Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mercedes-Benz 10K 2009

10K after 5Peaks Enduro - receipt for injury?
This was an unplanned race as I only found out about it around 1 month ago. At the time I had already registered the 5peaks series, I was debating with myself if this was a good idea to do a back-to-back race, both distances were short, not too taxing. Knowing this race might not be an annual event, I couldn't resist the temption of collecting the unique Mercedez medal, I signed up before the early bird deadline. Injury free or medal? I picked medal.

To the start line
Sunday morning started out around 10 degrees, it was nice and cool for a race. I didn't feel the any damage from the Chicopee race while I jogged to the start line. There were a lot of people, the corral divided into 30 - 39 and 40 - 49 sections and a lot of people after. Although I didn't plan to kill myself as I just had a trail race the day before, but on the back of my mind I wanted to register a sub 50min 10k on if possible. I placed myself on the back of the 40-49 corral. There were a group of teen runners next to me, in most races a lot young runners started out too fast and faded right after 1-2k, I know I had to be discipline not following their pace and only shoot at a 5min/k pace to start with.

As I placed myself on the back of 40-49min corral and planned on going out with 5:00min/k pace I didn't expect to pass people on the 1st km. Interesting thing was that the group of teen runners next to me didn't start out fast at all, actually they were going too slow, after about 2min I had to take of and I kept on passing a lot of people, I was sure I wasn't going out too fast at all.. I was just surprised how come these people placed themselves in this corral and went out so slow. When I hit 1k marker it was 4:50, a bit faster than I expected but it was flat and a bit of downhill so I didn't worry too much I just had to slow down a little bit and move on. 2-4k, breathing was totally fine, I was happy that I kept on going at consistent 4:55 pace and for the first time running a sub 5 min pace I don't feel like going into an oxygen debt like I use to, but my legs were sore and heavy, perhaps this was the after effect from 5peaks race the day before, I told myself this just temporary and hoping my legs would get fresh (or numb...) after couple more. Towards to the 5k marker it was a downhill, I took the advantage of gravity, speed up to 4:49. At 5k marker, but there were 2-3 runners passed me.. I was planning on doing a negative split with faster 2nd half, but apparently
they were doing a faster negative split than me.

There were no pack of runners were doing the same pace as me, I find myself running alone most of the time or on occasion running with another runner or two, but they seem to be faded away one by one. I didn't think I was going faster but the soreness of my legs were gone, I felt I was running with moderate effort and I simply enjoy the view of Lakeshore in Oakville, there are lots big trees along the lake in Oakville. I didn't want to try faster as I was afraid this under control feeling is just a temporary illusion.. my legs might get a cramp like the mid summer night 30k in 2008... Lucky none of those disaster happened, although I was unable to catch up those ppl passed me at 5k (I couldn't even see them anymore after 7k) but I was passing other runners one by one with a slightly faster pace than the first half.

In the past I always change my stride too late in the game, after every finishing kick I find myself had more left in me. This was because I alway relying on seeing the finish line before switch my speed. This time I decided I am going to change the pace base by time. So far I have been running at 4:5x pace consistently, after 2min passed 9k, do I have enough left to sprint the rest of around 600m? sure, shouldn't be
a problem. When my watch shows 46:00, I picked up my pace, started to pass more runners. Soon I reached Appleby college, I know it was only around 200m left to the finish line, I started sprinting! passing packs of runners, as I turned into the entrance of the college towards to the finish line I was going all out speed, 3-4 runners saw me passing, looking surprised, I loved their look... I am an average or maybe below average distance runner but the last 200m I would try outrun everyone in front of me :-) Just as I was so happy running to the finish line, there was one runner in front of me... This was the lady who passed me at 5k! Noooo! please don't get into my finish line photo! she finished 1s in front of me looking effortless... obviously I couldn't match her speed between 5k-9.9k :-( I only wish the finish line was 25m further...

Self Evaluation
Overall I was happy with my performance, I didn't repeat flaws I have made in the past.
- did not stop at water station, stopping at water station always made me stop and walk, wasting precious 1 minute in every station.
- finally done a race with some sort of negative split!
- started finishing kick in better timing than the past, maybe could even done it 5 or 10s earlier
- It was a such perfect race for myself until the very last 1s, I ran all out right behind someone looking effortless in the finish photos :-)

48:39 - better than the previous unofficial record 49:55
Although this is not a record that I can brag about, but I was proud of myself that this race was done after chcopee enduro, it was done with moderate effort and did not hurt.

1.0 04:50.86 04:50.86 04:50.86 166 04:50.86
2.0 04:55.22 04:55.22 04:53.04 176 09:46.08
3.0 04:55.10 04:55.10 04:53.73 177 14:41.18
4.0 04:55.23 04:55.23 04:54.10 177 19:36.41
5.0 04:49.90 04:49.90 04:53.26 176 24:26.31
6.0 04:53.00 04:53.00 04:53.22 176 29:19.31
7.0 04:53.39 04:53.39 04:53.24 178 34:12.70
8.0 05:01.22 05:01.22 04:54.24 175 39:13.92
9.0 04:53.56 04:53.56 04:54.16 177 44:07.48
10.0 04:32.22 04:32.22 04:51.97 178 48:39.70

Felix WU Thornhill 935 49:01.9 48:39.7 4:55 Men 30 - 34 13/33 134/363

What did I get in the race kit? lots of good stuff
- a cool new balance black tech shirt
- pair of new balance socks
- box of gum (30x+)
- the 2nd quality finisher medal I got so far next to the Toronto Marathon medal
There were something else I couldn't remember, but it was a super deal for $40 registration fee!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5 Peaks 2009 - Chicopee Enduro

Why 5 Peaks?
5 Peaks is a trail running series across Canada, I wanted to do this series back in 2007, but the dates of the race usually conflict with many other road races. Trail hiking has plant a seed for me to running, the only trail run I have done so far was mud run, I was excited to try the 5 peaks series!

Problem of running in trails
I really had no idea how to pace in trail run as I rarely run in trails. There are trails around my neighbourhood, although I love trails so much but I do have a fear of running alone in trails... why? because 75% of the time I ran into unleashed dogs in trails, some of them were friendly some were not! most of the time I had to stop and walk, acting friendly (thus break my training/running rhythm) to get by. There was one time in Claireville Conservation area I ran into a school of unleashed agressive dogs! 10-20 of various breeds, the owner (probably a dog walker) was nowhere to be seen!! lucky I spotted the dogs were coming from far, I hide for a while and managed to get away before the dogs teared me apart... Another time I got charged by a doberman! The law is there but it is not enforced and people don't obey the law. So far I have no solution to run safely in trails unless I carry a pepper spray, but I don't really want to harm the dogs, it is really owner's fault! Back to the pacing strategy, I decided to put on the heart rate monitor just to make sure I don't make my heart pumping at max range and kill myself on the trail... There was no goal for this race, since I have never done it before, no matter how bad it is going to be a PB, plus I have a 10k race the next day.

The Race
The course was located in Chicopee - a ski hill in Kitchener. Weather was quite dramatic on that day, when I left home it was around 4 degrees, once I reached Chicopee it was still around 10 I believe. Within 30 minutes just right before the race started, temperature has raised to 20 above! soon it gets hot and humid. On top of the hill there were still snow melting, which made the entire hill nicely muddy, all natural mud... First k was the most difficult terrain, as we had to zig-zag up the slippery muddy hill, definitely not a good place to fall unless you want a muddy facial. Similar to mud run, most trails were single track and you get stuck by slower runners, on the 2nd km I managed to passed some people when the trail turns. Looking at my heart rate it was pumping 180ish, I know if I keep on going at that pace my heart would jump out of my chest and blow up sooner or later, I settled around 6:30min/km pace. Around 4km there was another hill to climb, I had no idea how I was doing in the race with this pace, but I saw this tall fit triathlete who reminds me of Chris Lieto, he was walking! I know either he's having a bad day or I am not doing too bad. At this point I wanted to take a walk as well, but the lady next to me encouraged me to see who makes to the top, whoever you were, thank you! Runners who were doing the sport course was directed to go downhill to the finish line, but for the rest of us.. back to the zig zag muddy hill again... I started walking up the hill, so did all the people around me. I don't think I have walked this much in any of the races, I guess this is lack of training on hills, I started to question myself why did I sign up for Enduro instead of the Sport course! The later half of the course, I managed to keep the same pace and stayed with a pack around my pace. As people were fading I became the front of the pack, but I definitely didn't want to be pressured as the first of the pack. However, it was unavoidable when the lead girl slowed down just before the 8k mark. Lucky the downhill to the finish line soon appeared, I started sprinting downhill, to run down the hill was further than it looked like... I thought I had to slow down to get enough air so I can make to the finish line, but as soon I heard the crowd cheering, I kept on going faster! great finish but too fast for the photographer to get a closer shot. :-)

This race was well organized, route markers and km markers were clearly visible, unlike during mud run 2008 me and another runner got lost on one part of the trail! there seem to be more hard core trail runners in the 5 peak series, many with those fancy trail running shoes such as Salomon XT wings - really cool looking shoes, I want one of those! So the final result, not too bad and I enjoyed the challenging course and running in trail!

1.0 06:33.84 06:33.84 06:33.84 177 06:33.84
2.0 05:28.09 05:28.09 06:00.97 185 12:01.93
3.0 06:40.61 06:40.61 06:14.18 186 18:42.54
4.0 06:12.53 06:12.53 06:13.77 184 24:55.07
6.0 14:39.70 07:19.85 06:35.80 182 39:34.77
8.0 13:17.93 06:38.97 06:36.59 182 52:52.70
8.6 03:45.32 06:15.53 06:35.12 187 56:38.02

108/259 FELIX WU THORNHILL 8277 56:38.2 6:36 M30-39 36/55