Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Double Race Weekend - Oct 2014

Well the running season, for me, is coming to an end and what better way to celebrate than a double race weekend!

Things started out on Saturday with a local 5K put on to honor our local running club's 1 year anniversary. Courtney did most of the leg work organizing this event and things went off really well. There is a bit of joke because everyone got bib numbers in their race kit but me, though I did get pins for my non bib number. I had thought about just pinning on of the discount flyers to myself instead, but we did find me a number in the end.

This race was self timed, as it was more of a celebration of the group and an exercise in getting out and enjoying the day.Most of us have running watches of some kind anyway, so we know what's up.

 Some shiny exciting medals to commemorate the day

We all lined up at the super fancy start line, and after a nice speech by Courtney and our local MLA, we were off.

The race course was pretty straight forward. Up and over the big hill and onto the rails to trails. It was an out and back so getting lost would be very hard. Lots of volunteers guided us just in case.

I took off at a moderately hard pace, quickly took over first place and never looked back. I generally don't look back, it is too scary to do so.

At the turn around I had built a small lead over second place, but never rest on your lead as you don't know what can happen. So I kept pace as best as I could and got to greet all the other runners on my way back which was nice. It was also nice to see my wife pushing her limits to try and get a PB time for a 5K.

I didn't know if I had enough oompf this day to get close to 18 min, and as it turns out I was right, I didn't. But I did come flying home at a very nice 18:52.

Apparently I came home fast enough that we needed to retake my finish line photo

A great event, a nice end of season win and cake! Thanks Timberlea Tundra Pounders and Courtney.

So a win, then a rest and back at it on Sunday morning. This time the MEC Shuie Half marathon. Yup, a half marathon to follow my 5K race and to end the season for me. Why the Half and not choose the 5 or 10 K that day? Well, Why not. I had only raced 1 half this year, with the other being a pace bunny type deal. So I wanted to grab another sub 1:30 half marathon, on arguably one of the hardest courses in town.

The weather was perfect to start. The rain was holding off (again), the air was cool, and the wind was not strong. All good things for this race.

Now the Shubie Fall race is often more of a cross country event than trail run or regular road race. It is very hilly, it is primarily on crusher dust trails, but there are other sections as well. The trail is covered in wet leaves and this day there were large puddles and huge wash out areas (especially some of the down hills).  

This year we had a 10 minute headstart before the 5 and 10 k runners. That was nice as it avoided the bottleneck at he start of the race. I also decided to hold back a bit at the start and not try to hold a hard pace as I remembered that the back half of the race was extra tough. We began and I fell into second place quickly as the leader took off like a flash. I figured he was either incredibly fast or was going to burn himself out. Either way, I knew I could hold that pace.

The course was tricky, especially at corners, with the wet leaves. We climbed and descended hills, and avoided dogs (well almost avoided).   I help my place well enough at the start, but by the half way point David H. passed me. I thought I might be able to hold onto his pace and did manage to for quite some time, but eventually fell back by a bit. 

Still in second at this point, but not for long

We came upon the water/gel station and I hoped a little sugar would boost my spirits. It did but couldn't compensate for the pounding my quads were taking. From this point on, David and I kept getting closer then pulling apart. When you are running solo, it is often hard to hold a pace, and Shubie's hills don't help.

5K to go and somehow I look happy again

With 5K to go, we looped back to the start/finish line and got a few cheers. Again I was pulling David back to me, but not nearly fast enough, and I didn't know how much he was holding back anyway. I knew at this point I had a decent lead over 4th place and was hitting pace for a decent time, so I aimed at being as steady as I could. I managed to run into a walker, as he couldn't decide which side of the path to go to and kept stepping n front of me, but I didn't slow me down that much.

Finally the last half a kilometer loomed. It was up another big hill, then a series of tight turns. I was very happy to see the finish line at that point and found a little extra speed to grab a 3rd place overall. That means I medaled in all the MEC races I enter this season. Phew. 

A great finish to the season with 2 races and 2 podiums. And while they were not my fastest races of the year, considering that I had let up on training the past few weeks (work, life etc...) I was very happy with the results. All in all a great season with a solid training plan and no major injuries. What more could one ask for.

I'll do a full season summary soon enough. For now, rest and onto the Movmeber  6K Trail run that I and my partner Mike host each year. The RD hat is a fun one for sure. And there are still plenty of awesome races out there as well. If your legs need a challenge, Fall running can be awesome. Check this event out if you really want to try some fun and basic Cross Country running locally in Halifax. Back to Basics Cross Country Running Series.  

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