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 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!
|KM||SPLIT||SPLIT PACE||AVG PACE||HR||TOTAL|
108/259 FELIX WU THORNHILL 8277 56:38.2 6:36 M30-39 36/55