Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Phantom Run - FTW

Saturday November 14th I took the day off work to run the Phantom Trail Run in the Seymour Demonstration Forest.
It's been a long time since I've run a trail race, and I thought it would be good fun to strap my trail shoes and run in the woods around where I grew up. When I looked online and saw the 3 distances - 12k, 19k, and 24k - I thought "24k, that's just a little over a half-marathon - I can run that." Of course I really haven't been running since August ... nor did I take the time to look at the map and figure out the route

not quite the whole 24k route, but you get the idea.

So Gerry and I carpool up to the race site, I bring the Starbucks, and I get ready for the start. The race started with a quick loop around Rice Lake; I knew that I wanted to keep the effort pretty moderate, but I had no problem running with the front-runners right off the bat.

I take an early lead; the runner in the Fresh Air Experience vest (Dirk Hande) ran with me for the whole race.

Things I learned about trail racing very early in the race:

1). Train your power walk. Running up hills just isn't worth it - HR shoots up way too high. And walking fast is a lot faster than walking slow

2) Hydration is a good thing. Carry water (luckily I did)

3) In November, the weather can change quickly. Good thing to carry gloves and a toque in your vest pocket

4) Trail racing isn't as competitive as a road race (at least this one wasn't). Take the time to chat, point out sticks and call out drops - it'll pay off when you take a tumble or get lost.

5) Learn to enjoy technical descents - practice running on mountain bike routes for this (I regularly ride the section of Ned's and Bottletop that we raced, and it made it much easier.)

6) Trail racing is slow. 12k in 1:10 slow. Like, over 5 minute kilometers slow. Pace accordingly.

Anyway, once I got over the shock that getting back to the start was only the half way point, and we had to do another 12 k, the rest of the run went pretty well. The course took us up the Lynn Loop, which I had run several times last year training for the BMO Marathon. At this point is was just Dirk and I running, and we'd reached the "I don't care if my shoes get wet/muddy/torn, just let me finish the race."

After returning to the packed fire trails (just north of Rice Lake) I look to my competitor and tell him "if you want the win, go for it." You see, I actually don't like being in the 1st/2nd/3rd position during a race. I figure that if you can see the person in first place, then you have to race for it - and this is quite stressful. Anyway, we decided to just make it to the top of the hill (about 1 k from the finish) and see what happened. We started to pace, then tempo our way down the trail, and despite the pain I was able to pull out a pretty mean spring for the win!

Doug Giles 1 2:22:04
Dirk Hande 2 2:22:06
Scott Comeau 3 2:29:32

Pretty tired at the end of the race

Thanks to Dirk and Scott for their company on the race course. And congratulations to Shannon Back for breaking the women's course record, and finishing 4th overall!

This race has got me fired up for the Dirty Duo trail run/ride in March. Gotta keep riding!

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