Sunday, October 02, 2011

Back-to-Back Race Days

This weekend, I ran two races. I ran the 25K Run for the Toad yesterday and the 10K Laurier Loop today. After ENDURrun, this had to be a piece of cake, right? Well… it turns out when you haven’t really been training and having been doing much in the way of long runs, it’s really quite difficult.

Run for the Toad
I had heard great things about this trail race over the years, but never got around to signing up for it and trying it. For one, the longest races I was running before this spring were half marathons, and two, I barely did any trail running before this year. After the trail running I did in prep for and during the ENDURrun, I thought this would be a good year to give the race a try (it didn’t hurt when I won entry to the race in a draw at Runners’ Choice). 

I left the house around 7:40am to head out to Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area where the race is held. I made good time getting there, but it took about 25 minutes to get from the road to my parking spot due to the number of people coming for the race. I parked the car and walked over to Tent City to pick up my race number bib and my race kit, which included a very nice Saucony gym bag embroidered with the race name and year.

After ditching my stuff in the car and heading back over to the start area, I stood, shivering, waiting for the race to start. It was a very cold morning, but it turned out to be good for running (not so good for the spectators, though).

I went into this race with no time goals, but of course, that quickly changed as I started to run and was nearing the end of my first lap. I decided that I wanted to complete the 25K trail race in under two and a half hours.

It was a challenging course with hilly sections, but some very beautiful sections to and some nice views. I kept a fairly consistent pace, but I did start to get tired legs. My legs were not used to this. With less than 2 km to go to the finish, my calves started to feel like they were going to cramp up. As I reached the final steep hill, I figured this would be a good opportunity to stretch them out without actually stopping. I walked up the hill, stretching the calves with each step. It worked well because I was able to complete the race without any real problems. My finish time was 2:28:31. I completed it almost a minute and a half faster than my goal time, so I was happy with this.

I stretched my legs and then headed to the medical tent to line up for massage so that my legs could be loosened up a bit more in the hopes of a good 2nd day of running today. After massage, I swung by the car to grab my bag and make a trip to the showers. After a nice hot shower and changing into some nice, clean, warm clothes, I felt pretty good. It was time to head to the food tent. The food at this event was prepared by St Jacobs Catering. I had a couple different types of salad, a chicken breast, mango chutney, and a slice of Dutch apple pie for dessert.

I watched several of the 50K runners finish their race and once the last person I knew crossed the finish line, I made my way to the car to head home after a long, but very nice day at the beautiful Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area

Laurier Loop 
Today I ran the 4th annual Laurier Loop, which was also my 4th Loop as I’ve competed in this event every year. Today, the weather wasn’t as nice as it had been in past years, but as always, the event was run smoothly and with great post-race food and conversation with the other runners and the volunteers.

The 2.5 km loop starts and finishes on the track at Sir Wilfred Laurier University and is run 1, 2, or 4 times depending on the race distance you are competing in. I ran the 10K, so it was 4 loops for me.

I started out my race feeling quite sore in the legs, but they loosened up after about 1km. I started to feel quite a bit better and finished my first loop in around 12:30. At this pace, I should run a 50:00 race. My 2nd loop took a wee bit longer and my 3rd loop was slower still. I needed to pick up the pace on my final loop to make up for this one if I wanted to come close to the 50 minute mark. I didn’t think I cared about time today, but I can’t ignore it completely. I ran my final loop in 12:32, finishing the 10K in 50:52.

I placed 6th overall female, 3rd in my age group, but since someone in my age group placed in the top 3 female, I ended up with a 2nd place medal.


I had a good weekend of racing, but next time I attempt this, I should really make sure I’m training properly. My legs are tired and sore. Lesson learned.

It was good to see a lot of running friends this weekend! A few, I saw at both races, but most were at the Toad. Congratulations to everyone on your race weekend and hopefully we’ll run into each other at another race soon.