blog banner

blog banner

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Race Report: TREAD 6 Hour Trail Run Relay

Great event!  Thanks Chico!  And of course DoubleBellyBuster!

The Course

It was a 4.2km loop on some really beautiful trails.  Very hilly... and somewhat diabolically so!  It started with a long gradual uphill, but once you got to the top you never seemed to get to a corresponding downhill.  The downhills that there were mostly were very steep or punctuated with sharp steep uphills.  Pretty tough stuff, my quads are cooked, mostly from going downhill.

My Race

I didn't actually know anyone on my team before I got there, so first off was meeting them!  There were only 3 of us on the team which was originally going to be 4, which meant more laps.  This was OK by me conceptually... but more on that later!

I was the second to run in our team.  At about the 500m mark I found myself behind a lady who was maybe slightly above my comfortable pace - but I decided to stick with it.  It was fantastic, like having my own personal pace bunny (and best of all she was a good trail runner and chose very good lines!  And curves.  If you catch my meaning.)

Lap 1: 20:34

I had about 50 minutes between laps, which was enough to recover quite substantially.  I ate one gel and drank at least a bottle of Gatorade/eLoad between each, this seemed to work out really well.

Lap 2 was probably the toughest for me... I knew the course a little better but I was just not very comfortable, perhaps trying to still push a bit too fast of a pace.  My Garmin went a little wonky on the distance and I thought I was way off my previous laptime, so I pushed - only to get to the end and find that I was right in the ballpark!

Lap 2: 20:55

Lap 3 the fatigue and stiffness started to show up a bit more.  Hills were harder, and I walked a couple of the really steep ones... once again I thought my time was blown to bits, but it was pretty OK!

Lap 3: 21:19

Lap 4 was probably the one I felt the best on.  I knew the course pretty well by this point, so I knew when to push, when to recover.  Even though it felt good, my time continued to slip... but not too badly!  I also knew at this point that a 5th lap was inevitable, so I tried to keep things pretty reasonable and not blow up.  By now my legs were very tight.

Lap 4:  21:39

The 5th lap felt a bit like a death march... the pain in the legs was just so bad now, all those downhills especially had really added up to some screaming quads!  Knowing it was the last lap helped though, especially for the finishing kick.

Lap 5: 21:50

All in all I'm pretty delighted, my hill training really paid off and I feel really strong on this kind of shorter stuff.  I was very consistent - every lap I was about 20 seconds slower than the one preceding it!  This was kind of par for the course for most people, a gradual fade as fatigue built up.  My nutrition plan mostly worked out great - no solid food, just gel and sports drinks (just like I did at Ironman actually!)

Best of all, the people I raced with were awesome!  Our team ended up 4th in our division, out of about 15-20 teams.  Thanks again to DoubleBellyBuster for the invite, it was a great time, nice meeting everyone.

I would also add that despite the difficulty of the course, it's a good event for beginners in trail running.  There's no pre-defined distance, you do what you can at the pace you want (as long as your teammates are on the same page of course!).  Walk up a hill, watch how some of the expert trail runners do it, and soak in the ambiance.

Chico Racing puts on great events, too - food was great, course was well marked, announcers were entertaining, there was even live music - I mean you really couldn't ask for much more!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Race Preview: TREAD 6 Hour Trail Run Relay

6 hours, as many laps of a 4k trail loop as you can, team of up to 4.

Race website

I have never done this race before, nor have I ever been to this facility (Mansfield), so it will all be new!  I don't even really know the people on my team - so no expectations, just out to have fun and do the quickest 3, 4, or maybe 5 laps I can.

Monday, May 14, 2012

5 Peaks Durham Forest: DNS

I had a family emergency so had to leave town last minute and didn't do the race.  Life is like that sometimes.

Changing plans and will try find something new and traily to do in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Race Preview: 5 Peaks Durham Forest (Enduro)

Race website

This is a trail race through beautiful Durham Forest.  See my revised map from the race site with some notes...

The good news: I know the forest very well... I've biked hours and hours in there.

Click for larger view
The bad news:  I know the forest very well... and I know what we're in for!  They've included a lot of single track, which is pretty hilly stuff... especially in the first 1/3 or so of the race.  I mean really, could they not have skipped "Wall of Pain"? Or "Lunatic Way"???  It's got Lunatic in the friggin' name!  This is going to be a toughie.  And they've increased the distance from 12km to almost 15km, so this will be a pretty big challenge for me with my current mileage.

The goal: finish with a smile on my face.  Keep well within myself for the first 1/2, and hopefully have something left in the second 1/2.  Get some trail racing under my belt before the Moraine Relay.  And smile!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Keeping a Canoe Straight

Went out for a spin in our new canoe, an 18 foot long Jensen, kevlar, crazy fast!

... well at least it would be if someone who knew what they were doing was paddling it.  We were all over the place, had a tough time keeping it straight. 

It wasn't so much that it would turn quickly on us, but rather than no matter which side we paddled on we would pull the same way.  Supposedly the person at the back has the "mechanical advantage", so when they paddle on the left, the canoe should go right and vice versa.  That wasn't happening, either because I'm not strong enough or something with techique.

After looking at a few sites on paddling technique, it became quickly apparent that it's us.

This is from Hemlock Pete's page (used without permission but I'm giving him a plug so hopefully in the spirit of straight paddling everywhere he'll be OK with it!  Visit his page for many more tips!).

We were doing it the INCORRECT way, or at the very least we weren't consistently doing it the CORRECT way.  This means the boat was being pulled in weird directions and the forward thrust alone couldn't overcome it.

Hopefully next time the canoe goes straight as an arrow!