5Peaks Durham - Durham Regional Forest, Uxbridge
Wow, this was a mentally and physically demanding race, tougher than Rattlesnake for me... so happy with my finish, I'm sure I have more.
1:15:24 14.7km (+???) 13th/125 overall 7th/25 age group 12th/68 men
Started 5Peaks on Friday with helping mark the course. Tough to balance marking enough to keep people on course, and confirm they are still on course, against the possibility of running out of flags or signs before you are done (as there were 20km of trails to mark :-P). Little time for perfection trying to finish before dark :-). Ended the day with a late dinner with Team AttackPoint AR [just Solo this race] and friends [including Aggosst, on the mend] before crashing into the normal pre-race pseudo sleep.
Arrived plenty early, enough time for a good warm-up and size up the competition (Team Running Skirts, a co-ed team lol, seemed organized and there to dominate), although waiting for the start didn't help. It was down to a minute to go when I was one of the first few to actually take a position on the line (thankfully others flowed in ahead of me as I wasn't going to set the strating pace, lol), and it was the fast start as usual.
We had a good kilometer of wide straight trails to establish positions, and we soon poured into the single track where we were shortly met with the first of a number of decent climbs, which I power walked to conserve myself (easily regaining lost distance after cresting). [we soon had a brief reprieve with some double track and an aid station, that was promptly repaid with yet a straight up climb, which turned and then climbed more, lol]
The next 4-5km was the toughest part of the course for me. Even though I had a decent pace, I felt like I was dragging; And while I absolutely love single track, the twists and turns, climbs and fast descents, and turning back on itself often, it all felt quite endless :-). I stuck to one of Team Running Skirts to main the pace and pull me along, until finally around 35-40 minutes my energy picked up and I finally felt settled in (although I wasn't sure if it was time to make my move)
At 8km we were finally back on the double track and I was feeling strong, so after the the next aid station (where I paused to drink enough water to wash down the poorly considered gel I took shortly before) I picked it up to attack pace for the last 6-7 :-) I was able to reel in a handful of runners before heading back into the last kilometer-ish of single track. The designers gave us yet another big hill climb (and fun descent) and just as you were hearing the finish line, squashed your excitement by turning you away in the opposite direction and making you climb the hill again, lol. Disheartening! but I was giving it my all to keep out of sight of the guy behind me (to avoid being reeled in) :-)
Suddenly, unexpectedly, happily, I was upon the final turn and the straight away into the finish - which was a really really long sprint, lol - but I powered it in! [The finishing beep of the timing mats sounded soooo good]
Wow... 13th place overall / 7th age group. Best finish yet in 5 Peaks. Qualified for the championships on my individual finish (rather than on the team qualification :-) ).
[Hrm, only +3:59 off the age group podium; if I had run the whole thing at my 2nd half pace I might have been there... did being pulled keep me in the race to finish strong, or let me get lazy and not push the downhills and pace as much as I could have in the first half?]
All said, I love 5Peaks... the events are well organized, interesting/demanding courses, the people are fun, and great swag too [my sock drawer overfloweth happily, thank-you 5Peaks! and Salomon/Dontgetlost.ca too for their socks]
Team AttackPoint AR: Solo put so much out on the trails, 4th in her age group and so very close to the podium (in a race 3x as long as her Rattlesnake race!). Even with a couple of Solo's friends stuck onto the team roster last minute to get some race/volunteer points, we still didn't have enough to get on the podium, lol.
It was a demanding day for Team AttackPoint AR... while we raced hard and learned a lot, more importantly we also got to size up the solid team Running Skirts for the Hardwood Hills match-up! :-D Chatting with ErinD it turns out the team with the matching shirts (not skirts) is a running group she's part of, lol. We've got two teams to keep on our radar! I bumped into an AttackPoint ex-pat who I think I need to recruit :-) !!! This team thing is adding a lot of fun to the events; through competition, comradery, and new friendships
rough map: http://www.5peaks.com/maps/Durham2012.jpg
[my good map was sacrificed to the washing machine gods :-( ]