Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Weekend Double - Rum Runners and MEC 2019

So this happens way too often. I get signed up for the local MEC race, then join into Rum Runners and realize that they are back to back on the one weekend. Now I guess I could just not sign up for one, but alas. At least this year I got a free entry thanks to Nuun to the MEC race, so it wasn't a wasted opportunity.

First up was Rum Runners. The BLT Runners had 4 teams running this year with some great people on board. As is usual, we had to work out some last minute changes due to injuries, but the teams were filled.

I arrived at the start of Leg 2 with Craig. We got some team pictures done with most of the squad and then began the process of wrangling team members to make sure they got to their start lines on time. All went really well, the weather was great (though it could always be cooler). Then after watching 7 Legs start and finish, it was my turn.

I have been lucky to do almost all of the Legs at Rum Runners and this was my first year doing Leg 8. There were some heavy hitters with Road Hammers, Outliers and Maine-Iacs leading the way in the Legs so far. My goal was to run hard and try for a pace in the 3:40-3:45 area and hopefully get a top 5. I have been Top 5 at Rum Runners in all years but my first where I was 8th on Leg 6.

We took off on time and I knew I had to stay near the front. It is hard to pass in Rum Runners since you have to stay off the road, and Leg 8 had a really tough bit of washout to start on the road side. I was quickly into 4th place and tucked in neatly running a good pace.

Leg 8 is really hilly for the first half or so and I knew I needed to take advantage of that. I do like the hills. First place was long gone, but I needed to keep myself up front as much as possible, and by kilometer 4, I surged on a hill and took second place. I held that for quite awhile, only finally relinquishing it around kilometer 8 or 9 to Judson from the Maine-iacs. He quickly put a gap on me, but then settled back into a similar pace. I thought about surging up, but truthfully, I knew where I was effort wise and that was too early to make that kind of move.

The rest of the race was really pretty even. I held my position, my pace was relatively even and I entered the final 2.5 kilometers of flat even road in my pace zone. I finally looked back and had a sizable gap on fourth, so I knew I just needed a strong finish to hold onto a great position and time. 

The heat was certainly taking its tole but there had been a decent cool breeze blowing. This was a now a head wind, but it didn't matter much. I felt good overall and was happy to see the finish, even getting cheered on by fellow BLTers and their taunts of how good their ice cream was.

I crossed the line with an average pace of 3:45 min/km for 12.8 km and was totally happy with my performance against some tough runners.

The next morning I awoke and headed off to run the MEC 10km trail race. This race was dead moderately flat with some mild turns, for an out and back.  I wasn't expecting a lot, but hoped to hold a 3:45 pace again for the day. There was a few fast runners in the crew and soon we were off.

I immediately fell to third and again, there isn't much to say as I stayed in my position for the whole event. It was hard, I looked at my watch way too much, which is a good sign that I was tired. It was overcast and cool to start, but soon was raining and the humidity was rising. I watched at First and second pulled away and I was really feeling done.

Soon though, the finish line was in sight. I didn't have a true kick to push through but did find a little extra pace in these old legs, dropping to a low 3 min pace as I crossed the line in 36:59 officially. I think this may be a PB for a stand alone 10k, though I did run 10k faster to start the Bluenose 15k earlier this year (it was net downhill though). Nice to see a time that starts with 36 though. I was happy finishing third and grabbed a quick Nuun to celebrate and get those precious electrolytes back.

I am pretty happy that while sore, I'm not that sore.  That may be the bigger victory. Oh and I tried the Brooks Pure Cadence in the 10km race. They seemed like a fine shoe, though maybe not as fun as my New Balance 1500's.

Great work on the BLT Runners in all things this weekend, with our teams doing wonderfully at Rum Runners, and then following up by taking the Participation award for most team members showing up to the MEC race. This is an award we tried to get in years past, and then we managed to grab it just by being excited about going to these events. Great work everyone, keep racing strong.

Oh and a shout out to Avery Deacon and her sister Anna for conquering the Berlin Marathon today.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Where has the Summer Gone? 2019

So it has been awhile. After June I made a switch for the summer to trail running, like last year. This year with the goal of a nice race in PEI. Along the way I had some great adventures. 

I began with a birthday run on the Bluff Trail. For those that don't know, it is approximately 24 km to do the out limits of the whole trail system of single track fun.  I had never taken the time to do the whole trail before and I must say, it was darn fun, though tough for sure. Next time I do it, I hope it isn't raining.

Our local Park Run has been an absolute awesome event since I started going to it earlier this year. 5 km of fun. This summer I used it mostly as a tempo run, as I always find doing those solo tough. In this environment, a pseudo race, I find it much easier to push myself.  I have had some great success as well, with many sub 18 minute runs.

When Luke shows up, we try and do a litter run afterwards as well.

Oh and there was this one Park Run where I ran, finished and switched into volunteer mode. And why not, these events need support to exist and giving back is easy to do. #highvizhero

The race in PEI went pretty well. I feel I ran a strong and solid effort for it. Sadly, someone removed course markers (not other racers), so we at the front missed a crucial turn. Eventually we found our way back on course but that added an extra 3 km and dropped me from 3rd to 10th overall. The course was stunning though and is a run I think anyone that likes to race on trails should consider. 

From the trails of PEI to the trail of Colorado. It was off to visit family and when we do that, you can't miss out on running there. The elevation, the heat, the threat of rattle snakes (I did see one) and the jet lag make for some tough runs, but the scenery is wonderful. 

Back home and another Park Run with members of the BLT Runners, who have been strong supporters of this event. In fact for Canadian running clubs, we are the fourth biggest group attending Park Runs. Congrats to us! 

Oh and this weekend? Well, I went to Park Run on Saturday and was feeling good. I knew I want ed to give a good hard effort and even wore my fast shoes. The weather was cool, there was no wind and I thought I had a good shot at a good time. 

Kyle showed up and said he was going to grab a good sub 17 minute time. I knew I couldn't do that, as my PB was 17:31, and this is a tough course (downhill 2.5 km and then uphill 2.5km). I thought if I could hang with him on the downhill, that would give me a good shot at getting near my PB. And I did manage to hang with him, clocking the first 2 kilometers at 3:20 and 3:22. Kilometer 3 is half down ad half up, but it is more flat at that point, so I managed a 3:26. Kyle was pulling away at this point but I could use him to mentally pull me along through kilometer 4, which is the toughest. I dropped my average pace to a 3:36, but as I started the final kilometer I looked and my avg pace was 3:27, well below my PB time from earlier this year. So I pushed the pace up a little until the final 200m and gave it what I had left. I crossed in 17:19 and a new PB was born. That was hard. My heart rate was truly maxed out.

With Fall approaching, I will be into a few different things, race directing, Rum Runners, pacing at Valley Harvest, and one more duathlon. Still loads of fun to be had.