Sunday, November 04, 2007

H2(o)H

Ha. Figure that one out.

Haney 2 Harrison was interesting. It was fun, most definitely. I saw some old friends (Hi Jen!) and made some new ones (Hi VFAC!). I ran decently, but not amazing. And we came fourth. But is wasn't a simple as that.

The day started off in the dark with a lot of enthusiasm and expectation. We had a strong team and VFAC was hoping to podium. The event consists of teams of 8 runners running different lengths of stages, but the total distance is 100k. We were in the second wave start, 6:30am, and cheered our first team member, Jorge, on as they ran into the darkness of morning. It was drizzling and cold and very dark. This is where the race went downhill.

We drove ahead in our car and waited at about 4k for the runners. There were slower runners from the first wave trickling through still, Chris and Jeff and I chatted about the strategy for the day and hoped to see in the top three positions. We became concerned when another team member's father ran past us and we still hadn't seen Jorge. We figured we missed him the dark and drove to the end of stage one hoping to find him. While we were waiting for Jorge and having trouble seeing him (and others) due to the drizzle and lack of light, he and about 10 other people missed the first turn of the race and ended up about 5k off track. There was apparently no marshall at the turn and everyone went of course, some more than others. Jorge ran back to the start of the race and eventually made his way to the finish of the stage - good for 73rd overall for that stage.

The hand off to Simon Driver was made and we were in 4th by the end of the next stage, a position we would keep for the rest of the race. The boys ran hard and ran well, but it was very lonely out there as we were 15 minutes behind the top three and about 40 minutes ahead of the next team. It was 6 degrees and the rain was floating more than falling. I felt ok about my stage - 13.08k of rolling highway. I ran 3:34 pace, good for 4th in the stage overall, but lost time to the guys ahead of me; however, those guys usually beat me, although not by that much. The day finished and we wondered about what could have been. I was impressed by the support shown for each other and the desire to perform well even in imperfect situations.

The conversation at the pub after was great. There wasn't a lot of hang wringing about going off course and no one was really bitter, although we were definitely disappointed about not being in the mix. But the talk was about training and future running and goals - very geeky running talk (the value of VO2 versus vVO2, ideal cross-training for injuries, and figure skating - don't ask.)

Overall, a very good introduction to the VFAC club. I got to put faces to names that were always way ahead of me in results and it is going to be fun to have these to chase them in workout. But the group is supportive and fun and that is the key to success. Thanks to Jeff, Chris, Ynuk, Jay, Graeme, and Paul for a fun and educational day.
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