Thursday, 27 February 2014

Fort to Fort Trail Race, 8k: A tired finish to the series!

Taking place just off of Allard Crescent near Ft. Langley, the Fort To Fort trail race is the final event of the Fraser Valley Trail Series for 2014. Last year I took on the 30k event, but coming off of the heels of last week's Pacific Road Runner's First Half half marathon, and still feeling the lingering fatigue in my hamstrings, I decided to run the shorter distance on this beautifully golden and white morning. Golden for the fact that Canada clinched gold in men's ice hockey in the wee hours of the day capping a great Olympics in Sochi; white for the fact that snow covered much of the ground as I woke up. This used to be called the Houston Footrace, but was changed last year as the race organizers wanted to branch out and accommodate a long run in the series.

I hit the course for warm-up and made some strides happen for 5.5k. Ryan Hayden, Mike Murphy, and Chris Barth were already there when I arrived. Chris took on the half marathon, with me, Mike, and Ryan running 8k. We started in a group of 3, which turned to 4 in the first km. A younger Coastal track team runner made his way up to us. I hit 2k in 6:50--3:25 for the first two kms. A fast start, but I also lost 12s the by 2k mark to the lead group of Ryan, Mike, and the youngster.

By 4k, I was passed by a couple of more young guys after entering the Houston Trails, three dudes to be exact, placing me exactly in 7th position. For the next 4k, I would surge, hammer, push and crank, but just had nothing to give to catch up to the speedsters in front of me. 6-8 planned surges turned into 4-5 surges. I managed to get within catching distance to one of the 3 runners in front of me on the way back to the finish, following the Fort to Fort Trail., but could not shut it down. The kids were strong. With the last km, I pushed hard, trying to make in under 30 minutes, but was at my limit. Drained and tired, not from the race but from before the race, I brought it in for 7th overall, and 2nd in 30-39,  retaining my place from the Houston Trails....

HR jumped, but then I could not keep it consistent.

It is clear at this point that I need a break from the high intensity racing. Some time to switch it up and come back in a few days/weeks renewed. The running is good--today was my second best 8k time. Yet when things seems to remain the same, adjustments must be made.

7th Place. Not my best time for the series, or my best finish.
This race was great, however we did not explore the Houston Trails above Derby Reach as in prior years. That has been one of the draws to this event--getting lost in the rolling, steep climbs, maze-ing through the forest finding our way back to the Fort to Fort Trail. I loved the prior editions of this course. Today was great, just not the best it has been because of the course and lack of running in the woods.

Three Things I did well:

  1. Start strong--6:50 for 2k? That felt pretty good. Probably too strong of a start.
  2. Realize that I am comfortably uncomfortable at a sub 4:00/km pace. Now I need to push faster.
  3. Nothing else. The day was hard, and I was not up for it.
Three things to improve on:
  1. I need to hit the race feeling fresher. Today I had lingering fatigue in the legs from last Sunday. High intensity brought that out in a hurry and limited my ability to feel light and fast. MORE REST/SLEEP, including bed times that are a bit more civilized.
  2. I let the race run away on me after the first km. The gap was small, but I was not up for running as fast today. 
  3. Maybe not race the week after a big event, like the First Half Half Marathon. The rule of 1 day of recovery per mile is something that I need to put into action. I think a couple of days on the bike would be a good idea for me right now.
There are some fast kids on the Coastal club. Just fast enough to take the win and some of the top places in the 8k race today.

Chris Barth and Tracy Corbett won the 21k events for male and female. Well done you two!

So, with a bum hamstring, now is the time for some light running, more biking, and less intensity, track runs not included. It is time to go back to basics for this guy. Heal up, and keep my eyes on May.

And again, this result is not terrible. It may feel that way, especially in light of the fact that I thought I would be faster after last week. However, the day of recovery per mile factors into my progress--and I need more time to feel like I can be in top form. Racing so closely together is tough this early in the season. I remember cyclocross racing from a couple of years ago and feeling burned out from the back to back weekends, the mid week training and recovery, and then doing it all over again the next Sunday. Tough stuff. 

The signs point to "simmer down now". I think I may do just that! 

3 races in 4 weeks, and 5 in 9. That is tiring!

Thanks again goes to Peninsula Runners for yet another amazing, low key and fun trail series! Best value ever!

Next up will be the Dirty Feet Trail Half Marathon in Kamloops, March 23rd!