Monday, September 29, 2014

Sept 27-28, 2014 a Weekend of Running

Well it was a busy weekend for me. Two events on consecutive days and two great days of weather.

The first event was held on Saturday and was the Rum Runners Relay, which I have blogged about before. A team of 10 runners run 10 different legs from Prospect to Lunenburg in Nova Scotia. That is about 100 km. This year I was slated to run Leg 4, which is considered quite difficult due to its length of 17.1 km. As I had just been doing all of my marathon training this year, I figured it was as good a time as any to tackle this beast.

The day started early as I had to show up for Leg 1 to help out Mike, our first runner and drive his vehicle. It certainly was dark and chilly at the race start.

Yup it was that dark at good old 6:30 am

Mike ran well, as did all of the members of the Fundulators. We even had a win on Leg 5 with our last minute replacement.

See how happy I am before I had to run

Leg 4 is one leg that attracts a lot of the fast runners. The terrain isn't especially hard, mostly rolling hills with no epic climbs. But the day was really hot and even by 10:10am the heat was in the high 20's C. I started out running with the front of the pack, but within the first kilometer things had sorted themselves out. I was placed in about 7th at this point and was running quite well. I hit the 10 km mark at 38:50, which isn't my fastest 10k ever, but quite good. But then the wheels started to fall off. I managed to hold my pace but it felt hard. I was hot, and my breathing was laboured. But it was 17 km, and I knew I could make it through that easily enough.

At least I looked good while running

With about 5 km to go, I was passed. I stayed with Matt for some time, but eventually he pulled away from me. My pace dropped slightly and I had to look back. No one was behind me, so I felt comfortable holding my pace as best as I could.

Eventually I saw the finish line in the distance and managed a small pickup of speed. I cruised in at 1:08:15 for a 3:59 min/km pace. Whew.  Then it was straight into the ocean for me for a cool down.

I later checked my Garmin and found that my heart rate averaged 179 for the race. Yikes, that was a bit high and explains why I felt so bad on the run. That is essentially my threshold, or heart rate I can hold for 1 hour. Ouch, I guess that sun was working its magic on me.

This was the first year I stayed for the entire RRR, and boy was I ever tired from that. Up at 5, in bed by 10:30. And then it was up at 6 the next morning for race number 2.

Sunday was race 4 of the MEC race series. I missed race 3 sadly, but had 2 2nd place finishes in the other 2 races. Originally I had signed up to run the 15 km race, but after the way I felt waking up, I decided I should drop down to the 10 km (I didn't think I had enough oomph for a really tough 5 km either). 10 seemed like the smart choice.

It took about an hour to get to the race site, so I had to leave early and while it was chilly at the start I knew it would be warm like Saturday. 

It is a mixed start for the MEC races, with the colour on the bib dictating the distance. I started up front and quickly started running side by side with another guy (Chad was his name). I swear his bib was a 5K bib, so I tucked up behind him and let him pace the race to start. After a kilometer another runner popped through into first and I saw his bib was a 15 km one. His pace seemed doable and I didn't feel like pushing the first 5 too much. As we reached the 5 km turn around, I noticed that Chad didn't turn off and I got  slightly confused. Now I didn't know what distance he was running and I didn't feel like I wanted to have a duel this day. But we reached the 10 km turn around and only I made the turn. Whew.

I was also quite alone at this point and it was another 1 minute or so before I started to see more runners coming along. So I knew that if I maintained this pace I should be able to take the win. I cruised along listening to my tunes as as the last kilometer came into view, Supertramp's Long Way Home started to play. I laughed as this happened  during my marathon as well at the end. At this point I wanted to really take the short way home. 

As I came through the last half a kilometer I picked up my pace, pulling out a 3:40 over the last kilometer on average and passed the clock at 40 minutes. Not my fastest (even for the weekend) but it was what the legs had left in them. My average heart rate was 167, so much better than the previous day and more in keeping with a 10 km race.

I was told that the Bib of the Beast devoured all souls. Perhaps that is my magic to winning?

Regardless, a great weekend even if I feel like a truck ran me over. I was just not ready for the heat of the Fall I guess and pushed my heart rate limits a little too far trying to maintain a pace.

Where I found this leaping ability after the second race I'll never know

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