Monday, December 29, 2008

Stewart Mountain 16km Race Report

This was another race that went off very well for me. Similar to the Gunner Shaw race two weeks previous, I had limited training time in but felt pretty good nonetheless. The difference for this race though was the fact that I don't even remember the last time that I ran longer than 15km so I wasn't really sure how I'd hold up come the back half of the race. I decided to stick with a similar plan as in the Gunner Shaw: push hard for 500m to get a good position, ease off into a moderate pace that felt a bit slower than I feel I could go, ease up on the Stewart Mountain climb, push the downhills, get into a good grove on the undulating backhalf, and hammer the last 2km after the last bit of singletrack.

Everything again went like clockwork. I pushed hard and got in a good position along with two other racers. I held on for quite some time but shortly before the big climb up Stewart, they started to push the climbs a little too hard and I knew that I should tone down the pace just a bit. I really wanted to make sure that I had some juice left at the end of the race and knew that pushing hard up the big climb would have limited benefits. I held my position as I ran and power hiked up to the summit and was surprised to pass Shawn Nelson as I did so. Shawn is the brother to Mark who co-owns the Frontrunners Westshore store and is a very strong runner who I have yet to beat in a runner race. He was definitely struggling and admitted to not doing well on the big climbs.

Garth Campbell greeted me at the top of the climb and after some encouragement, I was on the long downhill. Shortly after, Shawn caught up to me and made a pass but continued to stay in my sights for the next few kms. No one else was in sight front or behind so it became a push to maintain position and keep in contact with Shawn.

My plan was working out very well as the run back to the lake felt good and I knew I had lots of energy to bring up the pace and finish strong. Once we got into the final singletrack, I started to reel Shawn in and would make my move as soon as the double track hit. Just as we were about to exit the singletrack, I lost my trail focus for a fraction of a second, smashed my left toe on a root, and planted my right knee and forearm into the dirt. I felt the pain, then the adrenalin kick, got up, and started to run without hestiation. What once started like something severe, quickly faded to manageable as I continued on a little shaken but still going.

After a quick little climb, I started to put on the juice and made my way up to Shawn with about 1km to go. I sped by and kept up my kick to avoid an immediate follow. Without looking back, I continued to push hard all the way to the line. With a quick shoulder check near the end, I could see that I was alone but gave a final push to the line anyway.

I ended up with an impressive 11th overall in a time of 1:12:08 which I was very happy with.

Shane Ruljancich had another great race finishing in 3rd overall and Gary Duncan once again impressed me with 16th overall (and he's in the 50-59 age category!).

It was yet another great race hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers.

Quickly after the race, the weather started to turn very cold and foul and the next day we all awoke to good snowfall that has continued to last over the holidays. What good timing for the race!


No comments: