Monday, August 17, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 7: The Marathon

On the way to stage 7 yesterday morning, someone on the radio mentioned a heat advisory. What perfect weather for a marathon!

I already knew this was a "no pressure" marathon for me, which felt great.

I was going into the final stage in 6th place for the week, so top three was not a possibility unless something bad happened to those ahead of me, which I'm happy to report did not happen.

Earlier in the week, it looked as though I had a chance to beat my time from last year, but the slip 'n' slide that was Chicopee made that disappear. The only way I could get a personal best ENDURrun week would be to run a 3:22 marathon, a PR by 10 minutes. That would be an extremely tall order on a perfect weather day after a nice taper, let alone on a day with a heat advisory after already running 120km in the week leading up to the race. So since that was out of the question, I knew I could run a nice comfortable marathon, enjoy the day, and survive.

The start of the race was more conservative than I have ever seen it. I was happy that people looked like they were going to be smart out there. It was not the day to be reckless. Not that recklessness usually gets you anywhere... but a fast start often happens.

I was initially in a bit of a pack, which started to thin out after the first couple of kilometers. I then ran with Lumi for a while, up to maybe 5 or 6 k, and then ran the rest of the marathon with Joanne. It was great to have someone to run with. I truly enjoyed having company the whole time.

About 1km from the finish, telling the photographer (Jeff Wemp) that I was glad to see that he was still in the shade.. apparently I talk with my hands.
After we finished the seventh and final stage, I ran to my car to get the beverages for Joanne and myself that I had mentioned and promised earlier in the run, and then hung out with all of the other ultimates, guests, relay team members, family members, friends, volunteers, and the race director. What a great group of people to spend time with on a sunny Sunday morning and afternoon!

The week went by quickly, as it always does, and now it's unfortunately time to get back to regular life. I know many people are already planning for next year's ENDURrun. For me... I first need to focus on making sure my toe/foot heals properly, then get back at it and hopefully run a strong fall marathon.

Thanks to everyone in the ENDURrun community, both near and far. Although each year it is a little different and some years have more positive aspects than others, the positives ALWAYS outweigh any negatives that there might be. This week truly is a highlight of each year for me; I love summer camp for runners!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 6: 10K Time Trial

Similar to stage 2, stage 5 is a time trial, with runners starting one minute apart, chasing people all the way back to Lloyd's house. There are some differences, though. Monday's stage was 15K and was an out and back. Saturday's stage was 10K point to point from Elmira to Conestogo.

I started at 8:43am and it was already quite warm and very humid. I was happy that it was a short and flat stage today both because of the weather and because of the body that was a little angry with me. My calves were tight and my foot was iffy. Not horrible, just iffy. At least everything seemed OK once I started running.

I finished the stage in 47:37, which is around a minute slower than last year, but I'm perfectly fine with that. I was thinking about the pool for a good chunk of the race, so that is where I went almost as soon as I was done.

Swimming, massage, food, more swimming, and then out for lunch with some of my fellow runners. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning and early afternoon!

In the evening, we were back at the Schmidt house for the traditional pre-marathon dinner/potluck, which is always a good time thanks to the incredible hospitality of Lloyd and Julie.

Going into the final stage, the marathon, I am in 6th place ultimate female with a cumulative time of 10:42:46. I am a little under 14 minutes back from 5th and 22 minutes ahead of 7th. In all likelihood, those positions will remain the same, but anything can happen. So, we will have to wait and see!

Friday, August 14, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 5: 25.6 km Alpine Run

I should be going to bed, but I just realized that I didn't post anything!

Today was interesting. It was wet, muddy, and slippery, pouring rain at times, with a thunderstorm or two.

I almost dropped out of the event today. My foot was not my friend in lap two, but got better in lap three. Hopefully the final two stages being road will keep things relatively happy.

I'll add more to this tomorrow or the next day, but for now.... this is all I'm posting.

Results can be found here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 4: Hilly 10 Miler

Photo by Jeff Wemp
I don't have a lot to say about last night's stage. My head wasn't in it and then the body followed suit.

Me trying to look like I wasn't in pain. Photo by Jeff Wemp.
It happened. It's done. Moving on to Chicopee tomorrow (drink up, Sebastian!)

I almost forgot to include this photo.

Stage recap and results.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 3: 30K Cross Country

I've been a bit of a slacker as it's 11:43am on Wednesday and I haven't yet posted anything about yesterday's stage. Slacking ends NOW!

After significant rainfall on Monday afternoon, it was uncertain what the conditions of the course would be like for Tuesday morning's 30K, but it turned out to be in great shape! The conditions were fantastic. The trails were dry, it was mostly cloudy, there was a breeze that would occasionally shake some droplets of water off the trees onto the runners below, offering a bit of relief without getting drenched. I have absolutely no complaints about the conditions at all. It was pretty near perfect.

I started the stage in 7th place overall in the ultimate female competition, and finished in 6th. I came in 6th on the stage as well in a finish time of 2:42:11, which was over two minutes faster than last year. My splits weren't too bad, either: 26:22, 26:55, 26:46, 27:28, 27:23, 27:20
I went into the stage hoping for 27 minute splits. I did the first lap a bit too quick, but my average split time was 27:02 and I didn't slow too much later on, so I'm OK with that.
I was happy with how I ran yesterday and I truly enjoyed myself on this stage. I had fun out there, even with a confrontation with a raccoon. It kept things interesting and gave me an excuse for lap 4 being my slowest! :)

After finishing, drinking my recovery drink, getting some massage treatment, and chatting with other runners about their races, I finally sat down to eat some food.

Mmmm... food

There were no changes in the overall winners/leaders after stage 3. Rob and Vicky will still be in gold tonight for the 10 miler. I look forward to seeing everyone in a few hours!

Monday, August 10, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 2: The 15K Time Trial

Today was so much better (for me) than yesterday!

I slept more (still not as much as I wanted to, but more), I woke up looking forward to running today's stage, I was well organized, and I felt ready to roll. This was a much better start to the day than yesterday... aka scatterbrain day.

The stage 2 format has a staggered start and I was scheduled to start at 8:32 am, so arriving at the Schmidt house just before 7:30 gave me plenty of time to put my post race stuff in the back yard, talk to other runners, do a very short warmup, watch some of the others start their races, and be ready to go when my time came.

A description of the stage can be found on my blog post from last year, but I'll give a super brief overview here. The 15 km course is an out and back, is quite flat, and has long straight stretches along only three roads. The bulk of the course is on paved roads, with the middle section on a gravel road.

Starting the race, I felt good; I felt happy and excited. My head was in it today, and that was definitely what I needed to happen. If my head's in the game, that's where the focus will be, not over-analyzing the little things that might not feel "quite right" with the body. Whether it was my head or whether my foot was actually significantly better today, I didn't have any foot pain aside from a bit of mild discomfort for a brief couple moments around 10K. 

Most of the race was relatively uneventful as far as how I was running (a good thing!). I had a great time out there today, the high fives were flying and the hellos and good jobs were plentiful. It is so nice to be able to see absolutely everyone on this stage! That is definitely a highlight for me.

Since everyone started at different times today, according to their expected finish times or placing from yesterday, the finish is a rapid succession of runners coming down the final stretch. It was a lot of fun to watch everyone coming in and it was interesting to see the actual results being updated and posted as we watched. Since the fastest runners stated at the end, the rankings of today's stage were constantly changing as more people finished.

In the results, Rob (53:41) and Victoria (1:01:03) won for the ultimates again, increasing their leads over second place; they will wear the gold jerseys again tomorrow. The H+P Men's A team won the relay again today, with Adam Hortian running 48:49!

From the race website: Stage 2 Recap and Results

I've never had a finish time so close to other runners at this stage. 5th (Joanne), 6th (Leigh Anne), and 7th (myself) finished with with very close times of 1:09:40, 1:09:46, and 1:09:47. This made me super excited (and perhaps a little hyper... sorry if I was a little on the giddy side, Leigh Anne! I'll be more calm tomorrow, I swear.) to think that perhaps I won't be running all by myself in some of the longer stages, especially the marathon. It would be great to have some company.

One other thing:
I don't recall if I mentioned the dead skunk on yesterday's course, but today has now marked the second day in a row with a dead skunk. If there's another one at Bechtel tomorrow...........

And on that amazingly appetizing note, I will leave you with the usual post-race food photo. :)

Sunday, August 09, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 1: The Half Marathon

Stage 1 is complete (recap and results) and well... today was great in some aspects and the opposite in others.

It was a great day weather wise. It didn't get too hot, there was a nice breeze, but no obtrusive wind, the company of the other runners, volunteers, spectators, team members, guests, etc was fantastic.

Now the not so great side...
I slept like crap last night. One of my worst night's sleep ever! It took two hours to fall asleep and then I woke up at least 4 times between 1am and 5am. I slept through my first alarm and woke up with the backup. Not a great start to the day, but man was I glad I set a backup alarm!

It definitely wasn't the first time I've slept poorly the night before a race, but it put my whole morning out of whack. I was such a scatterbrain, so it was also good that I planned ahead and had all of my stuff organized the night before!

The race itself started out good for me, but went south rather quickly. Two weeks ago, I hurt my foot.. not quite sure what I did, but I've had it checked out a couple of times and there's nothing really "wrong" with it, so I think it might be bruised... but I have some pain in the ball of my left foot. It's not constant, and it's been resolving for the most part with it mostly being pain free, just with the occasional pain here and there, so I was hoping there would be no issue today. Unfortunately, that was not the case. 5K in, I felt it. It mostly went away after another 5 or so km, but I had apparently altered my gait and ended up with a sore hip for the second loop. Whoops. So needless to say, this was not my finest half marathon... but that's OK It's a long week, and provided the body cooperates, there will be much more running to be had (and enjoyed!) over the next 6 stages.

Now back to the positives...
  • I witnessed many happy runners.
  • I saw several great performances by ENDURrun rookies, two of which earned the gold jerseys (Rob and Vicky), and one who also set a new course record for Stage 1. Congrats Vicky!
  • I got some treatment from KW Health Connection.
    I enjoyed some fabulous post-race food.
  • I went for a swim in the Schmidt pool. 

and also... tomorrow is another day. After that? There are still several more to come... but I will take this one day at a time.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on the course tomorrow morning!

Saturday, August 08, 2015

ENDURrun Stage 0 - Pre-Race Meeting

It's that time of year again... ENDURrun time!

This year seems to have absolutely flown by! I can't believe it's already August 8th and I have already been to the 2015 ENDURrun Pre-Race meeting at the Schmidt house.

Pre-Race Meeting at the Schmidt House

As you can see from the above photo, there is a large field this year. Now, that group of people also includes some spouses and friends, some Sport Contenders, relay team members, guest runners, as well as the Ultimate Contenders, so it is a little inflated, but there are also people who were unable to make it to the meeting tonight. We will not truly know the total number of athletes competing in the event until the stat of the race tomorrow morning at 8:00am.

There were 67 people registered to compete in the Ultimate, however, it is already known that 8 are unable to start for various reasons. This brings us to 59 ultimate contenders expected to compete in this event.

Last year was the biggest year so far, with 46 Ultimates toeing the line at Stage 1 and 42 completing the entire event. Unless an additional 13 people do not show up tomorrow morning, it looks like this will be a record setting year!

As usual, I will be blogging daily, providing some brief updates, some photos (they tend to be of the food...), maybe some links to various sources of info, etc.

For today, I will leave it at this... I look forward to seeing all of the happy/excited/nervous/anxious/terrified faces tomorrow morning morning in Conestogo!

The Swag. You gotta love the swag.