One of the things I look forward to in the fall/winter/early spring is all the non-triathlon races going on locally. They’re always a good time, and usually I use these races to test my fitness, get a hard race-simulation, work on nutrition/tactics/race strategy, or in the case of the recent few races, just to plain have some FUN! This fall has been no exception, as I’ve had my share of fun at a few races in the past month. All have been for fun, with no preparation really, just kind of diving in head first, so-to-speak. The UBC Masters swim meet was a blast, biting off a heck of a lot more than I could chew, entering 5 events total (the 50fly, 100free, 200free, 400free, and 800free events.) It was a tough day, as I was coming off a night shift at work, and was tired. By the time I went in to compete in my 4th event, I was ready to pull the pin. BUT, I had entered all the events, and was going to do them whether or not I almost drowned. Suffice to say, NO PB’s were had that day, but I sure had a lot of fun! It was so much fun to hang out with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and that’s one of the best parts of these events.
|Fall Classic, pacing another runner|
A couple weeks ago, I jumped in to the New Balance Fall Classic Half Marathon, in UBC. No prep leading in to the race, I just wanted to see what I could do in a half, as I hadn’t run one in over 18 months!! I started the race with no preconceived notions as to how I would perform. I find that NOT having any huge expectations for races like this helps me stay relaxed, and generally care-free at the starting line. I went and just ran my race, sticking with another runner until the 18km mark, where I found a surge in my legs that helped me pull away for a 3rd place overall. It was funny, when I was running I was just thinking about my form, staying relaxed, and didn’t have any real strategy for a hard kick at the end. But as the race drew on, friends out on course were cheering me on, saying stuff like “The podium is yours,” and other words of encouragement. I was running for 3rd/4th with this other guy, at the 18k mark, something inside just told me I HAD to go for it. I tested with a surge, the other guy didn’t respond, so I just went ballistic and poured it on heavy. I made a good gap by the end of the race, and was really happy to cross the finish line in under 1:15. Bjoern was at the finish line, along with a group of other friends, and I was elated to have felt as good as I did during the race. I thought the 2011 racing season was now finally completed!!
|Breakaway for the finish!!|
Apparently, since I felt so good in the race, I was to enter the 2011 Canadian Cross Country National Championships in 6 days, something I’ve never even done before! I was excited, as XC is essentially the running version of cyclocross, and I’m always jealous of the cross riders I see covered in mud (cause it looks like SO much fun, playing in the mud!!) Getting a pair of New Balance XC race spikes, I spent an hour with Bjoern on the course before the race, figuring out what I was getting myself in to. Race day came, and I was pretty flat! Coming off yet another night shift, I headed to the race site and got ready to race. The weather was awesome (and by awesome, I mean windy, raining sideways, cold, and the WORST mud I’ve ever even comprehended running in!) It looked like it was going to be a complete gong-show out there, but I was ready for action!
|Photo courtesy of Mark Bates, at 321Photos.ca|
|the New Balance 1700 XC Spikes|
A few friends were around the course, cheering us all on, and Jeremy Hopwood was in the race as well. I wasn’t really feeling good during the race, but going in to the last lap (5x2km loops,) I yet again found a solid surge to pull ahead of a group of guys, and managed to fend all but one of them off until the finish. I’ve never run in anything like that before. It was fast, furious, and REALLY worked stabilizers. It was nuts. As Hopwood said, “when the sand feels like the easy parts, you KNOW the course is in rough shape!” Very true, there was deep, uneven mud all OVER the course. But, like I said, I went there to have fun, and I did. I also achieved my goals for the race:
A. Don’t get lapped;
B. Don’t come last!
Ps. thanks to Mark Bates at 321Photos.ca for use of one of his photos from the XC Nationals, you can find the rest of his event photos here.
Now I’m starting to get back in to the training routine, getting ready to begin the base building process all over again. I don’t spend a ton of time during the race season doing a lot of strength training, so I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard lately to try and pack some meat on these bones for the winter! It’s that time of year, to mix it up a bit. Baking season is upon me again, and I’ve been baking up a storm the last week. You can’t go to a Christmas party empty handed, and I have a LOT of those coming up, so I need to refine my recipes. Not that my family doesn’t mind, they are my self-appointed product testers. Must be a tough job.
I hope everyone is having a great start to their winter, getting ready to enjoy the upcoming holidays! Happy training out there people, and don’t forget to be smart, sensible, and safe on the roads!
By for now,