Mother nature is a beautiful bitch...
Ok, this is my 5Peaks Golden Ears race report....but like usual, i’m going to back-track a bit. This past Monday (five days before the 5Peaks race) i ran close to 3/4 of the knee knacker course, and a good chunk of it hard. It was a great run. One of those runs where everything goes as planned, and i’ll probably remember that run for a long time: kind of a reference point.
Unfortunately though, I woke up Tuesday morning and my asthma was in full swing. Once my lungs get inflamed, it’s a long haul back to regular breathing (usually several days, as i don’t bother to stop running). I’m sure that it was my Monday run opening up both my lungs and my immune system to attack. Add in some pollen and/or poor air quality, and suddenly i’m breathing through a smaller diameter pipe
One of the benefits of living in a rural area, is that our yard is fairly big and we have a variety of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc right out the front door. I love our yard (except for mowing the lawn), but there are times when mother nature can be cruel. With all our west coast flora, we get a constant stream of pollen from March to September (or so it seems anyway). Most of it i don’t react to, but at this time of year something is in bloom that regularly gets the better of me. Those tiny little pollen particles can really mess up my lungs.
Back to race day...
When i woke up Saturday morning, i knew that my lungs would be my limiter, they just hadn’t loosened up. My legs felt great, but breathing was at 90%. I have learned over the years though, that the best thing to do when my lungs are bad, is to start off a bit easier. If i hit the gas to quickly, my breathing just gets worse.
I got to Golden Ears nice and early. I had enough time to register my girls for the kids 1km race, and to do a long/easy warm up before their run. Both girls were nervous for their race, so i stayed with them at the start line, and then ran with them the whole way. They had a blast, and I am so proud of them. Some hugs and a few photos, and it was time for me to get my head into my own game.
The plan for my race was to ease into things...keep my breathing controlled...don’t go red-line up Incline trail...push the pace on the second half of the course.
the gun went off, i settled in with two other runners (Chris and Mark),
and did my best to stay relaxed. My legs were feeling good, and by the
time we hit Mike Lake road, i was in the lead. Incline hill still hurt,
but i am happy to say that i was sticking to the plan. I opened it up on
the long down hill, and then started worked my way through traffic
(sport course runners) on the rolling terrain back to the finish.
(Thankfully i had a honey stinger gel with me though, because i needed it at about 40 minutes. I kind of neglected to take in enough calories this morning. I had a modified pre-race routine as i was busy with my girls and the kids 1k run).
I sort of fell off my game plan near the end though. I wussed out a bit for the last quarter of the race. I always like to pick it up at the end (and kick hard), even if i’m all alone: it’s a good habit, and it keeps me mentally tough. In this case though, I knew i had a safe gap back to the second place runner, and i justified easing up to myself by tossing down the ‘asthma’ card. ‘Why punish my lungs even more...?’. I’m not happy with being a pussy, but in reality, my lungs are happier for it. I’ll let it go this time. But next week ...no excuses, as the coming rain should clear the air a fair bit.
I could hear my girls cheering ‘go daddy go’ at the finish, so i’m sure that i crossed the line with a big smile. If you add everything up, it was a great day. Given how much fun my girls had, it more than trumps my trivial bullshit.
One of the best parts of (most) trail races, this one included for sure, is the post race atmosphere. It was really fun to just hang out afterwards and talk with everyone. I was able to get (re)acquainted with a lot of the people that i see around regularly (ie. James, Karl, Chessa, Shannon, Matt, Solana, .....) Thanks to Chris, and all the volunteers, for putting on a great event. I really like the family atmosphere that 5Peaks has. My girls loved doing their race, and we can’t wait to do it again.
Next up: Coast Mountain Trail Buckin’ Hell on Saturday (18th)...10k straight up, 10k straight down...
Here are some great photos that Rob Shaer (robshaer.com) took for 5Peaks.