Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 11 01 - Gatineau Fall Classic - Half Marathon Race Report

I was quite happy with my race, finishing in 2:02:06 which was about 10 minutes faster than my September 2013 Army half (which was about 10 minutes faster than my first-ever half in January 2010). While I hadn't vocalized a goal, I had actually hoped to come in under 2 hours, but was really uncertain about how things would play out on the hilly course; in fact, I thought I might be closer to 2:30. The hills didn't seem as steep as up near the cottage so I was able to run up (and down) the hills faster than in training runs. I did a reasonable job of tapering so I felt rested and strong.

I really enjoyed participating in the Another Mother Runner 13.FUN online training program which included some speed work and strength training as well as lots of online support and encouragement in the 13.FUN group on Strava (a running/cycling tracking/social media platform).

The race started at 9:15 from Camp Fortune up in the Gatineau Hills, about 1/2 hour drive from home. As usual, despite waking up at 7:00, I somehow managed to arrive just in time to get myself organized, go to the bathroom and walk down to the start line. I had only had a quick glimpse at the race course elevation profile online and knew it was hilly, but didn't pay attention to actual ups/downs because I didn't want to get psyched out by up hills early or late in the race. It turns out that there was a great downhill start which is a great way to warm up on a chilly day (about 3-5 degrees C, mostly cloudy and somewhat windy). I had 5 short walking breaks at the water stations along the way and had a gel before start as well as 3 along the way. So, I'd say that was a pretty good fueling strategy which left me feeling nice and strong at the end - that the last 2k or more was mostly downhill too certainly helped.

There were bananas (perfectly ripe), trail mix and water at the end which I happily consumed after a quick stop in a clean porta-potty for a pee (maybe too much water before/during race) and to change out of my wet upper layer and put on a hat, scarf, warmer gloves as well as a few extra layers. I had tied my jacket around my waist during the race and my long-sleeved shirt, light gloves, running cap and light tights seemed to be perfect for the weather. I walked an extra km after walking back up to the van from the race finish area in order to fit in my 2k/day daily walking. I did a bit of light stretching at the van then drove back home where I had a shower after my 10 min/day strength exercises then had a nap so I wouldn't be sleepy driving to/from Stefan's 2 hour 9:00 hockey game in Pembroke which is about 1 3/4 hours away. We left home about 6:00 p.m. and got back home at 1:00 a.m. They lost but Stefan had a fantastic goal.

This was my first Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) race series event, but it won't be my last. At $20, the entrance fee for the half-marathon was a real bargain, especially since it gave me 10 percent off in the store when I picked up my bib and I bought some running pants, a sports bra, some gels and some lights so I probably saved close to the entrance fee on my purchases. I didn't mind at all not getting a medal or shirt from the event because I had my 13.FUN completion package to open when I got home which contained a great medal and t-shirt. Maybe I'll be super brave and register for the marathon distance Gatineau Fall Classic race next year.

My food for the few days before the race was so-so although pizza in the car dropping Stefan off for a party last night then a bowl of Raisin Bran (before by 9:00 2k walk) after shopping at Chapters was probably not the most ideal nor were the Halloween candies and chocolate bars at work today. I was quite good about drinking water for 2-3 days before the race so was well hydrated. I could have done better for sleep since Thursday night Stefan had a 9:00 hockey game so it was 11:50 when I was oindg my 10 minutes of daily strength exercises and Friday night my 2k/day walk started at 9:20 p.m. followed by my 10 minutes of exercises at 9:50 p.m. I slept fairly soundly on Thursday night, but woke up a few times on Friday.

I felt good on Sunday morning and ran another half-marathon distance to make sure I reached my 52 km / week goal (and to get 42.2 km in between Oct 30-Nov 2 to earn the Kara Goucher Marathon Challenge Strava badge) but my legs are definitely stiffening up. After stretching after today's run, I tried my first ice bath (not enough ice or cold enough water) followed by an Epsom salts bath (not enough hot water) and am going to do some foam rolling followed by another Epsom salts bath  tonight before heading to bed.