Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Campbell Valley Stomp 2013--a New PB. Third Time's a Charm.

My third running of the Campbell Valley Stomp was my first race of 2013. This race comes after my December run streak, and after some specific training on each of my runs so far this month. Hill repeats, tempo runs, and a couple of long runs have definitely helped in bringing some strength and speed to my form, which definitely helped at the race on January 20th.

The course is the same as it has been-- a 5k-ish loop course that rolls over the terrain for the first 3 kms on crushed gravel, then a steep downhill descent into the valley, then 1.5 kms of needle-and-threading the way through the technical rooty, twisty, and icy forest floor until a false flat into the climb up to the parking area.

Sean, Philip, and I set out at 7:30 for the race. We managed to get there around 8:15, the perfect amount of time to run the course in reverse, and then toe the line for the 9am start. The start was good--I managed to scale it back a bit from my normal blow-thyself-up start, and Sean kicked it up a good amount from how he likes to start.
The 5.5 km warmup helped with getting our butts in gear and starting the heart. We got into a group with Shannon Penway, the winning female from the Resolution Run. Sean had told me that he had run with her that day. Shannon is quick, and she managed to push us along for the duration of the course. Mike Murphy took off like a shot.

Our first lap was solid--21:36. The frozen and icy ground was difficult on the steep downhill and through the valley bottom, but the Speedcross 3s were fantastic for the run--awesome, confidence inspiring grip. I wish that they had a smaller offset, but the cushioning and tread pattern was outstanding.

At the top of the first lap, we came across the lead female at that point, young Olivia Willett. She is a very quick runner who has a great running future, but she was audibly gassed from the hill and fast start, wheezing loudly as we passed her.

Sean, Shannon, and I kept a deliberately steady pace for the second half of the course. I was yoyo-ing with Shannon, trading the lead, falling back, running even, falling back. It was a good test after two months of base building to keep the pedal on for the whole race. By the intersection on 16th and 20th, I needed to cinch up my left show as it was coming loose on my foot. I decided that I could do the last 3kms with a loose shoe and take the risk of turning an ankle. Luckily, that would not happen, and everything was alright as we weaved our way through the low lying fog of Sleepy Hollow/Campbell Valley. Coming out of the technical trail/boardwalk, I was in the lead and kicked as I hit the wide gravel path. I heard Sean yell out "You Bastard" as I punched ahead, expecting him to respond with a kick of his own as he does so often in training. Hitting the hill with a bit of a distance between me and Sean and Shannon, I managed to crest is steadily with ease (thanks to those hill repeats) and kick run scared to the finish line in 43:20. Shannon was 7 seconds behind me, setting a new female course record in the process. Sean finished another 7 behind her. For both me and Sean, this was a rather large improvement over the last two year's finish times, and a sign of good things to come as we develop strength, both mentally and physically.

2013: 43:20--a new course PB. Results to come
2012: 51:28 Snowy/ icy course 12 overall /45
2011: 46:53 Wet/ Flooded out course 18/104

A whole bunch of numbers and graphs that show that I worked hard on this one.

2013 had us finishing with nearly an even split time over the two laps. After a change of clothes, some Shots, a banana, and a drink of Skratch pineapple, Sean and I went out for another 5.5kms lap with Sean to total up 22 kms on the day. I suppose missing a long run is okay when we run at our max for half of the distance of the day. Pleased with this result, but I am more pleased with the fact that these tempo/race pace runs are a good indication of how fit I will be for the upcoming races--namely the First Half Half Marathon in February.

It would have been nice to keep up with the Laurie brothers. They start fast and maintain a strong pace through the whole race. They have made some big gains with their running in the past couple of years. But in trying to keep up with them, I probably would have lost time towards the end.

The rest of the day was tough--I had a couple of short naps (under 15 minutes) throughout the day, and have some fatigue at the time of writing this, one day later. Perhaps my nutrition adjustments have helped me in dealing with soreness and fatigue--less processed sugars (if any at all, but I do like chocolate!), less carbs and flour-ey products, waaayy more raw fruits and vegetable, coconut oil, and plenty of water. I hope that controlling this aspect of my training will bring some solid results in the coming months, and some better post race body feelings.

The race results are here.

The next race for me is the Aldergrove Mud Run in two weeks. The next long run for me will be 40kms on the coming Saturday. Things are rolling along.... the aggregation of marginal gains*.....

*probably becoming cliche by now, but I like how it describes the growth that we have as athletes. It really is the only way to progress....