Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gunner Shaw - Race Report

When I lined up to tackle the snow and ice covered trails around Thetis Lake on the weekend, I really didn’t know much about Gunner Shaw or the 26th Annual Memorial 10K Cross Country Classic that I was about to take part in (aside from a few stories about the massive puddles and the "lakeside" finish line). So, today, before writing this report, I figured I would do a little reading.

What I learned…
Gunner Shaw sounds like he was a pretty neat person, whose friends and family obviously loved him immensely. I imagine he would be proud of the event they have created to honour and remember him. [Visit here for some good articles from the Prairie Inn Harriers website].

I also learned that this is one tough race! (Although, I guess technically, I learned that on the weekend).

So, on to the race report.

The short version... I struggled!

The Long version... Well, it was a beautiful (but chilly) day and a really fun event that I will definitely do again (especially since they had to cut out the puddles this year due to the fact that they were shear ice that would have sliced and diced us), but I can’t say I necessarily felt that way at every point during the race. The trails were covered in a combination of snow, ice and slush which made finding a good footing for a novice trail runner like myself a bit of a challenge.

As the race began, and Kirsten and Tyler quickly escaped from my sight, I tried to settle into a rhythm with the 500 or so other runners jostling for space around me. Off the roadway and onto the trails, I heard a woman exclaim “well, the easy part is over now!” and you know, I think she was right.

As I climbed the first big hill, the pace slowed to a walk – this was not necessarily of my own choosing, but well, if the person at the front was walking, everyone was walking. I will admit though, aside from nearly (and inadvertently) planting my face in the butt of the guy in front of me, I did enjoy the little walk break.

From there, I held a decent pace for a while, but eventually started noticing a lot more people whipping past me. Up and down, over the rocks and through some pretty thick mud, I trudged along. My stomach started growling horribly about 35-40 minutes in and my quads trembled slightly. I seemed to be holding my body in a rather tense position the whole race, trying not to slip on the snow, which made for an awkward gait and I think tired me out - both mentally and physically.

As I approached the last three hills before the finish, I could hear the roars from the spectators on the beach and knew what laid ahead… the big splash in the lake!

I must say, I think my shining moment of the day was my run through the lake (all those tri practices, entering and exiting the water really paid off, haha). I didn’t get too soaked and even managed to gain a bit of ground on the woman in front of me (granted, I think she may have face planted in the water).

So, yeah, I struggled… but would I do it again? You bet.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

... But the fire is so delightful! Too bad I had somewhere to go ;)

This past weekend’s unusual November snowfall kept me from racing in the Bear Mountain 10k, (err, 6.5k - it was shortened due to the weather).

Living at the top of the Malahat, we tend to get a little bit more of the white stuff than everywhere else in the Capital Region. So, when I awoke Saturday morning, we had about a foot of powdery precipitation - and it was still coming down!

The roads were being ploughed, and I probably could have made it down the ‘hat and up the Bear, but being a born and bred Victorian, my confidence with driving in winter weather is not the best. As such, I spent the better part of Saturday morning humming and hawing about attempting the drive down... by the time I finally sucked it up and decided I should head down, I realized I hadn’t cleared the car off yet. As I began uncovering the heap in the driveway, I realized there was no way I was going to make it on time and so I called it quits – car only half uncovered - and played with Rusty in the snow instead (which I think he was quite thankful for).

I’m sorry to have missed the race, but have gotten over it fairly quickly as this weekend I am going to be racing the Gunner Shaw 10k at Thetis. Kirsten and I got out for a run around Thetis on Sunday in an attempt to see the race course. We may have made a wrong turn or two, but it looks like it should be a pretty fun one.

Here’s hoping the weather cooperates!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maui Love

Late last night (well, actually, early this morning) I returned from a week of basking in the sun (and replenishing my vitamin D stores) in Maui. It was a somewhat impromptu trip, only planned about 3 weeks prior, when Shane and I decided to throw caution to the wind and join some friends who would be in the "aloha state" for a wedding.

We arrived last Friday night to a bit of a rain storm, but that was the last we would see of any sort of precipitation. The weather was phenomenal and the laid back vibe of Kihei town was absolutely amazing.

We snorkeled, we explored, we ate, we drank, we hiked a volcano, we boogie boarded, we surfed, we took silly sunset 'jump' photos, we didn't get attacked by sharks and we had more than a few beach days! It was pretty much everything you could ask for in a tropical vacation.

I was also able to squeeze in a bit of training (turns out it is all I ever think about). Part of me would have liked to have done more, but it was a vacation after all. ;)

Leading up to said vacation, my desire to run had really been lacking, but it felt like as soon as we touched base on Hawaiian soil running was all I wanted to do! I was lucky enough to be able to get in more than a few great runs around Kihei and Wailea (which is very very hilly). The heat was often intense, but wow, it’s amazing how breaking such a fierce sweat can make you feel so good!

On top of running, I enjoyed a fun swim workout at Kihei’s outdoor community pool. It was so neat to be swimming laps in a pool and be able to look over and see a palm tree in your peripheral. I would have liked to have taken advantage of the pool a little more, but the schedule didn’t always work with the day’s activities.

The only thing that was missing was having a road bike to get out and explore the hilly roads of Maui... but, I suppose I had to save something for next time!