Location: Pickering (not quite far enough from Toronto)
Likes Earned: 20
Likes Given: 20
1st Week of August
Long weekend here...... not that it really registers when you're retired, but it did mean that I had friends to run with this morning. Did 10+ km with the gang in a park I'm unfamiliar with, followed by a good gab and cold beer..... at 10am.
Easy 44:44 Monday evening. I'll call it 5 miles. Felt pretty good this evening so I ran for an hour. Going to the state fair tomorrow so I'll do a short run in the morning. Local 5k is Thursday evening so I may put on my Winnie the Pooh outfit and run it. Won't go too hard though as I have a half marathon trail race Saturday morning.
I travelled to Lowell Michigan to run the Old Farts half marathon on Saturday. When a race names hills, they are usually pretty tough. With the 5k, half marathon and marathon all starting together it was impossible to tell what place I was but there were a bunch of runners that sprinted ahead. By the time I got to the woods after a couple minutes I couldn't see any runners ahead of me. There were 3 or 4 right behind though. The first trail section was pretty standard and I went through the first mile in 7:45 and the second mile about the same. We came out of the woods to run across the Fallasburg covered bridge built in 1871 that led to the old town of Fallasburg http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapi...r_140_yea.html which we ran up the hill and through. Once we got through the town, we took a left on the North Country trail. The trail got a little more technical here and I stopped at one point thinking I had lost the trail. The runners behind told me to look up and I saw a the course flags on a steep rock garden that we had to run up. After this section we exited back to the road and the first aid station at 4 miles. My split was 32:15 but that is the fastest I would be running during the race. I knew from the course profile that the fun was about to begin. Another runner had been running right behind me most of the race and seemed a little unsure about being able to follow the trail so I got the idea he hasn't run many trail races. On the road section he easily got 15 seconds ahead of me. Once back on the trail though I caught up with him and passed. We then arrived at a section called The Larry. A couple steps past the sign telling us this I went knee deep in mud soup. The guy behind let out a couple surprised expletives and I never saw him the rest of the race. After a few more strides of shin deep mud I was back on solid ground. It wasn't long before the hills started. They were all steep both up and down gaining and losing 200 ft each time. There was the pyramid, the Ed, the Fred and the Mummy. There had been signs the whole race telling us the Mummy was waiting. I was starting to catch runners in this section of carnage. One was leaning against a tree a few feet from the summit of one hill trying to catch his breath. Another was picking his way around another muddy section figuring it would be knee deep too. I plowed right through the middle and was happy it was only a few inches deep. I finally conquered the Mummy and went flying down the hill on the other side which was roped. After grabbing the rope a few times and my hands beginning to burn I took my chances and made it down without falling. After a little bit of running beside the river I realized at some point we would have to go up again. Little Chuck was waiting and taunting us with signs that he would make us walk which he did. After a little bit more running the second aid station finally arrived right before 8 miles. I passed 8 miles in 1:14 so I had been averaging 10:30 pace. The next two miles were on rolling fire road which was easier but still a little tough as it was sandy like running on a beach. The fire road was on the ridge atop the trails we had just run. After an aid station at 10 miles, we turned onto to road for a half mile stretch to get to the last trail section. A runner passed me back during this section and got out of sight on the trail. I came back on him when he stopped for a few seconds. He said he had just taken a hard fall. He stayed ahead of me though I would get close on the more technical sections. I had no plans to race him though as I could tell he had much more speed than I did. When we came out of the trail, we had a quarter mile of road to the finish and he easily pulled away to beat me by 15 seconds. I was 6th overall in 1:59:28. The swag included a trophy for 1st 40-59 AG after a 42 yr old was overall master running 1:55. There was also a finishers medal, a The Mummy towel and choice of a jacket from a previous years race. Not only did the hills make the course tough, we were constantly having to hurdle downed trees and branches covering the trail and ducking under large trees. The middle 4 mile section would rival any contrived obstacle run. I stayed to see the winner of the marathon win for the 7th straight year. I was told the course changes a little each year and based on the times, this was one of the toughest.
It's been really humid here the last few days. Yesterday I ran 64 minutes and had to wring my shirt out when I finished. Two miles really easy today. Right hip and left knee aching a little. No race this weekend as I need a little break.