Race Recap: Port Alberni 15k Paper Chase

Ouch this one was also kind of an ego-crusher. Not because I had a really poor performance, or surprised myself with a bad race, but because it was just really hard and I was surprised at how often I got passed, particularly throughout and at the end of the race. I had no rally, apparently. Shoot!

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A beer for me after~ the best part of racing is the chance to try far-flung breweries.

I guess each year I forget how much of a killer the ‘rolling hills’ are in this 15k, and just kind of expect things to go…Well? Spoiler- they don’t really, hahah. My legs were feeling kind of trashed- 3 races in 3 weeks is a lot for me, and my legs were not responding well to the schedule. Plus I had a riding lesson the day before, also unusual for me.

I started off pretty well, optimist even! And then kind of started dreading the rolling hills…And then kind of ground it out to the turnaround, and then slowly started getting passed, steadily in fact! Ha. I just could NOT rally my legs. They were hurting, and getting tired.

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Photo by Lyndon Cassell Photography from Port Alberni. I was starting to walk away at this point, which is why I look awkward…

My goal was to stay under 4:30/km, which I kind of did? If you can count my ratio of a km at 4:22, the next one *up a hill* at 4:36, and then 4:25, and then 4:37,..and on and on. For the entire race…

I had a really bad Km at around 12…Just so uphill. I was tired, wanted to walk. I mentally gave up on that one. Rallied at 13-14, and then kind of just trudged it home and got passed within 500m of the finish line. HA. It was a stark contrast to my pretty good feeling 12km last weekend, even though I tried to catch up with some runners and they blew past me…I still felt pretty good about my efforts/finish. This race? Nah not so much.

But anyways, it was my fastest 15km yet! I ran it squeaking just under at 1:06:57. Yeah!! First in my age group (again like Cedar 12k it is a very small race, I am under no illusions that I’m some sort of super-athlete). My legs are still tired today, ha. Also it’s daylight savings and damn, it is killing me! Sooooooo tired this week.

Race Recap: 10th annual Bear Mountain 10k!

Aka ‘Canada’s toughest 10k road race’…

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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.

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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!

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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!