Monday, November 13, 2023
Friday, October 20, 2023
We had a family trip to Colorado. I'll say that running there can be tough coming from sea level, but I do tend to adapt pretty quickly. You just need to hold back on the top end effort a little bit. But while I do get my runs in, I have to get some hikes in as well as the views are amazing.
I had been noticing this list of parkrunners with the most first finishes and saw that I was working my way up the list. So I kept working at it and by the end of July, I took over the top spot. This list is more about consistency than anything else. Obviously to get into the top end of it you have to run parkrun a lot, and generally push yourself to your best each weekend. It doesn't mean I get a first finish every time, far from it. But I do show up a lot.
Monday, August 7, 2023
So how was June of 2023? Well, if we don't talk about the weather in Nova Scotia, it was not too bad.
I switched up training to get ready for the Baddeck Duathlon, my first multisport event in a number of years. To be fair, I decided to go back and race this event because the people who host it do a great job, and it was going to be great to see some fellow multisport racers again.
First though I was back for another crack at the Bridgewater Tire Trot.
This is a 5K race on a crusher dust trail that has been happening for a few years now. Initially it was postponed due to extreme dry conditions and local forest fires. Luckily, a little rain made it possible to hold the event.
This is probably the oddest 5K race I run, the trail always seems to be confusing as to if you are running a slight incline or a slight decline. It shifts a lot as it follows a river. Add in a lot of tree cover which can make GPS signals spotty and you just have to be ready to run what ya brung.
With a tight first few corners before the transition to crusher dust, and an unfortunate trail gate that couldn't be opened before the race, I knew that a fast start was definitely needed.
So off I went, pushed by a few other fast runners to go hard. I made it through the obstacles in first, then had the opportunity to define the pace. My next goal was to hit sub 18 minutes. Slight uphill and crusher dust are certainly not the best conditions for this, and with GPS iffy as I mentioned, I had to do the math while running. It hit the 1 km return mark needing a 3:45 km with the worst of the uphill to come. I managed a 3:41 and crossed the line in 17:55 and 1st overall.
This was my fourth win in a row at this event, and while those wins won't last forever, it was pretty nice. It was also great seeing a huge turnout from my run club the BLT Runners.
Back at multisport with the Baddeck Duathlon. This event was last held in 2019 and I had a blast doing it. I knew my bike riding capabilities were not where they were once, but still it was a great excuse to visit Cape Breton and get away for a few days.
It was the same race as previous years. A tough gravel road run with massive climbing and a crazy decent to finish, then rolling constant hills on the bike, only to go back up the hill for one final run.
Following the duathlon, we headed to the Highlands for some awesome hiking, even though it rained like crazy. Lexie joined us for turned out to be an excellent hiker.
Monday, June 5, 2023
Canicross races are run on trails ranging from crusher dust to single track, with canitrail being a little rougher trails. The Oakfield Park trails are a little mix of some crusher dust and some more gnarly trails with lots of elevation change, sharp turns and lose footing. Now attach a dog to you, run way faster than you can on your own and have fun!
The wind was really noticeable in the last few kilometers, especially crossing the second bridge. It was also at this point I noticed that 10km had come and gone and the end of the race was not yet here. I did my best to keep the top 3 runners in sight and finally came across the finish line.
First up though, a 5km parkrun!
The final weekend came and while there was no official race, I had one more parkrun to do and this time I wanted to try and achieve my goal of a sub 18 min 5km run each month. So off I went, running pretty hard down and while not killing it on the up hill, I help on for a decent 17:37 finish.
Monday, January 16, 2023
So other than some fun times at parkrun, the last time I raced and gave a good effort was way back in Oct at the Valley Harvest 10km road race. Following that I had an opportunity to race the first ever All Out Racing 10km Trail race in November, but alas had to travel. From all accounts it was a great race.
Come forward to January 2023 and race two for All Out Racing was here. The goal of All Out Racing is fun inclusive events. So often trail races are only Ultra Distance event, with even races in the 20km plus distance being tough for seasoned veterans. While we have had some fun shorter distance trail races locally, they certainly are not the norm, which often excludes runners that do not dedicate their lives to the woods and long weeks on their feet. 10km is a great opportunity for those that aren't normally "trail runners" to come on out and have some fun, whether they are roadies, weekend warriors or just new to running.
The January race was called the Pick and Shovel Showdown and it included 2 races to choose from. All runners started together and did a 10(.5 ish) km race from start to finish. For some we gave it our all and called it a day, but for others their day was just getting started and the event then turned into an 8 hour endurance run. At this point runners would go back on course doing laps until the 8 hour mark. Most laps would win. If there was a tie, then the winner would be the one who did the first 10km race the fastest. Fun (if you like long). So this was a combo of endurance and speed, while laps style trail races are often mostly endurance based with the person last standing taking the win.
Anyway, back to my race, the 10km one.
So the day started with rain. Hold on, the day before started with rain and it did not stop (in fact it is still going on for a fourth day now). Luckily it wasn't cold rain, getting as high as 12C that day. For those doing the 10km, this was annoying but not the worst thing. It certainly sucked more for the endurance racers.
Over the next 1.5 hours the racers came through and picked up their kit and then we were beckoned outside for a race brief.
We all pretended to try and stay dry for those moments and then off to the start line, where we were not held long before we were off and running.
The course started on a gravel road which climbed quickly, then a fast decent to a turn onto a rough section of double track. This popped out onto a gravel road again before once more zipping into some single track. This was close to 0.5 km in length and plenty of time to get the field spread out, so the single track section didn't really bottle neck too badly. The single track had huge puddles, the kind that eat your momentum. If your feet were not wet yet, they were now.
I was running in the third position at this point and hanging with the top two runners. We popped out of the wood, ran across a small field and then onto the main loop.
MacDonald Sport Park (the name of the venue) is a fairly wide gravely / crusher dust trail system. It doesn't get a ton of maintenance and therefore the trail, while not technical, is quite rough with some roots and larger rocks. The hills often contain loose gavel as well.
By the second kilometer, I was over taken and fell to fifth, with the top two guys kicking it up even further and pulling away. I was then side by side with some other runners, going back and fourth with a few guys over the next kilometer.
That first section of trail is predominantly down, which means we need to go back up. The far side of the loop is hills. Steep, short, power hills. I have run in here a lot, both solo and with canicross dogs. I know how to accept the hard pounding of the down hills and took advantage of that. With the mud, slippery rocks and deep puddles, I drew upon a lot of experience and pushed hard top pull away on the descents. Soon I was back into a solo fifth position with a small gap.
This lasted for a bit but then Colleen Wilson pulled along side. Her climbing strength was awesome and we ran side by side through deep puddles and heavy mud and slippery rocks until about the 6th kilometer and which point she started to pull away.
My goal was to worry about me though and what I had in the old man legs. As I started lap 2 I knew I had to take advantage of the downhill section to gain as much of a gap advantage as possible, so I held the effort.
My breathing training was coming into its won as well. I was getting good deep breaths and feeling as strong as I could, thanks to Gilles and O2Max for that.
I was able to keep Colleen in my view and a couple of other runners just slightly ahead until we started to go into the twisty hilly section.
Finally, the big hills were done and I pulled back to the field area for a final time with some cheerful volunteers pushing me along. Only about 800m to go!
My official time was 45:40 and it was tough. It was definitely a course suited to strong cross country runners, able to dig through puddles and mud and short choppy hills. Four people ahead (at least) were people with decent or exceptional cross country records so it makes a lot of sense.
It was great chatting with many runners, chatting with fellow BLT Runners Nicole and Jacquelynn (really stepping out of their comfort zones on races like this).