Here comes my usual 'short' race report. LOL.
I got some upsetting news on Friday afternoon so dinner out with my friend Cindy went late as discussed and had a few pints. Good night though. Good race prep? Well, it was an 11.5k race, so I figured I'd be fine.
Toby's alarm went off at 5:30 because even though he wasn't working (at MEC Toronto), he had an early ride. I was going to get up, but decided to sleep in a bit - Mom said she would come sometime 'before 7' so I figured I had time to get up, get dressed, and take the d-o-gs out. At 6:14, she called to say she was at Dupont and Spadina - uh oh! She got to our place while I was still out with the dogs, who were thrilled to see her. From Davisville to High Park in 21 minutes. If you know Toronto, that's impressive.
I decided to change my clothes based on taking the dogs out, so I went with a tshirt rather than a tank, and by the time I'd fed everyone etc we left about 6:45 I think.
The race was well organized - I picked up my bib, we did beat the timing chips but they got there soon and were sent up quickly.
We had time to relax and went into the trail centre, when I ran into Tim who I've run 40k training runs on the Sulphur Springs course in Dundas Valley, it was great to see him, he was sweeping that day. He said 'I hope you're doing the long race!' and I assured him I was. Heh.
Then I went for a 750m warm up run, and it was close to race time.
The instructions weren't what I expected - I'd looked at the race maps before hand and thought we were doing the top bit first. So I got slightly confused but figured I'd just follow the people in front of me.
But it was very nice to run in a part of Dundas Valley that wasn't the same as the Sulphur Springs course. A few familiar trails, but lots of new trails too. That was really nice.
My pacing was weird for this race - I felt good at the start and went hard except on the hills, but that wore me out as I haven't been running as much as I should be #fatandoutofshape I started off running the hills but when we got to the crossover of what I think is Sulphur Creek it was steep enough that everyone in front of me walked so I did too. After that, I just started walking hills. I mean, I do in ultras, but I'm a bit embarrassed that I did in such a short race. EVERYBODY ELSE WAS!!! If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you too? The answer may be yes.
The aid station was around 3, 4k in. This is my only suggestion for the race. Move it to close to the the parking lot off Sulphur Springs Road or by the Hermitage, which is accessible by car to bring the supplies in. Further into the race, more the middle, and - this race, the aid station was set up in front of a turn into another trail, so people didn't see it and ran past. I didn't got too far past as the leaders were coming back, but you literally had to go around the aid station to get onto the trail. The aid station volunteer didn't point out the turn either.
I had stopped at the aid station for a drink - in small races, I don't feel right running with water and chucking my cup later so that the few volunteers have to pick them up - but it would make more sense to position the recycling/garbage after the aid station, not before.
So those are my aid station comments.
It was a beautiful day. I was running hard, mostly, but slowing - Mom saw me turn onto Deer Run but I didn't see her, though I looked - I saw her leaving it and said hi.
By then I was mostly around the same runners, but the little problem I have when I run too hard (it never happens when I do tempos though, for some weird reason, just in races) reared it's head...leakage. I would bomb down the hills and leak leak leak. AUGH! I just decided to go with it. Road2Hope I walked for a bit to try to stop it, here I was like 'Forget it, it's not that bad'.
The thing is, I peed before the race, didn't drink a huge amount of water, and didn't particularly FEEL like I had to pee. I apparently just when I run at 91% of max HR (or higher...that was my average for this race, yes I'm on a med that can raise HR, but still) my pelvic floor muscles forget their function.
Anyways, leaking aside, I had a great time. Dundas Valley does not boast the most technical trails out there, but it's still really pretty, I like running there. And it is hilly - I forgot how hilly it is.
So, shortest race I've done in years, but I had a blast. I'm feeling good about my decision to step away from ultras for a bit - I've got backpacking trips planned, next race is Sulphur Springs in Dundas Valley (again) where I'm only doing the 25k. Bit nervous for that now!
By the numbers:
Pace per km: 6:47
Elevation Gain, as per 920 (available at MEC!): 256m (over 11.5k! No wonder I was tired)
Average HR: 91% of max
Maximum HR: 95% of max
Place: 70/103 (so front of back of the pack, which is fairly typical for me)
Yes, so the numbers show I'm out of shape.
Sunday Neb and I did a 24.46k hike in Hockley Valley (1,021m elevation gain) and I think that I am going to change up footwear for our backpacking trips, so will need to visit MEC sometime soon.
MEC did a great job putting on a grassroots race - it was nice, no bells and whistles, but post-race food, water, chip timed, bibs - I don't need another medal that I'm just going to stick in a drawer or a shirt that I probably won't wear. The MEC race was about what races should be about - RUNNING.
Great job by the organizers and volunteers, many thanks to them.
A couple of shots of Neb hiking on Sunday, because who doesn't love pictures of dogs?