Monday, September 8, 2008

Race Day

Saturday was the Canadian Off Road Triathlon Championships and I headed up there with Gunner to throw down in the 10K trail run. The group that organizes this event really has their hands full. They run 6 events on Saturday! Half and full tri and du, as well as a 5 and 10K run. Pretty impressive.
Race report is as follows: They didn't have the start of the run course marked so I had to wait through the whole pre-race meeting to find out where I needed to be. By the end of the meeting, they still hadn't said where the run was starting so I asked. By this time, we were about 5 minutes from the start of the race. So, no warm up to speak of. The course was two loops with an out and back section. One loop for 5K and half du's and two loops for everyone else. At the start line (which was made in the gravel by the starter with his foot. Sweet!) all the duathletes, half duathletes, 10K, and 5K runners all lined up together. It wasn't really clear who was running what race. The gun went off and two guys, Kelly Guest and one other dude, took off flying. I got stuck behind a small group of about 4 guys. I found some room to pass at the top of the first climb and rolled along by myself for the next mile or so. Two guys passed me on the next climb and I was suffering, mentally and physically. My legs were not ready for that much climbing. 2200 feet over a 10K course had my calves burning! Last year, there were only 7 runners in the 10K race and the winning time was 48 minutes. I had secretly hoped to win the race this year, and sitting in 5th (or worse, at that point I couldn't say for sure) had me feeling beaten already.

There were two things that kept me running: I didn't want to drop any more time to the guys that passed me on the climb. I thought that I had enough to catch them on the second lap if I could keep them close. The other was a kid that I passed coming down the first climb that was hanging on my shoulder. He was about 15 and running with his dad and there was no way that I was letting him go by me.
So, I kept rolling along by myself working to keep an eye on the guys in front of me. Approaching the turn around, Kelly passed me going back out for the second lap and I knew he was long gone. I surged a little to try and catch the two guys in front of me before the turn. I got there just in time to see them running off into transition. Two half duathletes. Oops. Probably shouldn't have chased them. Another lap to go, and I felt like that kid was still pressing somewhere behind me. Ran the whole second lap looking over my shoulder. It's a windy, hilly course and another athlete could be right behind you and it would be tough to see them. At one point, I was running down a fire road while Mel McQuaid, Jordan Bryden and another male elite were riding up heading out on the bike. They were flying! I was so busy watching them hammer that for a minute I forgot that I was supposed to be racing. Woke up and ran it in to the finish. 51 minutes was good enough for second place behind Kelly who clocked in at 39 minutes and about 5 minutes ahead of third. Kelly is an animal. He finished the run leg of a relay in 40 minutes about 1/2 hour later. When I crossed the line, I saw the kid and his dad sitting in the grass looking fresh and rested. Oops. I guess the kid only ran the 5K. I was running away from someone who wasn't there the whole second lap! Whatever keeps the legs moving, I guess.
All in all, I had a good time out at the lake, even if I wasn't super happy with my run. I definitely learned the value of a good warm up in a race like this. As well, I learned a lot about running my own race and not getting caught up in what's going on around me. I spent alot of mental energy getting down on myself for dropping spots to athletes who weren't even competing in my event. If any one knows of a good book on mental toughness for runners, or has some tips, tricks or resources that might help me to develop some strength between the ears, I'd love to hear from you.


jameson said...

solid race dude... bummer about not being able to warm up.

here's a tip... just go harder!

FatDad said...

Thanks for the tip, James! I remember you posting about running even though you were seeing spots and couldn't really tell where you were going. I use that as my 'Am I going hard enough?' guide.