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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Race Report: 5 Peaks Buntzen Lake Enduro Course

5 Peaks: Road, what road?!
Where the hell is my winter gear?! Yes, Summer has left the building faster than Adam Campbell can run 50 miles (which is pretty damn fast). Speaking of Adam, he’s warming up on the soggy grass beside the beach, and we get to have a quick little chat before he seeds into the 1st wave and I seed into the 3rd wave.

It seems that all the usual suspects have shown up for the race, including some of the elites, the 5 Peaks Ladies of the Trail (Solana’s blog is here), and our We Run Mas crew, today consisting of Darren Gladeau, Joseph Pelle, Jerome Wasilieff, and yours truly. My wife and kids play the photo/support crew, and Elaine Fung is marshalling the course in two areas for the day.

Jerome, Darren, Joseph, Ed
As you can tell from the pics, it’s wet, windy and cold. I overdress with a base layer, sleeves, gloves, a tech shirt and a wind breaker, toque, and calf sleeves. The body heat from the runners generates a layer of steam as the countdown begins. It’s about 50 runners per seed, and Joseph and I are intending for seed #3. We reach the front and I’m already cooking, so as we burst out of the start line, I toss my toque to my wife who captures this great shot; dude beside me is loving life!
Toque Toss

Joseph asking Elaine for directions . . .
The start is fast, and I have one goal, to get ahead of the people who are going to slow me down on the downhill. Tactical issue number uno is that the course starts on the Energy trail, which basically climbs up and then descends before crossing the floating bridge. I push my personal pace (I know, I know, don’t do that) and coast past a few people, fitting into a nice stride with Greg. I notice that Greg has a very nice cadence going, and has calves the size of my quadriceps. I expect to lose him when we hit the hill. Meanwhile, Joseph gets ahead, and I lose him as we approach the bridge.

I keep pace with Greg until we hit the power lines, as the FU George Hill takes a piece of me with it (and yes the FU stands for F**k You because on the Diez Vista 50k Ultra it’s the last climb at kilometer 46 or so). For those following along, I’m not a strong climber; improving but not at capacity yet, and I don’t normally wear calf sleeves. I find them too inhibiting, but changed my mind today so that in case I wiped out on the slick course, I would be able to work a ten hour shift later that day without bandages impeding my career.
As expected, I get passed on the switchbacks heading up to 1700’ feet, and Solana comes up and we encourage each other before she floats off into the distance. I’m not too concerned about being passed here, since it’s all part of the plan. My goal is to ensure that not TOO many people pass me as I don’t want to get jammed up on the single track technical descents, where I intend to open up the gears. On the way up to the peak of the climb, I have taken off my wind breaker since I’m steaming up and getting way too hot. I tie it around my waist, and am trying madly to figure out how to keep the sleeves tucked in so they don’t catch my flailing arms and feet as I start the downhill.

I got picked off by about twelve people on the ascent, and start returning the favour to my gluteus and calf gifted fellow racers as I hit a trajectory somewhere between madly irresponsible and insane on the reckless scale ™. The trail is a jumble of roots, jagged rocks and puddles with questionable interests.
We pass each look out and I’m charging past people, calling out “On your left” as I go. I finally reach Solana again and zip past her , but I don’t think I kept the gap low enough to stay ahead for too long. Regardless, I’m having fun and giver another shout out. We’re not far from the last of the “good” look outs (it’s all clouds and mist) and I know there’s some rolling ups and downs after this section. Solana and another runner (who on the results list is named Sanjay) have been yo-yo’ing me for the majority of the run, and once again get ahead. My calves are hurting really bad. It’s definitely the calf sleeves and I vow to never run in them again. The only other niggly area that hurts is my left arch and ankle, which I sprained the week before Squamish 50. It’s taped, but reminding me that it’s still there. Neither are impeding my progress, but a recovery week will be required.

Diez Vista North Side
The far north end of the Diez Vista is a treacherously steep, jaggedly rocky and less forgiving than the God of the Old Testament in regards to any missteps or falls. So, as I catch a toe and go into a head first dive I decide to jump instead, get my feet underneath me and long jump off a ridge onto a muddy slope, which gives way under my heels and I slide for about ten feet before grabbing a rock and a tree with my gloved hands and straddle my way through a gap, before I keep running. There’s a runner behind me who saw my agile recovery that relied more on luck and complete abandon for my personal safety, and he hollers out if I’m okay. Thumbs up, and still going. As we cross some logs before the exit of this section, he takes a tumble and I hear a sploosh as he hits the puddle. I spin around and ask if he needs help as he dusts himself off. All good, and we kick out of the trail on the north side of the reservoir. I see Solana up ahead, and am pleased I made up some time. However, I don’t have too much pop in my step on the flat and non-technical sections. This is largely due to having run a (flat) trail half marathon at the Trail River Run six days prior to this race where I set a half PR of 1:42:17 (woo hoo!!) and placed 10th overall. Today, I coast along with slightly heavy legs due to that effort and Sanjay catches up and stays just ahead of me as we cross the bridge to North Beach.

Feeling mildly calorie deprived, I take a shot of Vega something or other at the aid station and truck along the beach allowing it to take hold. I’m at 1:33 on my Garmin and I’m sceptical that today is the day I`ll run to the finish in 27 minutes for a sub 2 hour finale. The little climb to the service road before hitting east side Buntzen trail is oddly steeper today than it was a few weeks ago, and I realize I’ll probably be walking the remainder of the hills, of which two small ones are yet to come.
I coast along, pushing on the descents, since they don`t seem to be an issue, running everything uphill that is 75 steps or less, and power hiking the two climbs (which aren`t really climbs in the grand scheme of things, my legs are just fatigued). I catch up to a few other runners who passed me earlier, including dreadlock girl, but with a kilometre remaining, I don`t think I can close the distance since she is clearly in “kick” mode also. Sanjay is a few strides ahead also, and funnily enough I`m thinking, `Too bad this race wasn`t a little bit longer!``

We pass the dog park, I see Elaine, and she snaps a photo while marshalling us to the left with her right hand as she faces north east (inside joke), as we cross the little bridge and run across the grass to the finish line. Cheers from the crowd, the announcer calls me in, and I miss catching dreadlock girl by seconds. Exciting!

Overall I placed 76th out of 143 racers and 23rd out of 35 in the 30-39 age group with a time of 2:04:23.  Yes, my mid-pack race status for 2013 is cemented!
Our fellow We Run Mas crew did awesome also. Darren, who has been having a killer year having run fabulously at Squamish 50 and Meet Your Maker 50 killed the course today in 1:41:48 (and is expecting a baby in two weeks!). 
Darren's Finish

Soon to be parents!

 Joseph finished just slightly ahead of me in 1:57:43, having had some pain in the last few kilometers, and Jerome, who completes his first technical trail race rocks in at 2:22:02.
Joseph's Finish (walking on air)

Jerome's Finish
That was my final trail race of the season (I have the paved Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving), and it was a great way to finish the season. I wish I could do more 5 Peaks runs, as it’s a great event, and I had a blast on one of my favourite local trails.
We be ballin'!

Next up is my wife’s Hallows Eve run on Oct 27th, where she tackles a difficult half marathon in Lynn Valley! This time, I get to play the support crew and the boys and I are looking to spook her when she least expects it!! Expect her post run interview on an upcoming blog post, as well as a recount of the adventure we did in Hanes Valley in September!

Leave a comment and see you next time!

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