Friday, April 24, 2015

Race Preview: Pick Your Poison 25k

This is the latest that a race season has ever begun, yet I'm still not sure if I'm ready.

All the skulls in the race promo/site aren't really helping.

At least for this race, I can be reasonably assured I've done the work. I have a couple of 25k runs in the bank, a bit of trail running, and I've made a decent attempt to feed myself a steady diet of hills. The fact I've put in 866.6km year to date seems only appropriate for the race's graphical theme, too. As I sit here throwing back some iron supplements, I'm trying to convince myself that it will be enough.

Pictured: my idea of iron supplements.
(Yes that is a full dinner plate of beets)

The way I see it, I have 3 main problems:

1) While I may have been running hills and trail, I'm talking about the rollers we have in Waterloo Region and some relatively flat, non-technical trail. No singletrack, and few if any hills that would actually qualify for a climb rating. This race is at a stinkin' ski hill and I guarantee I won't be seeing any lovely, wide crushed gravel rail trail on the 12.5km loop, which is described as follows:

"The course consists of approximately 98% off-road terrain made up of a combination of single track and ski trails. Runners will start with a 3 K "flatter" section followed by 4 major climbs over the remaining 9.5 K. This is a technical but rewarding race!"

Which seems to be race director speak for "You will start off hurting, and then it will get much, much worse."

To top it all off, there was lake effect snow yesterday that may very well have turned the trails into treacherous, energy-sucking mud, ice or both. Woo freakin' hoo.

2) Because this is really just a tune-up race for the Sulphur Springs 50k next month (..gulp..), I have failed to really taper much. Last week's long run was knocked down to just under 21km of hills, Monday was 5k instead of 6, Tuesday 8k of hills instead of 10+ but a normal swim, and yesterday was the standard 5-and-a-bit kilometers before a shorter swim. Run far too fast, no less. I did take Wednesday off completely, which is standard protocol for race week, and knocked off the heavy lifting in favour of just bodyweight exercises, foam rolling & yoga...but sleep has been as elusive as ever, and I haz le tired. What a shock.

3) My body seems to be refusing to let go of the poundage I gained over the winter. Part of this, I'm sure, has to do with the fact that winter won't freakin' die (see point 1). I am still almost 10lbs over race weight and have expanded dramatically in the butt, hips and thighs. I do think that some of it may be increased muscle mass, because a) I'm actually running faster than ever and feeling stronger on climbs; and b) I don't really look more than 5lbs away from race weight. However, the fact of the matter is there is more of me to drag up those "4 major climbs", each of which I'll have to do twice.

Who is this Becky chick, and why does she keep staring at me?

But I'll show up and get my jar of local honey anyway, and hopefully score myself a slick new pair of socks. Really, the whole reason for doing this one - apart from it being a staple race of the Ontario Ultra Series that I haven't yet experienced - was to get me out on some gnarlier trail and serious elevation change ahead of Sulphur Springs.

Wish me luck, kids. I'm going to need it.

All the best to those running the Waterloo Marathon or riding Paris to Ancaster this weekend!

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