I feel a little conflicted about writing a “race report” for this event because I certainly did not train for it, I did not taper for it and I did not come close to racing it, but it was an official event on the racing calendar and I ran it so that counts for something?!
Greg, my husband, and I have only been running occasionally together lately and I do miss my old running partner (sometimes). He has not been running as much as I have recently so when I suggested that we do the race and he agreed I almost fell over backwards! This race is a traditional fixture on our province’s list but we have never done it before. It is well renowned for being extremely hilly and so the times are relatively slow. In the past I would have avoided it on that basis alone. However the chairman of the running club that hosts it is a really special character and did a lot to support our Comrades training even though we were not members of his club. The least we could do was turn up for his race.
The morning was exceptionally humid and muggy. There was not a lot of sunshine, there could have been a shower or two the night before, and the air was as thick as treacle. I had run 13 miles the day before with my “speedy-girls-running-group” and my legs felt a bit fried. So I was not expecting fireworks to say the least. Greg and I agreed to do it as a training run and take advantage of the fact that there were water tables and refreshments on route. Very foolishly I did not eat breakfast – I am battling to understand the logic of this move but I assume it was because I viewed it as a training run, I was not expecting to run hard and I am trying to become slightly more “fat adapted” (a concept and story for another post). Anyway, we lined up with all the familiar faces from our local running scene and set off with the gun.
At first we stuck to our training pace (about 5:30/km or just over 8 min/mile pace) but inevitably we saw other runners who we expected to beat ahead and ego got the best of us. I let Greg set the pace so I did not have to think too much. I can honestly say that I did not look at my Garmin once during the race… I just did not want to know what pace I was or was not hitting. There was a bit of a climb near the start but there was an equal amount of downhill. Although I was straining a bit whenever we had to go up I found that the downs were just hammering my legs and they felt a bit like jelly. We went through the first 5 km in 26:21.
The second 5km were largely downhill. There were definitely a few little upward bumps but we were hurtling to the center of the earth! I was slightly nervous knowing that it was inevitable that we would have to climb out of there but we were trucking along quite nicely. We hit the 10 km mark at 51:11 so we had increased our speed quite a bit and my legs were feeling warmer.
Just after 10 km i started to get ravenous. It happened in an instant. I suppose that the scientific explanation is that I had depleted my glycogen stores and now my body was starting to shout for food. Suddenly all I could think about was Coke and that never happens. There was a water table just after 10 km and so we walked through that and drank some Coke which made my brain feel happy but not my tummy. From there on out it was just a matter of hanging in there and getting to the finish. We walked through one more refreshment station to get more Coke (somehow I managed to pour it all over myself, I think I was trying to pour it over my head? Clearly a major sugar crash was in progress) but I willed myself to run up the hills albeit slowly. The finish could not come soon enough but the organisers had been sneaky and made us run next to the stadium and then away from it before we made the final run to the finish inside.
Finish time 1:20:02
Clearly the last 5 km was the slowest by a good stretch but we did have 330 feet of elevation in that last section so it was not surprising. Greg was pulling me along the whole way and somehow I managed to keep my sense of humour – unusual!
Finally I am grown up to realise that my time on a hilly course like that with tired legs is actually completely irrelevant to everyone except me. I got 80 minutes of good solid running in and it was fun to do a race with Greg again… even though it felt like we were wading through hot soup and I was seeing stars at times. The next “training race / run” is on 7 December… lets see if I am as chirpy after that one.