Saturday, August 21, 2010

ITT 32K Trail first and last ITT

Well it wouldn't have been my last ITT but it’s the last year that the Burlington Runners Club is hosting the event. I have wanted to do this race since I started running trails a few years ago. I am pleased to say that the course lived up to its reputation. It was a mix of runnable and not so runnable terrain. One thing that did surprise me was that there wasn't a whole lot of elevation.

My goal time was 3hrs30 min. Apparently the ITT should take about the same time as a Road Marathon. I did 3hrs35min in Mississauga so my goal was reasonable. The day started at 3:40 am, 20 minutes before the alarm was set to go off. After my usual routine I was off at 5:00am arriving at the race at 6:45am. It didn’t seem like there was much time between my arrival and the start of the race.

It was the fastest start of any trail race I have ever done. A 1k downhill on a road completed in 4min50sec. Diving into the forest we did a 7K loop with 2 river crossings. Going through the river Sheldon passed me as and I joked with him stating my race report would say "he passed me in the river and I never saw him again". Also bumped into Stefan and Kinga near the end of the loop. As is usual these two were living the running adventure again this weekend. When they were done ITT they were heading to Lockport NY to pace Charlotte overnight in her 24 hour race! Heading past the start finish I was feeling pretty good but was quite winded not being use to the faster pace of this race. Passed by Dave in the parking lot... it looked like he was changing into some dry shoes. I settled into a pace that was a little more comfortable and started to relax into the run. The first few Ks into the "long loop" were pretty easy and then it started. At first there were some nasty rocky sections that I just wasn't comfortable running over so I walked. Between theses technical sections things opened up and were quite runnable. It was here that I went off course for the first of three times. Not bad, a few hundred meters and no more then 2-3 minutes. Around 9K into the loop there was a really long rocky section with the biggest and the toughest downhill of the race. At the bottom things opened up and the course went 2 ways, white blazes and blue blazes. I thought for sure it was the white blaze until I was a few hundred meters down the trail and everybody disappeared. I waited a minute or two watching up the trail only to realized that I should have followed the blue blaze. Again not a big deal but add another 3-5 minutes to my day! After the big downhill was a really big uphill to the turnaround. The last couple of Ks of the loop were quite runnable, Runners coming back from the turn around were flying down this section. Mentally it was hard as I was walking and was little bummed out about going off course again. I was happy to hear the “beep “as I crossed the mat at the turnaround but I knew I had my work cut out for me heading back. 20K done, around 12K to go I down 4 Eload Caps! Temps were a pleasant 20-22C but it was quite humid and I was sweating a ton. I wasn't drinking enough so I started on a glass of Coke and a glass of Gator Aide at every aide station on the way back. I wasn't moving as fast as on the way put but was running as much as I could. I ran some of the rock sections that I walked on the way out but my pace on the open sections had dropped a good 30 seconds. With a few Ks to go at the 2nd last road crossing I managed to go off course once again, I wasted a minute or so but the worst part was having to climb a rather steep hill to get back on course! I knew that I wasn’t going to make my 3hr30min goal and was just hoping to bring it in under 3:50. To my pleasant surprise I came in at 3hrs42min24 seconds and I have a beautiful Green Rock as proof!

There were lots of really amazing runners at the last ITT. Sheldon, Kinga , Stephan had great times. Dave was just glad to finish and Rob has a story to tell with some issues on the course but still turns in an awe inspiring time.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a better time but the preparation just wasn’t there. As a matter of fact its rare that I do the "right" thing leading up to a race but for me is it’s more about participation then results. So I am pleased with the day, it was a fun run in a really neat place with a bunch of really cool people!

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