail race
Only three days left to the first ultra trail race of the spring. On Saturday morning I will be heading out to Pickering to run the Seaton trail race. Last year I ran the short version of the race (26k) and being a total trail running newbie I crashed and burned big time. Have you ever tried to run limping in not one leg but both legs. I have and let me tell ya that particular maneuver is not as easy as it sounds.

This time out I will be running the 52k version. That would be an out and back out and back. Besides the tough technical trail there is bound to be lots of mud, pain and plodding through that damn river 4 different times. I can hardly wait! On top of that the weather is looking like it will be a challenge in itself as Saturday is suppose to be cold and rainy. Kim is also running although she figures that 26k will be enough for her. I considered switching to the 50 miler but decided to take it easy this weekend … HA.
Training Update
After a couple of tough weeks where my legs were very dead last week they bounced back pretty good and I am finally starting to run well again. I think that its probably due to finally getting all the racing out of my legs as well as adjusting to the bigger mileage.
I have moved into the next stage of my training cycle so that means less hills and more speed work. Tempo runs are going well and I hit the track for the first time last week. It was nice to resume my love/hate relationship with oval of pain. Ran a bit slow but also controlled for the first time out. I expect to get back to much harder workouts next week.

Brilliant plan or Kamikaze mission you decide
So along with my speed work I am upping the distance of my long runs in preparation for my target spring race, which is the 100 miler at Sulphur Springs at the end of May. My longest run of the spring so far has been 38K but will hit 52 this weekend at Seaton.
The plan is to run 4 longer distance races in the next 5weeks to get ready. They are
Seaton Trail Race (52K)
Waterloo Marathon (42.2K)
Pick Your Poison Trail Race (50K)
Mississauga Marathon (42.2k).
Note I said run NOT race. I will be treating them as long training runs. I am currently repeating the “I will not race” mantra in my head over and over again. Honestly I will not get sucked into racing. Oh that laughing that you hear is my regular training partners reading this and rolling their eyes.
This is either going to turn out really well or end really badly.
Finally I am behind on a couple of race reports but hope to catch up in the next week or so.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Around The Bay race results ... New Sponsor ... Training Update / The Year so Far

Around The Bay
Briefly, here are my Around the Bay 30km race results. I ran slower then hoped but still fairly happy with the results as it was a 31 minute PB. I hope to get a full race report posted in the next few days.

Chiptime: 2:27:02
Place: 915/5703
Age Group: 127/464
Average Pace: 4:54

New Sponsor
I am very happy to have a new sponsor on board. These guys love mediocrity and I am more then will to oblige.

Protecting your backside for more then 3 months
We have got your ass

Training Update
Training this year to date has me logging in at just over 712 miles for the first 3 months of 2010. That is up from last year so I am happy with that at this point given that I was sick twice over that 3 month period. Currently I am injury free which is a blessing but also not running very well right now. I am sure being back on the trails should help straighten that out tho.

This years mileage
712.1 miles (1145.9 km)
Last years mileage at this point
618.5 miles (995.3 km)
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