Friday, August 12, 2011

ENDURrun Stage 5: The 16-Mile Cross Country (25.6 km)–Chicopee Ski Hill

This morning was a bit different than then other mornings this week because I was getting a ride with Paul instead of either driving myself or going with Ryan. Apparently this threw me out of my routine a bit because I managed to forget a few things at home including my recovery drink.

We arrived at Chicopee Ski Resort around 7am this morning (an hour before race start), so we had some time to sit and chat with other runners, get ourselves ready, and use the washrooms without feeling rushed.

While we were standing around right before the start, there were two deer crossing the one ski hill, which is part of the course. It was fun to watch them for a moment, but then it was back to business. Roll call was taken and waivers were signed (I guess the Chicopee people don’t want any law suits if we hurt ourselves). Now it was time to go. We lined up at the start and Lloyd counted us down.

The first km of the course was new from previous years and went through some nice trails, but there were some very narrow sections, so it was a bit tricky with all of us going through at once. It got much better on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th loops. Out of this section, we crossed over a road and into another trail section, which was my favourite part of the course. It was shaded, there was a breeze, and there were lots of twists and turns. After this, we ran out into a gravel road area with the hot sun beating and then onto the first official hill of the course. It was a long and gradual hill, which then turned around a corner to more hill, around another corner to even more, steeper hill. The aid station at the top of this section was very welcome. And the nice shady trail section that came next was also a welcome change from being out in the sun.

The first major downhill (straight down one of the ski hills) was quite steep and tricky to run down as if you went too fast you might tumble down. After the descent, there was only a short stretch before the major ascent up another ski hill. This one was un-runnable for me. I attempted at first, but resorted to walking very quickly. There were more nice trails at the top of this hill and then another downhill, up through trails, and the final downhill of the lap.

Repeat this 4 more times for a total of 5 loops.

Today’s stage was quite tough. I walked up several hills, but I was okay with that. I finished the 25.6 km of Chicopee in 3:12:08. I had some low back and hip pain today and also 2 blisters, but I didn’t feel as though it was slowing me down, just an annoyance more than anything. I’m glad this stage is done. 5 stages down and 2 to go. Tomorrow is the 10K and then Sunday is the marathon.

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