Friday, October 30, 2009

The Monster Mash

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been five days since my last blogging. Since Hallow's Eve Half, I've had several runs and the legs are coming back quickly. Much more quickly than I had expected they might. I was even out doing some speed stuff with Duncan last night under direction of the headlamp. It's night run season again and I'm okay with that.

Anyway, I was quite happy with last Sunday's race. After a week of easy and light running, proper nutrition, and one of Lesley White's remarkably revitalizing massages , I was prepared to race. And race I did. As you know from my previous short blog, I ran almost 5 minutes faster than last year and felt incredible.

At 9:00am, a hundred or so of us toed the line at Jaycee House and took off to the rhythms of Monster Mash. It was a real Halloween experience. The scariest part was how Coo took off and was a solid 400 meters ahead of me going into Diamond Trail. I was shocked to see him go out so quickly and I knew I couldn't let him get too far ahead. I also couldn't run right on his tail or he'd be spooked and bolt. Not that I've ever been hunting, but I guess that's what it might be like. As my new Speed Cross 2 made the decent into Lynn Creek down a steep technical section I knew he would look back to see where I was so I got right up behind him and ran on his left. He had no idea I was there. Four of us bounded down the trail: Myself, Simon P., one super tall dude, and Coo. It was faster than I cared to be going, but I couldn't let Coo go. I rode his ass until the first climb and then made some wise-ass comment while I went by. We ran together for about 10 minutes and into Varley trail, but it wasn't long before we were too far apart to chat. We'd have been yelling and that would just be weird. At the Headwaters parking lot I nabbed a bottle and a well deserved Vanilla Bean Power Gel from my best girl. In need of some liquid, I hoovered back some Nuun mixed with Chia seeds and made a move up the steep climb to Mountain Highway. Again, I was moving quite quickly, but Simon ran with me step for step. Just before turning up Mountain Highway I squeezed off my gel and entered into some turn over up to Griffin Trail, where the fun began. I ripped it down the switchbacks of Griffin and Snakes and Ladders to come out at the headwaters and find Coo behind me again. He really must have hammered it. As I had finished my bottle and gel, I tossed it to Lara and took another gel with me. I figured that would get me through the race.
I knew that I had been tailing the top woman, Katrina Driver, since the start, but I hadn't seen her until this point. Two years ago I'd seen her fly by me on this section like I was sitting in a lawn chair and that's when I knew I needed to work on speed. I wasn't going to let her go this time and she made me work for it all the way to the uphill climb on the half Lynn Loop. I needed more power to get by her and my legs were doing all they could do so I bit the top off my final gel and slurped it back. That down the hatch and all I had to do was finish this thing. It was all downhill from here and just my style, rooty and technical downhill. Coming through the Gazebo my Lara told me I was in 3rd place and I was shocked. I had no previous clue where I stood at that point. I ran straight through the Mountain Madness aid station and followed Simon, Katrina, and Orange shirt guy, who I'd never seen before, down the canyon to what we call girl hill (the ascent out of Lynn Canyon to Diamond Trail). I slipped past Katrina on the uphill and I knew that wasn't the last of her. Simon and I weaved our way through the freshly cut trail and I looked back to see where Katrina was. I couldn't see her, but Simon must've read my mind because he said, "she's still back there". I knew he was right and stayed the course. Out onto Lilloet Road and the pitter patter of fast feet came up behind about mid-way through the cemetery. She was 250 meters ahead of me in no time at all, and Simon had pulled away too. I gave chase and reeled them in, but couldn't get to them before the end.

I had a great run with Simon, but I think I owe some of it to Katrina. Every time I saw her I was reminded to keep light and quick. If you've seen her run you know what I mean.

As well as running with great people I'm sure I was prepared in terms of nutrition and training. I've worked hard at getting quicker this year and thanks to Phil Green, who was first place for 40-49's in the 10k, I've begun to get there. In fact, since I got back from China I've had some incredible training partners. The Lazy Trail Runner, who is single, loves coffee dates, and has huge quads, and Kev and Linda, who have come so far since last year. They both beat last years times and Kev even rolled under two hours. So cool guys! And thanks.

That's all for now. I'm off to run the middle 30 k of the Chuckanut 50 this weekend. I'm happy to leave out the hell that it is the first and last 10k.

Monday, October 26, 2009

12 Seconds Shy

It almost happened. I bettered my own time by four and a half minutes, and was so happy about it, but still missed Doyle's Challenge by 12 seconds. Regardless, the race was amazing. Ate well, ran well, felt amazing. The rain stayed away and I ate bacon afterward. I'll tell the full story in a couple days but for now, thanks to Pete Watson (Race Director) and all the volunteers out there. It was so cool seeing all the costumes and being encouraged. Thank you for taking the time.

Also, Kev and Linda, it paid off you two. You both improved and even managed one sub-two hour finish. Next stop, Orcas 5oK on February 6th. Think about it.

P.S. The Speed Cross 2 really came through. Thanks, JP.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Will Run for Beer

Since last year's Hallow's Half Marathon I have been seeking vengeance and redemption for my shotty performance. I felt slow and heavy and watched everyone I know walk away from me. It was pretty much survival from the start line. You know those runs you do that you just wish you hadn't started? One of these happened to me on race day.

I still ran an acceptable 1:5o, but the Lazy Trail Runner ran 1:48, "Lungs" Welbourne ran 1:46ish and Doyle ran 1:45.

These past few weeks I've been working hard on things and I hoped to serve up some whoop-ass this Sunday morning. Lungs has decided to focus on Cyclocross, in which he's incredible, and Doyle is off saying Hola to the Southern side of the equator. It's Coo against Craik I figured, but in his place, Mr. Doyle has offered up six cold and frosty bottles of fun for the runner that takes down his blistering 1:45:55.

I've been running with the Lazy Trail Runner a fair bit and he's poised to take down Doyle's time. For him that's only three minutes to work off. I'll have to shave off nearly 6 minutes and in racing a half marathon that feels like a fair bit of time.

All the best to the Lazy Trail Runner and my two neighbours (across the alley) that have kept solid with the workouts. Go kill it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Falling Down for Hallow's Eve Half Marathon

No, I haven't fallen down! Not recently anyhow. I'm just in awe of the fall colours and beautiful runs. Blue sky, crisp mornings, crackling, orange and yellow leaves, and frost on bridges. There's nothing better than sleeping under warm sheets when the air is cool around you. When you step out of bed it's only for a coffee and a run.

Nine of us grouped up this morning for the first of two Hallow's Eve Half Marathon orientation runs. We met at Jaycee House for 8:30 am to be ditched by Pete Watson. Apparently it was too cold for Mr. Watson and he was n't willing to strip off his puffy blue jacket and entertain us over the next 15 kilometers. Heart-ache aside, the nine of us got over it and set off up through the cemetery and into the forest. After bounding through the rooty and windy forest start, we linked up with Baden Powell and dropped into Lynn Canyon to begin the long climb up to the first switch back of Mountain Highway. This course, although gorgeous with coloured leaves and fun technical trail, is basically a long climb up, and then a long, fast run down. The best parts being off Mountain Highway on Griffin and Snakes and Ladders. People really get flying down there and a shoe with solid grip, and lugs, like Salomon's Speed Cross 2, is a must.

Our group, quasi-led by Duncan and me, cruised easy up the many staircases, had some riveting conversation on topics such as Obama's recent Nobel Peace Prize, and enjoyed the morning. We ran most of the race course ,aside from short Lynn Loop, a six kilometer section of turn over, a steep climb, and more sketchy, fast downhill.

It was a perfect fall running morning on the Shore and thanks to everyone who came out. I hope you're all planning on running the race on October 25th. That goes to anyone who might be reading this. If you're looking for an end of season race with a bunch of costumed freaks, come on out. It's 21k and quite a competitive field. Check out Hallow's Eve Half Marathon and hopefully we'll see you out there.