Monday, June 06, 2011

Tender Knee

 This is where the Tender Knee runners started our 12 km journey at around 8 am. 114 of us headed out on a beautiful morning on the North Shore.

This is also the same starting area as the 5 k I did at the end of April.

The start added an extra kilometer to spread out the runners a little more before hitting the narrower trails ahead, so we'd be running 12 k in total.

I actually don't remember much of the start because I was so nervous as this really felt like my first official trail race.  I don't remember this added route, but I do remember a few people that I would see for about the next 4 k, and the overall relaxed atmosphere with many people running together and chatting.

My plan was to just listen to my body and respond to it when it wanted to slow down and speed up, or stop. I also planned to run as much of the uphill section of the trail as possible. I had been doing a decent amount of steep hill training to prepare me for this early section of the race. However, once I actually hit the trail, I felt a little different. I slowed quite quickly and then started walking. Everyone around me was also walking so I didn't feel any panic about being left behind.

The trail leveled out a little before opening up at the powerline. The first section of the powerline is fairly flat and narrow, so I quickly got up to pace again and was alone for only a few minutes when I hit the big hill. The "powerline climb," as it's known, is a very steep hill with lots of loose rock making it very difficult to walk up, nevermind run up. Up ahead there was a long line of runners walking the hill, and when I looked behind, it was the same. Everyone was very encouraging on the way up if they passed or if I passed them. The hill training didn't prepare me to run this, but it did make the walk up easier and I moved fairly quickly, trying to maintain a steady pace over the loose rocks. It was very fatiguing though.

About 20 minutes later I reached the top of the powerline, and did a little jog to the first aid station where I ate two slices of orange, and took two mini cups of water: one to pour down my back, and one to drink. From here I knew it would be a steady descent for a while so I moved along with everyone else into the forest trail, which was a welcome relief after the climb in the sun. I quickly recovered and found the strength in my legs again, finding enough energy to bring me up to pace and even add a little more pace to my descent. I knew I needed to take advantage of this downhill section and gain a little momentum and time on this race. I'm pretty good at descending on both road and trail, so I needed to take advantage. My goal was not only to finish, but to finish at around 1:30.

I did fly down this mid-section of the route, and soon found someone that I could run with and felt that if I kept pace with her, I'd be doing okay. db was at the next break in the trail that crossed Mt. Seymour road (it's a sleepy road since it leads to the ski hill which isn't too busy right now -- even though there is still quite a bit of snow up there!). db gave me water, and had my fruition bar ready for me to take for my final burst of energy, but the thought of food did not appeal to me, and I just took some water and kept going. That was my first mistake. Always re-fuel. Two wedges of orange and some water is not going to carry you very far. However, I did continue to move quite quickly down the hill and was fine until we hit the final section of the trail. This last section is about 2 kilometers long and is all roots, rock, stairs, and up and down hilly sections, so you are always having to adjust. It's what I'd call the "technical" part of the race. Half way through this section I felt my body slowing down and wanting to stop, but I had to keep going. I moved at a much slower pace, often walking and found it difficult to find any rhythm going up and down and around sharp turns while navigating over roots and rocks the whole time. Phew! Now my goal was just to finish, and that I did!

  Here's the view of the finish line. It's actually just about at the right part of this frame. I think that's the back of the stage on the right where the announcer let people know who was coming through to the finish.

I did manage to complete it in 1:29, so I finished within my goal time!

At the end I headed straight for the water, took off my shoes and socks and waded into the cold water to soothe my legs. It was the perfect way to end a race. After that, db and I sat on the grassy hill watching the runners come in, and listening to some of the stories about the runners that the announcer knew. 

Here are my tired, but happy feet. I really had the best time ever during a race, and loved the laid back atmosphere in such a beautiful setting.

When's the next one? I don't know. I'll be away during the Mt Seymour run so I can't enter that, and I don't think I'm ready for Whistler/Blackcomb (goal for next year?), which means I'll probably wait until September when Buntzen Lake is on the schedule and run that. It's really close to home so I can even sleep in a little longer than usual! I'll definitely have to get some more experience over the roots and rocks before running Buntzen.

It was such a beautiful day that Sunday, db and I went for a walk after we went home for brunch and coffee. We drove up to Belcarra and took a short little trail that runs along the water. 

This view is actually looking towards the area where I had run that morning. Deep Cove and Belcarra are opposite each other on Indian Arm, the body of water that stretches north from Burrard inlet.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. I wish every Sunday could be like that one.
 Oh yes, here's my official results since it was a chip timed event:
placed:  54  (out of 114 of us)
division total:  7/25  (there were 25 of us in my division and I placed 7th)
Division: F40-49  (female ages 40-49)
Chip time: 1:29:40 (a chip device electronically records what time you start and finish)
Pace: 7:29 (to compare: on a road race I usually run on average a 5:55. Those hills sure do make a difference!)

Needless to say, I'm pretty proud!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOOT!! Go Sis!! Awesome time and sounds like you're hooked! xo.