Sunday, January 6, 2013

Race Report: Run 4R Kids

I joked with a few of the runners at Run 4RK that I did not sign up for the 30K as I was undertrained for that distance, so I signed up for the 6 hour.  "A" goal was to run further than 30K, B goal was to run at least 10.2% more than 30K (to indicate I was obviously so much better trained than the 30K runners) and C goal was the first ultra of the year.  I also had sub-goals.  Could I run for 3 hours before the first walk break?  Could I run faster than my current tortoise training pace?  Read on.

Run 4R Kids:

After last year's race, Lee Anne waxed eloquently about this charming race.  I tend to discount her opinion about races as she is not the strongest trail runner and she had placed second female overall.  If I ever place second male in a race, that race would be the best race ever!  However, she assured me that the indoor trail had a number of hills and some river crossings, so I opted in.

Before much more confusion sets in, the course is a rough concrete flat oval track of about 240 meters in length.  There are no river crossings, no hills, no trees and it was strongly recommended that you use the washrooms when nature calls, instead of going beside the track.

The event is organized by Cindy and Scott Gallagher.  Neil Jefferson graciously stepped in on race day to help out and provide aid station supplies.  The event is chip timed, which goes without saying, as there is no way to manually track the laps of 60+ people going around a 240ish meter oval for 6 hours.  Chip Timing had a very cool display projected onto a screen, which showed the latest person to cross the timing mats, with their current total distance!

Race report:

My biggest concern of late is that I am training at a very slow pace.  I can't seem to run at my normal pace and suspect that I will need to incorporate speed work into my training regiment.  With knee surgery 5 months earlier and a lack of training, I was content to run at a slow and steady pace, while Cameron, Chris Baker and Marylou lapped me every 3 minutes...  Note:  I think "content" is the wrong word.  No one likes being the tortoise in any race, but more so when it is so evident on a short oval.  I also ran out of witty remarks as they constantly flew by.  Imagine me, at a loss for words!

And so I slogged on, roughly 1:30 laps (one and a half minutes, not hours.  Please, let's not be overly rude about a sore spot) going around and around.  I tried Nuun in my water bottle for the first time.  One nice aspect about running an indoor track is that you can pick up your water bottle, continue running and drink, then set it back down on your table after 1 loop.  One downside to running an indoor track is that you can pick up your water bottle, continue running and drink.  I think you see what I'm trying to say here!  The only time you need to stop is to grab a gel, than back to running, as you eat the gel, then grab your water on the next loop to swallow the gel.  The Nuun probably helped, as I felt comfortable running until 25K, which was further than my current long training runs.

How slow was my pace?  It took almost 3 hours to hit 25K.  At that point I was getting very tired.  With considerable knee and back pain, although a baby ultra was still possible (42.3K), I was struggling with selling the trade-off to myself.  Was running an ultra worth re-injuring my knee or back?  I was woefully undertrained and not overly interested in a 3 hour painfest.  As in any race, you need to set shorter goals, so I focused on hitting A goal (30K) before 3.5 hours and without walking breaks.  I almost made it!  At about 28.5K (I could not focus on the results screen any more) I had to take a walking break.  I grabbed my Nuun/water bottle and walked a lap.  I was then able to run until I hit 30K, at about 3.5 hours.  After that, the intent was to walk a lap, then run a lap.  Guess what?  Didn't happen.  I could not increase my speed past a painful hobble.  I even tried sitting for 5 minutes, in the hopes of some recovery.  I walked slowly until 33.95K, when my knee started hurting at a walking pace.  Time to pull the plug!

As I said at the start, I'm satisfied with the results.  It could have been worse.  I'm sore this morning, but no more than the day after any other race.  I have no lingering pain and I fully expect to be able to go for a run tomorrow.

Surprisingly, the race truly fills a niche.  A fellow runner (I forget who) mentioned that Run 4R Kids is a rude wake-up call from the holiday season's excesses.  Think running a flat 50K is a piece of cake?  Put up or shut up.  It was also a blast to see and talk to so many in the ultra community.  For 2 years I have been relegated to the "trail" distances (14K - 25K) while I waited for, then recovered from surgery.  Running the trail races (Ontario Trail Series) is a lot of fun, but I miss running with my ultra buddies.  33K also implies that with some serious training, I can run a 50K again this year.

The last 30 minutes of the race was quite exciting and chaotic.  Cameron put on a finishing kick I could not have matched at the start of the race.  He was clocking 1:12 and 1:14 laps, finishing with over 66K.  Lee Anne finished with 51K, 3K under last year's result, but good enough for 4th women overall and great considering she is nursing an Achilles issue.  I think the dark horse in the event was Chris Baker, who finished 4th overall.  Until this year, Chris has not been known for his speed, but for doing well in longer events.  He ran over 60K, which is a significant achievement and makes me wonder if 2013 will be the year of the Bakers?  We all received nifty finishing medals which looked vaguely familiar...

So, now we wait for the Creemore snow run.  It is open to all, but please note it is on Sunday, January 13.  I have to work Saturday!  Format:  Starts at 09:00, run as many loops as you want on a course comprised of some trail (there is currently a foot of snow) and some country roads.  We will have some cheese and crackers and soup after the run.  Also some wine and Creemore suds to help with recovery...

1 comment:

  1. Great report Pierre, its so different running in that enviorment. For some strange reason I rather enjoy it ...weird! I suspect I will see you and Lee Anne back for another crack at it next year.

    See you Saturday.