My reports from this series will be shorter than normal since I don’t need to describe the same course every two weeks! To see my post on the overall series, including a description of the course, click here.
June 20th was race #2 in the series and it was a HOT one! The media was abuzz with extreme heat alerts and associated warnings to stay indoors, drink water and don’t even think about strenuous work outside… thankfully 70-something people ignored this appeal and decided to run the trails.
My biggest concern on the night came when I got to the race site and realized my Garmin watch was dead. No problem I thought, I always read about runners who reach some kind of ultimate serenity running without any electronic measures of time/distance/HR. I actually thought I might perform better without the worry of being focused on my pace and HR. I was wrong, as I will explain. I am definitely a numbers guy and I found no serenity going bare-wristed for this race.
By the time the race started it was about 32 degrees C, and I was anxious to get into the shade of the trails. Things started out quickly again as everyone hurried to get into the singletrack. I went into the trails in 3rd but quickly moved up into first. I managed to roll over on my ankle just after the 1K sign which gave me a scare, but it held up (as I sit here the next morning with ice on it, I am hoping it gets better in time for more racing this weekend). I felt like I struggled a lot more on the course this week than I did for Race #1. I’m assuming it was a combination of the heat, my unknown pacing, and lots of running last week. I kept slowing down (sometimes walking for a few seconds to get my HR down) and the 2nd place runner kept reeling me back in. I finally decided to smarten up and run with him in the single track section behind Brock University to try and keep my pace in check. I was worried he would be a fast downhill runner so I went ahead about 300 metres before Hydro Hill to try and get a bit of a gap. From there it was as fast as my tired legs would go down the 500m of gravel hill (which felt much slower than last race) and I was on my own into the last trail piece of the course. I managed to hold onto first place, for my second win of the series. Unofficially my time was 24:06, about 15 seconds slower than the first race.
It was definitely an ugly race for me tonight. I just kept going too fast, and then paying for it – I blame this on my watch for letting me down! I definitely depend on it to gauge my pacing and need it to run smarter.
It was another great night of running, and we were told that about 15 more people have signed up since the first race – that brings the total number up to the high 80’s. Niagara is soon going to be a trail running hotspot!