Wednesday, June 24, 2009

5 Peaks 2009 - Durham Forest Enduro

After winning the Mississauga Marathon Corp Relay, I had the taste of going at 4:01m/k. It definitely boosted up my confidence going at faster pace. I have adjusted my "unplanned training" out of my busy schedule. Unfortunately, both work and family got in the way as usual, I am really terrible in balancing work and life with 2 kids... I have great respect to those parents with more kids. So my planned 8-12k runs were mostly cut down to 3-5k. In mid May I thought about doing the bread and honey 15k but with this progress I didn't want to bother just doing another race targeting a 4:5x pace. Couple other races were also in consideration:
Mud run - fun but poorly organized event, already done it twice... forget it.
Airport 5k - a medal worth to collect and running on the airway would be cool! but it is on the same day as Durham forest. :-(
So there was nothing interesting left but waiting for my heart to jump out on the hills of Durham forest.

This is the 2nd race of 5 peaks series., I never done it before, that is a good thing - no pressure, no matter how bad I do it's going to be a PR. Pacing strategy? none - just make sure my heart rate don't go beyond the average of Chicopee, which was around 183.

Durham forest is located at north west of Pickering, I vaguely remember I have done hiking there many years ago. Getting there from Thornhill, I didn't want waste gas going south to 401 and going back north again, being a cheap guy I also don't want to pay for 407, so hwy7 was my obvious choice. I guess I didn't take this race seriously so I forgot to print out the direction. Driving for close to 1hr east, I found myself lost in the unpaved road around the area... I tried my luck go around the area for another 30mins finally found the place at 9:30am, just 30min before the race almost got myself in panic mode.

I looked around didn't see JB, he's been bailing out from races since the injury in chilly half, although he still clocked our MMC relay 8k under 30mins! Race waves started with elite, faster than normal and the rest of mere mortals. Seeing 5peaks are more serious runners and triathletes, I placed myself in middle of the last wave. 5 peaks is slightly different than your regular road race, there is no gun time, everyone go by your chiptime, so start placing doesn't affect your placing that much unless its a single track trail from the beginning of the race. I guess I have under estimate myself a bit, as the race started I was passing a lot of people within the first k. There was this dad running with two kids probably around age 10 or so, I was pacing myself behind them but after a while I didn't want to hold back on going downhills, shortly around 1k marker I had to pass them. Soon I found myself behind this lady who seem to be experienced and done this race before, she seem to know the route well and going at a very consistent pace, her breathing was very clam regardless going up or downhills. I thought just to keep up with her could be a good plan not killing myself in the early stage of the game. By going at consistent pace with her we actually passed a few runners, there were 2 runners passed us but it turns out they were doing the sport course.

Going uphills
The Durham forest trail is very winding, endless uphills and downhills repeats... At some point I feel if I was lost in the forest going around the same area... My heart was pumping at low 180s but I didn't feel that bad, I started to lose patient following behind this lady, I charged on downhills passed her, then she would pass me again on uphills. It was after a few uphills I found running uphills seem to take more out of me and really weren't that much faster, instead of running or power walk, I decided to try a new technique - a gorilla walk! I lowered my body swinging my arms wide to power up and take large stride, thinking myself as an ape! Not only I was able to keep up the people running in front of me, it seemed cost less energy and soon I passed that lady and following another pack of runners. There were around 3 female runners in front of me, another one or two guys behind me. When we passed the 6k marker, I heard someone said only 4k left at the aid station, I thought the enduro course is 12k??? but at this point after all those hills I wouldn't mind this is only a 10k race. We kept on going, seem to be passing a wild berries area, the guy behind me asked if anyone wanted to stop for berries... but we were just trying to catch up our breath so couldn't really respond, this was a good indication the guy had more left no wonder he passed us later in the race. So we have passed the 10k marker, finish line was nowhere to be seen, the guy at aid station was giving us (well, at least me) false hope... the young guy behind me took off, then soon I also passed a couple runners on another uphill, at this point I was running alone, the ones I passed were about 100-200m behind me.

Sand in the forest?
It was weird that I entered a sand area, sand in middle of the forest? I had no idea why... my tired foot sank into the sand every step... This makes me have a doubt about the planned Sahara race years down the road... How much does it take to run on sand plus the heat for 250k over 5 days? hard to imagine. Can't really remember where it was but probably shortly after 11k there was a big trunk of the tree blocking the trail, we had to go around to pass it... The runners behind me were catching up, and then two of them passed me... I was tired and there wasn't any downhill so I wasn't up to the challenge, I really wasn't sure how much further to go and how much I have left in me..

To the finish line
Looking at the lap time on my watch I know we are approaching 12k, still no sign of the finish line... There's more to go???. One runner charged and passed me another one came up running next to me, I don't feel I can keep up with the one passed me, so I kept running side by side with the one next to me. Then I saw the 12k marker, and the finish line is a few hundred meters away. Its about time I start to sprint, as soon as I changed my stride and speed up, I felt fresh and new again, it seems like I got a backup tank or UPS power supply in my body. I pulled away from the one next to me and The one in front of me was within a hundred meter away, in seconds I passed her, I kept the fast pace till about 50m left then I went all out to cross the finish line and trying to set a break after the finish line not to run into the crowd. The volunteer chased me down to get the time chip off my foot, sorry my brain wasn't really functional after that sprint...

After I saw the official results from sportstats and did some math, turns out it was 300 meters after the 12k mark and I clocked a 3:37 pace for the last 300 meters! I have read somewhere saying do not sprint to the finish in a long distance race, not only it is unwise but it could be dangerous. But I couldn't help it, my strength of the game is only that last 1 minute or less... That is the only time when I can feel I am the fastest :-)

I was pleased with my result, still below average in my age category, but that is something I can work on. My heart rate puzzled me, I have been told that pumping at 180 something seems too high for my age and I probably won't last too long. Last time at Chicopee at average of 183-184 lasted 56 minutes and this time at average of 182 it last 70 minutes! Sure it was tiring but it wasn't painful that I had to stop at any point. Perhaps, my heart rate is just higher than normal, I hope that is the case.

Another thing I realized after the race is that there is a random draw after all 5peaks races for prizes! I've always rushed home every time after the race so that I am not taking away too much family time from kids, but then I just missed the draws for two races... :-(

My colleague suggested that I should stop doing the creepy smile to the photographer, that is probably the reason my picture was the only blurry one out of all...

1.0 04:55.40 04:55.40 04:55.40 175 04:55.40
2.0 05:56.32 05:56.32 05:25.86 183 10:51.72
3.0 06:27.38 06:27.38 05:46.37 186 17:19.10
4.0 05:02.76 05:02.76 05:35.47 184 22:21.86
5.0 06:17.20 06:17.20 05:43.81 182 28:39.06
6.0 06:39.75 06:39.75 05:53.14 182 35:18.81
7.0 05:28.95 05:28.95 05:49.68 183 40:47.76
8.0 05:24.37 05:24.37 05:46.52 179 46:12.13
9.0 06:00.05 06:00.05 05:48.02 180 52:12.18
10.0 05:28.43 05:28.43 05:46.06 182 57:40.61
11.0 06:14.78 06:14.78 05:48.67 180 01:03:55
12.0 05:43.14 05:43.14 05:48.21 179 01:09:39
12.3 01:00.82 03:37.21 05:45.22 190 01:10:39

86/252 FELIX WU THORNHILL 8674 1:10:39.2 5:45 26/47


chris mcpeake said...

great job. Sounds like you had a pretty good run. I had thought about doing this race but by the time I decided it was already sold out ;-(

jonovision_man said...

Awesome report, great job! The sand caught me by surprise on my bike once, I wiped out... :) Durham Forest is very cool, but like you said, lots of hills and mixed terrain, I can't imagine running it, you did great.

Boris T. said...

Good work sounds like a good time!