Monday, September 25, 2017

MEC Race 4 - September 2017

So it was race 4 in the 5 race MEC series. My first 3 went well with 3 second place medals. But those were races in tougher conditions (winter, heat, hills!).  This race is flat and in the Fall. So while there was some humidity, the air temp was cool enough and the course was pretty easy.

I started with a warm up run of about 4 km at a super easy pace, finishing around race pace to warm up the legs. I had opted for the 15 km option, as I wanted to see how my half marathon training was progressing. Ideally I wanted to run my A goal pace on this course (I have a B goal pace as well, but that is another post). That would be a 3:48 min/km.

This year, due to the number of people entered in the race, the 15 km race started first. We lined up and were soon off. The top 4 men soon formed a pack and we took off from the rest of the runners. After a bit, even though I was feeling good, I glanced at my watch and saw we were running too fast for my goals on the day, more in the 3:33 range. I eased a little and soon found a good sustainable pace of 3:44. My placing was now 4th about 100m behind 2nd and 3rd.

The first 2 water stops came and went and I didn't bother grabbing anything. The final stop on the trail was the turn around, and as it required me to come to a crawl to get around the cone, I grabbed a glass of water and rinsed my mouth out before taking off.

My pace had dropped off  a little bit and I was now averaging 3:46 as we headed through kilometer 8 and 9.  I didn't look at my watch much but kept my distance to the top 3 runners fairly even, running on feel.

By kilometer 11, I was starting to feel the humidity a bit, but was enjoying the on trail shade.  Now we were starting to come across runners from the 10 and 5km races, which did require a bit of moving about on the trail, though everyone was pretty spread out and it wasn't a huge issue.

I knew I was starting to fall back pace wise, but with 2 kilometers to go I hit 3:48 as an average and knew I had to sustain that. I picked up my pace a little and had a good effort for the final kilometer. I crossed the finish line with a time of 56:47 and an average pace of 3:48. My perfect goal pace. So while I missed out on a medal, it was still a success.

What I learned was 3:48 is sustainable, but to be cautious at the start not to push much harder. I'm not sure I could have been much faster, though today (the day after) I feel pretty good, which means there was another level of harshness I could push down into if need be.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Maritime Race Weekend Pace Bunny

The 2017 Maritime Race Weekend has come and gone. Many runners, decent weather and even beer were to be had. For the second year in a row I decided to Pace Bunny the event, helping others get to a goal finish time. I opted for the 10km 45 min duties again this year, just like last, though this year i was all fit and not slightly injured, which made the day even nicer.

So while I said nice weather, it was a bit humid, and that meant the heat level felt a lot higher than usual. Some runners that pushed really hard certainly felt it. Still, it wasn't raining, or windy and therefore, I was happy.

I started the day with a warmup run with Craig and Stacey (more for them than for me), then settled into the start line area to allow people to find me, should I be there goal running pace.

Soon we were off and I fell in behind the fastest runners, making sure they had a clear exit (the start is a bit crowded and tight). Once we made it to the street, everything opened up and I soon got into a good pace and rhythm.

Immediately I begin chatting with my runners. The start of a race is often the worst part. By talking and laughing we keep the effort level a little subdued, this allows them not to overdo it and burn out fast.  This is a flat and fast race except for the 1 decent hill at the 3 km mark. So keeping everyone in check is ideal for a fast finish.

Unlike last year, I managed to hold a good crowd around me for most of the race. By the worst of it (the hill section) I had a great crew of 5 runners keeping pace.  Then by around the 6.5 km mark, the first took off. By 8 km in the next took off and finally I was all alone. My little ones had gone on to glory, but I was happy to finish solo.

But it wasn't over there. Back out I went and found my buddy Jon in the half marathon, pacing him to the finish. Then Shane and finally a whole host of others, eventually clocking in over 25km of running for the day.   It was a great time, and I look forward to putting the ears on again soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Canicross Excitment 2017 - Long Lake Lap Dog

So not only do I race and train (which I do a lot) and occasionally coach but I get involved in organizing races as well. Last weekend was such a case, with the third Canicross race being held under the Maritime Association of Harness Dog Sports (MAHDS) banner.

This race was held in Long Lake Park in Halifax. Without a lot of time to organize, the field was small, but this allowed us to test out an interesting race format.  As well we got to try out some new race timing software on our phone, ideal for small races like ours.

First off, for those that don't know, Canicross is a sport where humans and dogs run together via a hands free harness system. This leads to some fantastic run speed as well as the ability to really work with your dog in a race as a team, not just run with your dog.

Our race was a two lap time trial, with each lap (3km) separated by a rest period. The racers hit the start line, two at a time with 30 second intervals.

The new software is called Cloudtimer. Due to the small size of our race series right now it worked really well. Low priced, offering mass start or time trial based starts and the ability to use a smart phone to do all the onsite work, it was a treat. I was even able to change the start order on the fly. Apparently it is able to  also hook up via bluetooth to various auto timers, which is something that may make sense in the future.  Timing Canicross races can be a bit tricky, but this part of the day went really well.

The 2 lap time trial system was great though. All racers got 2 races for a low price, the ultimate winner Sarah with Eddie, winning both heats.

This a great and growing sport in the Maritimes, with two more races in the series this year. Huge thanks to our support from Inukshuk Dog Food, Salomon, and Aerobics First. Now enjoy a few more great pictures, with more on our Facebook Page, linked above.