The Lower Mainland XC Series is drawing to a close with only two races left: The Fraser Valley XC Ramble and Gunner Shaw 10k. After 6 races, I was tied for first in the points standings with Nicholas Browne, a runner who is of a higher athletic caliber than me. On any given day, Mr. Browne could mop the floor with me, and take the series points standings. Yet, I still want to remain competitive in the category.
Besides, registration for this event in store was only $5! I could not pass that up!
Even thought it was only a 6.3k run, I figured that surely the shorter distance would help me in developing the speed endurance in order to get faster. Chris Barth of the North Delta New Balance Concept store has suggested that I focus on bringing my 10k time down. In doing so, he feels that I will bring my marathon time down. Sounds like a good plan, which is why the shorter distance runs are happening in abundance for me right now.
I arrived at Clearbrook Park on Sunday morning after a night of little sleep. 2 of the 3 kids had us up until 3 AM. With a 7 AM wake-up, that left me with little rest. I have this uncanny ability to focus before and event. Perhaps you share it too: no matter how little sleep, I get so jacked for a race that a lack of sleep is really no matter the night before. Two nights before is another story. That can get me into some trouble, if I have a terrible rest two nights in a row.
I ventured out to Clearbrook on a cup of Earl Gray and a bowl of Oatmeal. The first person I saw was Corinne Issel (Thanks for the $5!--*I left my wallet at home and drove a car out there on empty), and we agreed to warmup together. I collected my bib, and we took off around the park for 3k.
Warmup done, ditching my jacket and hat, we made our way to the start line for the 9:30 gun. As usual, the key suspects were there: Tyler Ginther, Drew Nicholson, Lisa Brooking, and a few other friendly faces. I wanted to mark Lisa, as she had beaten me by just over 40 seconds at Remembrance Day in Stanley Park. My goal was to stay as close as I could to the lead group.
The gun went and I charged to the front with Drew. A selection was made early, as 7 of us ran together: Deon, Tyler, Drew, Lisa, Paul, me, and Mikhail. Quickly, the group split, and I was left to run with Paul and Mikail. Lisa took off on lap two, and away went my secondary goal to try and stay with her. The lead was made up of the faster 3 guys. With one and a half laps (3k) to go I tried a number of times to come around Paul, but he matched my pace with every attempt, keeping me on his side. I backed off, content to follow him through the three laps and pacing off of him.
With 1.5 km to go, I was feeling the effort and thought about letting him go and backing off. That would have let me off the hook and I could have slowed my pace a hair and coasted into the finish. However, I pressed on, staying glued to his leading Mikhail and I. Mikhail dropped off of our pace, Paul cruised around a big mud puddle, while I splashed right through it taking the shorter line. I knew that with 500m to go, Paul and I would be pushing for a sprint.
Into the finishing straight, a 170m straight shot with a slight dip in the middle, Paul took off. I managed to catch him, come up on his left side and match. He kicked a second time, and I let him go, knowing that this race mattered little. I came in 2 seconds behind him.
The big one is coming up. I need to focus my energy for that....
Official results: 22:17 for 6.3km, 6th overall. 3:31/km pace.
Feeling fast and good about that one! A pretty solid effort over a short distance.
|17km/h Average. A surprise even for me.|
|Official results from the XC Ramble.|
|Leading the series with one to go! If I make the Gunner Shaw, I have wrapped it up.|
New Balance MT110
Salomon Trail Shorts, long.
BMO Run Van Gloves
Sugoi Wallaroo Sleeveless top
- Peninsula Runners for putting on a great, inexpensive race--you do so much for running in the valley!
- Corinne Issel for helping me get home!
- Darren Walton for the gentlemanly complements on my recent finishes. I respect you in heaps for how evenly we match up.
- Paul Yuot for pushing me so bloody hard in this race! You are a fast kid! Keep it up!
Although I am registered for the final race of the season, the Gunner Shaw 10k XC, things look bleak for my start on that day. My daughter has a dance recital that day during the race. That puts me in a spot of bother: start the race and win the series, yet miss the recital. Or, be the good dad and watch the dance recital, and lose the series....
Just showing up and placing in the top 25 of the age category will secure the series for me. Easy enough to do...
Lor says "no" to the race.
On one hand, I lead the series. On the other, my daughter is only young now. Will she remember me as the Dad who chose racing over her?
I am trying to figure out a way to make both happen....sort of.
I think my interest in racing may lose out....
New Shoes: Hoka Stinson Trail EVO
On the flip side, things are going really well right now with the run. Leaving the bike alone and just running has given me a heap of volume, and helped me improve my form, strength and efficiency. I am stoked to see what will happen in just over a week.
Also, another source of happiness is found in a very unlikely place. I have to admit a bit of a guilty pleasure, as of late.
I bought a pair of Hoka's.
Yep. I never thought that I would try them let alone like them. But after 4 runs in them (mainly all recovery runs), I am seeing just how awesome these shoes are. Sure, I have turned my ankle in them on two of the four runs, but I think that has something to do with an adjustment to the stack height, adjusting the lacing system a bit tighter (Salomon does the speed lace thing way better), and to running in a very different shoe from the minimalist offerings that I have had over the past 2 years.
Don't get me wrong, I am not kai-boshing the minimal shoes for the ultra-cushioned shoe. I love the speed and feel of the lower drop/low stack height minimal shoes. I will be wearing my ballerina slippers for a long-temps.
But the Hoka is a revelation--a full suspension mountain bike for your feet. The ride is buttery, cloud like. There is seemingly zero impact on the lower leg and feet in these shoes. Running in them at the track I felt like I was moving with reckless abandon. It is very much like floating, or even treadmill running, but way, wayyyy more fun.
I dig the clown boots. I look forward to many a tired, haggard-leg day when I can grab those bad boys and still run without pain on a recovery day.
A Blog Revamp
I find it curious that even for these small races, I am putting the effort into these race reports. I suppose that in doing so, I am tracking improvements by documenting them. I have been toying with the idea of taking a new approach with this blog, beginning to talk less about myself and my results. In some ways, I see many athlete's doing that on their blogs, so in some ways it would be like going with the flow of what is a trend right now. When I read their finely crafted posts, I come back to mine, and am almost embarrassed to see what I have laid out here. It feels very self centered and self serving. I make no qualms about in the description on the right hand corner up there.
This is a journal of my running and biking adventures, and races. In fact, I do look back on it myself as a journal to see where I was and where I am now. The journey within the journal is a very important part of my own growth as an athlete, and this blog holds me accountable to stay engaged in fitness, taking care of my health, and getting the word out about what me and many people I respect and look up to are doing in my circles. This year cyclocross has been non-existent on this blog, and that is due to me taking on higher learning, and having family commitments.
But if anything, I am proving to myself that there is no excuse to make for myself: a dad of 3, working full time, taking on an M.ED, to let myself go, give up on my goals, and drink beer instead of running or keeping physically active. Wait--I still like to drink beer.....I meant drink been only. Speaking of that, I think I should organize a guerrilla beer mile race. Any takers? I digress....
I am keeping myself physically active. That goes without saying. My race results, increase in my pace, speed, age (Boooooo!), are all fruits of my labour. I truly feel that keeping active is the fountain of youth. I want to keep doing this until I am old and gray. I want to keep running until I am over twice my age.
However, I am already seeing some of the cracks in my body--my Achilles tendons suffer from tendinitis from time to time, my ankles are weak, I have to take some rest days here and again, and vary up my pace, distance and workouts, etc. For the most part, I know how to deal with those very minor health concerns. I just hope that I am am not prematurely breaking my body down to the point that I will have to think about pool running by the time I am 47.
Should I change this blog up, or keep it the same? Should I still keep speaking from my self centered heart about these races, or talk more holistically about engaging my body, about keeping active.
Something tells me my blog may become a bit in-genuine if I do that.
The real question is--
Is anyone who reads this wanting to come to the track with me to run a beer mile race?
Thank you for reading!!!