Monday, March 18, 2013

Race Report! Moose 25 km Race

If I had to choose a favorite annual race it would be the Moose Run. It has scenic ocean views for most of the out and back course, challenging terrain, donation-based entry, vegetarian food at the finish and great volunteers. I've run it 5 times, and managed to come in next-to-last at least 3 of those 5 times. It doesn't matter though since most of the runners who run this are the hardest core road runners in the area. Even repeat Boston Marathoners Remi and Denise run this one. Every year Remi wins. I gauge my performance by when he passes me on his way back to the finish. This year I managed to meet up with him on Bissett road, the furthest I've been able to get before meeting him. It's at this race where those elite runners are at their most down to earth, encouraging those of us slow pokes just as much as we cheer them on to another victory.
The Route
Yesterday, being St. Patrick's Day, everyone was encouraged to wear green. Green tutus, top hats, ties and even shamrock high socks were everywhere. We started off strong, the group stayed together longer than normal. I reminded myself to run my own race over and over. It's easy to get swept up in the pace of these awesome runners, an issue I've paid for before. This was the last 25 kms of my 65 km training week. The day before I had run 16 km so my legs were not very fresh. Still I held a good 12 minute pace average throughout the whole race. We sped downhill for the first 3 km, then a steep small hill before the rolling road of Cow Bay before we reached the 12 foot tall Moose statue.

The Cow Bay Moose
It was there that the two runners in front of me walked up to the first aid station and handed in their bibs. They were done after 4 kms. Usually people wait until the 8 km mark before they quit this race. I sped past, not needing water as I had my handheld. After the Moose is a sharp downhill then a winding road ("the causeway") alongside a massive wall of boulders design to act as a wave breaker for the ocean on the other side. After that is another steep short hill followed by another sharp downhill. Then more winding road and another, more gradual hill, another downhill then the epic hill after the church which is followed by an equally epic downhill. After that it's mostly rolling roads until the turnaround point. Typically though those first hilly 8 km freak alot of people out so they quit (or modify their distance) before running the out and back section of Bissett road.My husband and I refer to the out and back section of Bissett road as a 'time warp'. It's a rolling, winding road where every turns looks like the last and you end up feeling like you've been running on the road forever, even though it totals only 4 miles. Once I got back out of Bissett road I hit a sharp hill before a wonderful downhill slope. Half way down the slope I met up with my husband, daughter and our dog. I hadn't asked Richard to bring anything (I didn't think I'd need any extra supplies) but, being the ever supportive runner himself he thoughtfully brought me a much needed banana which I gobbled up in three bites before running off, estimating I'd be finished in 45 minutes if my 12 minute pace held. I soon regretted how quickly I had eaten the banana, my stomach cramped and rolled but I ate a couple of old jelly beans at the bottom of the handheld pouch (don't judge!) and pushed on, power-walking up the epic hill. By then I'd been out on the course for 2.5 hours and the pretty sunny day had clouded over and the ocean wind picked up dramatically. By the time I hit the breakers again the wind was doing a good job of pushing me backwards. I kept my pace steady and powered through to a turn which forced the wind to be at my back. Thank the gods!! With a mile and a bit left to go my phone, which I had been using to coordinate with my husband, sputtered and died. I shoved in my pocket and pushed on, loving the last downhill and gutting out the last straight section before the finish "line" (a guy with a clip board who yells "You're Done!"). No matter how poorly the race goes, and trust me, this was not my best performance, I still finish this race with a satisfied smile on my face. Because this race is hard, really hard, and just finishing it is an accomplishment in my eyes.

I met up with my husband and daughter at the finish (they had watched me finish as they pulled into the Buffalo club/aka Finish line) and we enjoyed some beans and tea while watching the prize giveaway by the race organizers. My daughter was kind enough to let her Mommy eat some food before she declared the place stunk and asked if we could go. I can't really blame her, stick 200 runners into a small hall after a 25 km run and it smells pretty ripe. I was happy to be driven the 1 km back to our house where I promptly showered and took a nap watching Sea Quest re-runs. Another Moose Race finished...until next year!

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