Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Race update: Self Transcendence 6 hour and Fall Colors Half Marathon

With only one race to go in the 2015 season, a brief update on the last two events I participated in seems appropriate. While I have already provided some discussion on both the 6 hour Self Transcendence Event and the Fall Colors Half Marathon in Facebook, I thought a more extensive look at both races might be of interest. So let me take you back to both.

Self Transcendence 6 hour Saturday September 26

I have had previous posts on this race or more appropriately series of races. The event is a series of races, the 24 hour, 12 hour and the 6 hour. In the past I have done the 12 hour 3 times and the 24 hour once. This year with a trip to Europe ending on the heels of the race the 6 hour seemed the logical and smart choice. All races are held on the Louis Riel High School Indoor Track, a 400 meter multi lane track that runs the perimeter of a domed indoor soccer field.

The race started off well and in my case fast. I was on target for a 50km+ finish. By the half marathon mark, around 2 hours 30 I felt good but had noticed my feet where bothering me. Not in the blister forming type of a feeling but just not feeling comfortable in my shoes. I had decided to wear the Skechers GORun 4’s for the entire race considering the distance and the surface. I did have my Ultra 2’s in my gym bag to wear post race. These shoes are a bit wider and I thought if I developed blisters I would then have a nice shoe to wear post event and for the short drive home. So the decision at 2:45 or so was to stop and change into the new shoes. I wasn’t sure why my feet swelled so much. This is not normal and it was the first time I had experienced it. While my feet where really happy with the change to the Ultra 2’s, my pace began to fall off. By 5 hours I was a bit too far off a 50km finish distance and with a weekend of hiking coming up I walked most of the last hour. I finished the 6 hours with a distance of 47.2km’s.

Post race I tried to figure out what had happened and realized I had not only bonked but also most likely became dehydrated. I have bonked in the past but generally a bit of food or a gel takes care of the immediate needs. The dehydration was a bit more interesting. Having my feet swell and not first feeling dry mouth our headachy means I can’t rely on old indicators.

Fall Colors Half Marathon Sunday October 11

The Fall Colors is part of the Somersault running offer. Somersault is an Ottawa based company that organizes Triathlons, duathlons and running road races. These are extremely well run events, family oriented and a wonderful place for a new runner to start out on the more competitive side of running, although the level of competitiveness is very high so don’t take these as ‘slow’ races. Held on thanksgiving Sunday in the small rural community of Cumberland, east Ottawa, the Fall Colors is a series of races starting with the 1km kids races, a 3, 5 and 10 km events and the half and full marathon. The course is a mix of rural and village all on road with well-placed water stations. The out and back nature of the event allows a first timer with a preview of the course on the outbound that they can then take advantage of on the return. It is also a hilly road race and some folks find this unusual for a Boston Qualifier event. I take the opposite approach that as a road race it is more enjoyable and unlike many others which are run on nearly flat road, this one really requires strength and endurance to finish well.

So for the race I made the wrong shoe choice but it worked out anyway. I wore the Skechers GORun 4’s thinking that the road surface would be consistent. Unfortunately some of the areas are extremely broken up with a lot of crushed rock on the inside of corners. In retrospect my new Skechers GORun Ultra R’s would have been a better choice for a bit more cushion on the less than smooth surface. Luckily the lighter GORun 4’s still did a fantastic job and I just went a bit wider around parts of the road that where not perfect.

The race started at 10am and was a mix of both the marathoners and half marathoners. I started out on a fast (for me) 5:30 pace to stay pace with the pack of runners through the first 1km. I used this time to warm up a bit and this helped. By the 5km mark I was settled in nicely and wasn’t being overtaken by other runners. At the turnaround I was at 1 hour 6 minutes and while I slowed from the fast start felt good. The run back seemed a bit faster with more downhills but these had the unexpected disadvantage of causing a bit of thigh tightness. My overall lack of training was being pointed out by my body. On the last hill up to the finish area I decided to walk it so I could have a stronger finish and not get overtaken by the two runners behind me. This worked and in the end I finished with a time of 2:12:27. Not my fastest half but a very good pace, 6.16, for the 21km’s.

Post Race – I had been critical in the past about one of the earlier versions of the Skechers GORun. I have to say this current model, The GORun 4 is a superb road shoe and this is less a comment on the material than it is in the Skechers management that listens to customer feedback and creates a shoe for runners not a shoe for profit margins. With the GORun 4, the vast majority of people will find a shoe that allows you to run the way your body is designed and not use trickery and false claims created by marketing hype to sell a shoe. The GORun 4 is a perfect shoe for training and equally happy as a longer distance shoe. So whether you are a Saturday 5km runner or training for Comrades Ultra Marathon, if you are into road running the Skechers GORun 4 is an absolutely perfect shoe for you.

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