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Saturday, May 16, 2015

5Peaks Golden Ears: Race Report 2015

Roll the Butt

The Training plan for this year's 5 Peaks Golden Ears race consisted of the following . . .

Yup, nothing. Zip. Nada. El Zero! My right hip is injured since mid March, so I had logged the following in weekly distance:

April 6-12: Zero km
April 13-19: 43.3km
April 20-26: 17.2km
April 27-May3: Zero km
May4 to Raceday: 4km

April and May was supposed to target 80km weeks, so the training was in a massive downward spiral as my gait and hip mobility became more and more restricted.

So, reset the race plans for May, and decide to just go out and have fun, treat the race like a fun frolic in the woods. I had been rolling the butt and doing rehab to help my cause for a good summer, and wrote off any competitive goals for the Spring races. This turned out to be the best thing I could have done.

The Kumars with Brandi checking in runners
My wife and boys were helping with registration, so we had to be at the park for 7am, which meant a 5:30am wakeup call. A good 3 hours of sleep, and I groggily drove us down to the race.
The race HQ was being set up by a small team of volunteers, and directed by Solana and Jay. Tents and start finish chute, along with the sponsor venues, and the area was turning into a little bit of magic.


The crowds started filtering in, so I grabbed a nice serene shot of Alouette Lake, while my family was helping racers with the growing but well managed line up.

The 5Peaks BC race series has a superb atmosphere, with music, MC'ing courtesy of John Crosby, Distance Runwear and Altra Shoes representation, local mountain rescue, massage tables, and food stations which had De Dutch as a new inclusion this season!

We hung out, spent time with friends, got to reunite with familiar faces and then got ready with a quick warm up as the kids 3K race was taking place. As we were warming up, we saw The Murph doing pickups . . . he wasn't intended to race, but he got suckered in somehow and was getting bib ready.

Colin and Jamie were planning on crushing their PR's, so they seeded in the first wave, while Andy Joyce, Al Quinto and I seeded in the 3rd wave. I'm not sure where the rest of our WRM crew seeded, but we represented really well this year on both side of the tape (racing and marshalling, volunteering, and in Craig's instance, walking around with a radio!)

Our countdown hit the GO, and we burst out of the starting chute! Haha, not quite. I literally jogged out of the chute at a high five minute pace. I was going to stick to my plan of cruising this race and playing the whole time. Don't look at the Suunto watch, and just have fun.

Look at me, I'm Racing!!

Andy got ahead and I jokingly said to him, "See you at the water crossing!" which was in the first 500 meters. It traditionally creates a choke point for racers, as comfort levels vary crossing these areas. As the racers around me tiptoed and waited for access to the stepping stones, I just jumped and waded through and ran right into Andy's back. "See, told ya," we laughed.

The first 4k is beautiful moss covered trees with rolling terrain and a couple of more small water crossings. The weather was beautiful, so the levels were lower than last year. Al caught up and ran past me, looking strong as we yo-yo'd. Andy took off, and I lost him for the rest of the race.

I chatted with some fellow runners, like Felix and Kristin and took half a gel about 1k before the Aid Station. I'm practising my gel/water fuelling that Mike Murphy has been advising me on, and it seems to be working.

As I crossed the road, marshalled by Sarah (Volunteer Coordinator for Squamish 50), who seemed to be having way too much fun as a traffic cop. The Aid station was just up the service road after she whistled us through. I stopped at the AS, stretched the hip, drank two small cups of water and dumped some on my head. I waved farewell to the crew there and caught up with Al as we ran up the one mile service road to the base of Incline Trail.

Al, Kristin and I chatted on the first 1/3rd and then we spread out. Felix came past and joked that this was the "recovery" part for me, and he expected to see me pass him on the downhill. I took the climb up Incline with a determined but relatively safe pace, and practiced mixing up my form as per our training session a few weeks back. I walked, ran and power hiked, transitioning to one of the three techniques dependant on how I felt and never staying in one stride for too long. This seemed to work really well, as I never hit any hard burning or leg fatigue but spread out the energy usage across all the muscle groups.

As we neared the top of the climb, I started running and dropped into Eric Dunning trail. The first 100 meters of the technical downhill my legs felt like rubber bands, and then I hit my stride. I haven't been able to run downhill at all in weeks, but here I was - flying and passing tons of runners. It felt great, and I was loose and fluid. I managed to PR my segment for this trail, which was awesome!

Colin at the finish with a PR 

Once we kicked back out on the service road, I dialled it back again, and took the rest of my gel. I rolled into the aid station, said hi, drank two cups of water and splashed another on my head. A few people who I had passed on the bottom section of the last descent passed me on the next climb but I didn't mind as I was just out to have a good old time.

The final climb is net uphill but has some rollers in it, and I weaved my way up at a relaxed pace. I was with one group of racers and, as we neared the waterfall, I started yelling, "De Beer is near! De Beer is near!" A girl commented that I had great visualization skills, and I ran up to a female racer on the Sport course and stopped. I turned around and introduced her to the pack I was with and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Michelle de Beer!" They all had a laugh, I gave Michelle a hug and traipsed up the final knoll.

The waterfall looked refreshing, so I took a dip, splashed my legs and head, dunked both my buffs and enjoyed the cool water. Normally on a short course I'd just push through all these moments, but in an injured non-racing state of mind I took it all in.

Nicole was race sweep and also took a dip in the waterfall!
The final descent came up, and I was still feeling really fluid so I leaped and skipped my way down to the next road crossing. I had to put on the brakes pretty hard at the road crossing, and as I hit the far side of the road my right calf cramped. If you follow my blog or know me personally, you know cramping is normal for me on Ultra distances, but this cramp was more because of hip compensation than anything else. I wasn't too disturbed by it, so dug my knuckle into the muscle, and slowed the pace. Felix and a few others cruised past me, I jogged the final leg into the beach. Kristin caught up and asked if I wanted to sprint in with her, which I declined but I urged her to make up some spots and go for it, which she did.

I literally jogged along the beach, and asked some spectators if the finish line was in the water or that way . . . I seriously thought about taking a detour, but the finish was a couple hundred meters away.
I ran in slow motion style with exaggerated motions across the finish, smiling and happy.

Finish Line Post Jog

I glanced at my watch for the first time just to stop it from tracking any further and quizzically checked the time on the official clock. I think I was within seconds of my last year race!! What the cheese. I was on a shopping trip to the mall on this race, window shopping and chatting with the neighbours and I almost PR'd?! Right on! I think I have a new race strategy.

WRM Kids

Lianne finishing her first trail race (spent).
Gregan, Michelle de Beer, Me
Colin, Me, Craig (w Radio), Al, Andy J.

John and I have a shirtless hug thing going on!

Joseph with a photo bomb of Paris' photobomb of my wife, all being photobombed by a shirtless guy in the background.

Post race festivities were amazing, with tons of food, friends and laughs. We headed to the water after a good while and shared our experiences with each other, and then my family and I had a burger BBQ on the beach. What a superb Saturday. From the race itself, the organization, the feeling and all the fun that was had, it was a definite highlight and a great way to kick off the 2015 season.

Official Time: 1:26:20 (only 18s slower than last year!)
Official Placing: 97 out of 242
Strava File Click Here

Up Next: Iron Knee 25k in two weeks!