Aka ‘Canada’s toughest 10k road race’…
Was it? Well, it for sure was no joke. I would NOT recommend running this race to people who are new to racing. You want to get some good hill training and hill racing under your belt before you undertake this one.
I had some experience with hills, after my Gut Buster attempts and my Sooke race with MEC this year, but even after that this one really did a number on my lungs, weirdly enough. I immediately, right off the start, struggled with breathing. I couldn’t get in a rhythm, felt like I was gasping at times, and had a stitch growing in my neck and on my right side that really made life difficult during the race.
As with all races, there was an ebb and flow. It started off tough- the Papa Bear hill was 1 mile long and just kept.going. It was quite difficult, I saw some people start walking and I kind of wanted to as well. We reached the peak and it was quite scenic, though I wasn’t really in shape to enjoy what I was running past.
A lot of downhills at this point- a good opportunity to gather speed, but I was running very cautiously too- I’m a bit afraid of downhills as I have a lingering knee injury and my knee doctor tells me to walk down at first, and then sprint…So, I kind of struggled down, and then sprinted. And yes, this did wonders for my horrible breathing, made it a lot worse, argh!
My breathing levelled out and it was a lot of up-down-up-down-up-down, which you would call ‘rolling hills’ and I called it kind of torture! Psychologically, I was on the lookout for the next hill- the Mama Bear hill. We finally got to it, and it was ok..By that time, after 5k, I was feeling it in my legs and my lungs were still giving me a very hard time. I was actually glad for the long downhill by this point!
We continued on more mild rolling hills but by this point every time we went up, I lost momentum and struggled. I was clutching my side- it really hurt- and trying to breathe as hard as I could into my stitch. I was also coughing a lot and the grossest part was when I’d go to take a big breath, and have phglegm catch in my throat, so instead of a big breath, I’d breathe, and immediately start coughing. GROSS.
So, when we finally met up with Baby Bear, I wasn’t in the mood or shape to do any sprinting, haha. I was glad we were on the home stretch though! As I cruised through to the finish- over some kind of ugly gravel sections, probably the worst footing on what is otherwise a gorgeous course- a TRUCK was parked in the middle of the finish line??!! WTF? So me, and a few other guys I was finishing with, had to dodge this ignorant moron. It was NOT a fun finish, trust me.
Sadly, no finish photos of me either because this bozo decided his massive truck needed to go to the finish instead of me. GAH!
The after party was sooo good though- all the Merridale you could drink, door prizes – that none of us won, booo hoo, and some pretty decent food. I took my time, we did the fun photo booth, and generally enjoyed ourselves. A good day for an excursion-type race!
My time- 53:30- which is fairly ok for this type of race, given my normal 10k times are now ranging from 46:53-47:25. Yes it was that tough!