Saturday, December 01, 2007

Gunner Shaw Part Two

So it was the Vancouver version of Gunner Shaw this time around, and it was not much like the Victoria version. Where the Victoria one is gnarly, the Vancouver one is relentless. Where Victoria is technical, Vancouver is strength. And where Victoria is wet, at least this year the Vancouver one was cold and slippery.

A Light Dusting

The temperature when I left the house was a balmy -1 and the snow had just started to fall. The light flakes were dry, and while they would not pose any immediate difficulty, the light dusting added a layer of slickness to the course. Perusing the chatlines from other running clubs (www.pih.bc.ca), they suggested spikes, which unfortunately I don't own. I thought that spikes might have been a bit of overkill, but that thought just demonstrated my ignorance of the course.

I saw Eric Langhjelm as I arrived and he was kind enough to direct me to the registration table. After a quick and easy registration I walked back out into the elements. I was wearing a full base layer of merino wool, yet still shivering. Someone, I have forgotten who, commented that it was -7 with the wind. Not quite typical Vancouver weather, but I appreciated the elements as this race is not for, quoting Bob Reid, "sissies".

The Frozen Creek

The race started and I tucked in behind a couple of guys, placing myself in fourth. The lead runner went off the front pretty quick, but after the initial 400m didn't we kept pace with him, so his lead did not get any larger. The pace felt comfortable to me and, as I didn't know the course, I thought it prudent to stay behind some people who did.

The Beach

As we reached the beach section on the first lap I was thankful that there were people in front of me to break the whistling wind. We trudged through the sand and emerged onto more stable ground and I decided to go after the guy in front. I tried to bridge up to the person on front, but that didn't work out as well as I had planned. After evenly pacing him for the first 2k, the lead runner put 100m on me each time I saw him. It was like he decided to start racing and left us.

I completed the first lap in 17:00, which wasn't bad; however, the second lap would prove to be a little tougher. As my fatigue increased, my form decreased, and as a result my footing become more precarious. I had felt decent through the first lap, but it was on the second lap that I realized how much I had underestimated the value of spike on this course. I ran decently well through the lap, but around 8.5k I was caught by one of the guys I was running with at the beginning. He went by me easily and continued to extend his lead to the finish. With Eric yelling at me from 50m back, I kept my focus and tried to push through to the end.

My time was respectable and I ended up 3rd. Not the best race, but a good one in tough conditions. I had a very good two weeks of running with a breakthrough workout last week with VFAC and a breakthrough race last weekend. As well, I ran a 13k on Tuesday and had a good hill workout a couple of days ago. I am pleased with where I am right now and it is know time to start snowshoeing and some fun in the trails. The next big race is in February - The First Half 1/2 Marathon. But there are many miles of trials before then...
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