Friday, 25 October 2013

Racing 6 days after a marathon

After the Victoria Marathon, I managed to get our for one run before my next race this past weekend. My Friday afternoon run was a recovery of sorts, difficult to say the least: accumulated fatigue in my hamstrings, a lack of flow--starting and stopping, it was a run to forget. But those types of runs need to happen to get the engine rolling again, and I did want at least one in my pocket before my XC race Saturday, 6 days after the Victoria Marathon. Of all the stuff I have read on recovery after a marathon, nothing that I have found says that it is a good idea to race so close to such a hard effort. The skeletal system, cellular system, mind, and rest of the body need time to repair. I threw caution to the wind and headed to North Van.

The Frank Reynolds Memorial 6.3k XC meet at Cates Park went down Saturday, October 19th. A start time of 2:30 for the senior and masters men and women meant that for the early part of the day, resting and eating would be all that I would get done.

I showed up in North Vancouver at 1:15, paid my $10 (cross country races are the best for entry fees), and got a warm up in with Mike Murphy. Running with Mike, we tackled 2 loops of the 2.1k course for our warm-up. Getting ready to toe the line, Mike was feeling suspect due to some topsy-turvy stomach issues, and was doubtful to race. But like a warrior, he made it to the start line and attempted to run. My race goal was to settle in behind him and see what type of effort I had in me from the week before.

I hit out with the lead group for the first lap. It was fast, but I felt fine considering the fatigue in my legs. The group held together through the start finish, and I faded a bit, but managed to find a little something to slice through the group up the first hill through the parking area. It was at this point that the race imploded, and I was beginning to settle in to my race pace. Pulling up to 5th place, I put a dig in on 4th, and bridged up to the 3rd place running named Victor. He and I held steady through lap two, with Mike and a young guy up ahead of us.

Victor and I traded places through lap three, with me eventually gaping him on the long grass hill on the far east side of the course. I should have taken the effort to make that move stick, but instead I yelled at him to catch up to me, which he did. He promptly took over 3rd place. I knew that we had the race locked up in our respective positions, but the sprint was ahead. Coming into the finish I dug in to run along side him. He bolted. I pulled along side him a second time 100m from the line. He took off from me like he had rocket boosters on.

I followed a few seconds behind him for 4th place overall, the second master's finisher behind Mike, and first in my age category for another 30pts for the 2013 Lower Mainland XC series. This gives me 60 points total, and the lead in the age category. Mike Murphy ran a smarter race and dusted the 19 year old kid he was racing with a couple of strategic attacks.

Post race Victor and I chatted. He told me that he is a 1500m runner on the track. I told him that I am a marathoner. Two very divergent styles which made for a very fun race. I did try to do a bit of a cool down run, but 10 steps into it, I could barely move my legs, and my hamstrings showed up again to let me know they needed some downtime. Perhaps I did need more recovery after the marathon, however I did not notice the hurt on the course during the race. I realize that is in my nature to block out the pain and hammer through the dark tough times--this I know about myself as a racer from years of experience. But, when my race number and finish time are not on the line, I guess I can actually feel and listen to my body. My body was done after this one.

Overall, this race was good effort for the way I was feeling, and an even better result. All in the name of running fast at the Canadian XC Championships at Jericho in late November. A good race--well executed by the Nor'westers Track and Field club. Results are here, or below.

Next Up:

Remembrance Day 8k Presented by Hershey Harriers in Stanley Park. I love that course: challenging, fast, and a great event put on by the club.

Registration for the First Half Half Marathon on October 30th is happening dark and early!

**I did sign up for the 2014 Vancouver Marathon this week, looking to improve on my BQ time. The training begins now.The XC race are working on speed (body), while I am reading the Hanson's Method book (mind).

***It was great spending some time with Mike, meeting Everett again, catching up with Darren Walton, racing with Victor, and being cheered on by Brad Issel (thank you!) who was there with his family as they took top spot in their respective XC races! Great job Issel family!!