STRAVA Summary

Monday, July 4, 2011

Creemore Vertical Challenge 50k Race Report

All week I'd been checking the weather to see what it was going to be like on Saturday. I was of two minds on this one. One I wanted it to be hot and humid so that I could get a feeling for running in what quite likely will be the conditions in Burning River, but at the same time I was a littel worried about how I would fair in the heat. The forecast was up until Friday night calling for hot, humid weather with a humidex in the high 30's C. On friday they started saying the humidity would not hit until lunch time.
I got up at 6 to meet Chris B at 7. Cath and Bill were supposed to come to do the 25k, but didn't register in time and it sold out. The morning was cool and overcast so not too bad. I decided on Vector for Breakfast and had everything laid out from the night before. It was Canada Day on Friday and we had been to the sister in laws for there annual Party, in Newmarket this time.
So I got ready, headed out picked up Chris at the car pool and off to Creemore. Its about a 30 minute drive directly west from Barrie and we got there with lots of time to spare, we picked our race kits (#75) and put the final touches to our gear. I had bought a second hand held to try two fisting it on the trails and see how that would work.
A little before 8 we were all lined up and the shot gun went off to start the race, it always makes a number of people jump. We started out to the end of the drive way and then a sharp right onto single track. It gets pretty congested here and I was well back in the pack and thought that was ok as I didn't want to get caught up in the race. This was to be a training run. Yeah right!
It was still nice and overcast and cool so it felt good and I felt good, we eventually come out on Airport Rd. before making a turn on to the first dirt road and effectively the first climb. Not a bad climb but just steady to the next road where turned right again and headed about 1k down the road to the first aid station and into the bush again.
A nice stretch of single track followed, but soon we were into some grassy trails which I found to be hard to run on. The uneven ground hidden by the grass was hard to run comfortably on. From a long steady climb we came out into an opening, more like a meadow. At this point the field had stretched out some what and I had a few runner son the other side of the meadow, not that I was looking at chasing them!!! Either way we turned left on to another road and the first official hill. All in all this hill was close to 1k long and a significant climb it was. Once it flattened out a bit we came across the second aid station and shortly after that a sharp left into the woods again, which was preceded by more long grass running (argghh), but it was all down hill for a bit. Yeah, what goes down must come up, at least in Creemore everything seems to come up. The trail curved around before coming back up to the road we were on earlier. Another short run on the road was followed by a rather gnarly trail downhill, which you really had to be careful on, loose rock made it difficult. Across a couple of “streams” and up hill number 2, a gully that was a challenge. At the top of this hill we cam out on another road to another aid station. This was looking familiar from the last time I had done this race and I knew a big downhill was around the corner. A downhill is good, but when it is on a rough dirt road with lots of loose rocks and gravel you have t have your wits about you. I managed to get through it no problem though and then we were back into the up and down of the country roads, it was still cloudy at this point and the heat wasn’t too bad, and as it was it was a nice shaded area. The few runners ahead seemed to be slowing some as I was gaining on them. At the 3rd hill (O2 as it is called) the sun came out and the temperature went up at least 10C. Up the long climb we went and I passed three runners (we were all walking this hill) before turning back on to another road back to the previous aid station. I was feeling very good at this point and confident in my pacing. Not too quick, but maybe quicker than necessary, probably my competitiveness showing through.
After the aid station we make a left on a road which just goes up, up and up. This was the “last” hill called the Top of The Hill. The road at the top is long, unsheltered and slightly up and tends to be a bit of a back breaker. It’s a bout 1 k to the next turn (20k mark) and into a corn field. Then it’s down into the “Valley” which the sign said is not a hill! Bull, its down hill very steep to start and then up hill at the other side. I’m not sure what they classify as hill in Creemore, but I would say this was a hill. Down and up I went before coming back to Hill 1, except now we are going down. This is a tough downhill and by the time I had got to the bottom, passing another runner, I felt the ball on my left foot feeling sore/hot, oh oh. I continued on and before hitting the home stretch went through some good single track with ropes for pulling/guiding up and down hills. I finished the first half in about 2:27, about where I wanted to be. The problem with my left foot had worried me but at this point I’d already forgotten about it. Off again on to the trails.
So far I had felt good, I had passed another runner through the start finish area and had another in front. The single track a the start is good and I feel I could run it forever. AS soon as we hit the road I though I needed a walk, an extended walk! I walked to the bridge where the runner I had passed just before passed me again. The first guy to do so since probably 5k in. Turning on to that first dirt road felt draining, I don’t know what it is but, it was hot, very little shade and looking up hill all the way must have a negative affect on the brain and I was starting to feel it. Hitting the trails again was good, but soon as I got out into the open it was draining. At the first aid station I tried putting ice in my hat, which lasted all of about 1 minute before brain freeze set in from the out side. So I had to dump them. The walk breaks were getting longer and I was beginning to have doubts, but every now and again the sun would disappear and all would be “good” again. The worst part for me was on the road at the Top of the Hill I walked almost all of it and had one runner (Stephan) pass me, the first to do so in a long while. I would pass one more runner my self in the Valley, but by the time I finished I felt like crap. My time was 5:24:59, so almost 3 hours for the second loop, 20th overall and 5th in my age category. A good day, but the feeling at the end left a sour taste. I have to remember that I was running a bit faster than I would at Burning River so I took heed in that, and it was a tough course. The acclimatizing to the conditions was good and using the two bottles for fluids while feeling unusual worked. Over all a successful day.

1 comment:

chris mcpeake said...

The heat on the roads at creemore (especially in the second loop) can be a real beat down.