The first of two hill runs, this course is for the fast, strong runner. This 10 miler is on paved and packed gravel roads and is characterized as demanding and hilly. The start and finish are both up hill, mainly along Wilmont Line west of Waterloo. The gathering point is at Camp Heidelberg at 6pm - the only stage to start at the end of the day. After the short hill start, runners run through a low forested region then join Wilmont Line. There are a series of large hills to slow you up, but the descents are long and fast. Approximately half way out the course doubles back straight towards the finish. The rapid succession of hills during the last third of the course draws on all the strengths of the runner. The final 300m finish usually sees the competitors battle to the finish line and a well deserved leg massage! (description from http://endurrun.com)
Today’s stage was an evening stage, which meant the alarm did not have to go off at 6:15 am today! I got to stay in bed, which was very nice. I was awake before Ryan left for work, but pulled out Runners’ World magazine and lounged for a while longer before getting up. As tough as it can be to prepare for an evening race (when to eat, what to eat, etc) it was a welcome change from the rushed early mornings of the rest of the week.
Since we only have 1 car and Ryan had it with him at work, I bussed up to meet him this evening. This meant I needed to leave the house a little earlier than usual, but it was quick and easy to get ready today and the bus ride is just a half hour, so it wasn’t too bad.
We arrived at Camp Heidelberg just before 5:30, so I had a half hour to get myself organized, make a trip to the washroom, show up for roll call and then walk down the hill to the start with the other runners.
My body was feeling tired today and when I started running, it wasn’t much better, but after a few hilly kilometers, my legs were loosening up. I felt good running today. I maintained a pretty steady pace for the most part, but did have to walk up a couple of the hills to save some energy for the final big uphill to the finish line. I managed to pass a few people on the 2nd half (into a strong headwind) of this mostly out-and-back course and finished strong up the hill. Of course I was passed on the course as well, but I was very happy with my run today. It was definitely a good confidence boost after yesterday’s rough stage.
I finished Stage 4 in 1:25:40 (Garmin time). I believe this maintains my position as 4th place female. There was no way I could catch up to Jessica to attempt to re-claim the 3rd place spot. It was nice to be in 3rd for a day, but I think it was only meant to be mine for a brief moment (or day).
Tomorrow is the “mandatory rest day” and I plan to do just that. I’m getting a massage (which really won’t be relaxing, but it’ll be helpful), then possibly meeting up with some other runners for a beverage.
The next stage is on Friday morning and will be the 2nd of the two “Mountain Stages.” I’m still a little frightened by Chicopee. We’ll see how this goes.