Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Batawa Fat Ass Trail Race Report

On Sunday I had a very fun time on the trails at the Batawa Fat Ass Trail Races. There were 539 people out running the various distances of races. The course was very unique, with a 7.5k loop that went up and over the steep ski hill a couple of times and had some gnarly, leaf-covered single-track; plus a 10k loop with one major hill and some fun, winding and muddy trails. I ran the 25k, which used the 7.5k, the 10k, and then repeated the 7.5k.
Heading up the ski hill
It's amazing the difference a six-week block of good training can make. Since October, I've been putting in higher mileage, did three tempo/progression runs and three interval workouts, as well as some strides and generally picking up the pace of my running more frequently. Even after such a short block of increased training so far, I felt a lot closer to where I want to be for this race, and I really enjoyed it.

We've had a very dry year, so the trails were mostly in great condition, though there were definitely a few wet and muddy sections to keep everyone on their toes. My La Sportiva Vertical K trail shoes were light and responsive on the trails, handled the muddy sections just fine, drained well after being soaked, and had surprisingly good cushioning for such an extremely light shoe. As well, my Greenlayer La Sportiva Team zipped longsleeve was perfect for the varying temps - I was totally comfortable all day, especially since I used the handy thumb holes to keep my hands warm in the chilly beginning.

Ahh, serenity in the blissful woods

The 25k had the smallest field, but there was some good competition with local marathoner Leslie Reade taking the women's win in 2:18 and Carley Kenwell of Kanata about 30 second back. I picked up third in 2:21. Full Results.

Sandy Musson and her Tri and Run Sports team put on a very welcoming and fun event. I'm already looking forward to enjoying the trails next year! In the meantime, there is the Frozen Ass Snowshoe Race on some of the same trails on February 17th.

Some fast photos (or a slow film):

Here's a slick video race report of the event from Get Out There magazine:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Looking back, looking forward

I was stumbling through some old files and found this blurb I wrote in 2001:

The limiting beliefs I have carried with me about running are being shattered right before my eyes and it is like walking into a whole new world of possibilities. It makes me giddy. With other things too, like writing, I can see that for years I have been telling myself that 'I can't'. That I’m scared I won’t be good enough. What is that but a self-fulfilling prophecy? I need to believe first, and I am getting better at this all the time because running is showing me how. I am growing more confident every day that in the fall I will run a marathon. This has been a vague goal of mine for almost 5 years now and I am beginning to let myself believe it and wrap my head around it. The idea of completing a marathon is so powerful and exciting for me.

It’s incredible to look back on that; I barely recognize that person. Recently I compiled a list of races, and I've run 66 (not including 7 DNFs), including seven marathons (6 road, 1 trail) and 13 ultras and multi-day events. The person I was in 2001 didn't even find those distances fathomable, and now most of the time I take it for granted. I remember how empowering it was when I realized I could step outside my door and run for hours and hours. For me it was honestly - and I'm not exaggerating - like being granted a superpower.

It's good to read those words I wrote and to pause and reflect on past hurdles that I worked hard to overcome. It helps me re-assess my goals going forward. Life is so incredibly, preciously finite, and I'm excited about my training and racing in the coming years to collect more memorable experiences to look back on. There's never any better time than now.

Other interesting tidbits from my race list:
- Most frequent race type - 5K road (15)
- I've done more 3-day fastpacks (2) than 10k road races (1)
- Ironically, second most frequent race - 10k on snowshoes (12)
- DNF Reasons - 2 injury, 1 heat, 1 sick, 1 lost, 1 burnt-out, 1 course conditions
- Number of DNFs that took more than a few hours to get over: 1
- Year with the most races: 2006 (14)
- Month with the most races: Julys (11)
- Number of races I was thrilled with at the time: 8
- Number of races I'm thrilled with now: 8 (5 of 8 from above, and 3 others)
- Biggest disappointment: Not finishing our full Rideau Trail fastpack
- Most painful race: Haliburton 50 Miler
- Coldest PB: 5K at -35C windchill
- Fav race course - Escarpment Trail

First Trail race, 2003