Larry's Blog Pages

April 23, 2007

ENDURrace 8K - Waterloo

Spring is here in all its glory and this made it a great time to finally pull out the shorts for running. As most male runners can attest, tights are comfortable but create an open door to many jokes and harsh comments from passing traffic.

I arrived in Waterloo just minutes before the gun as highway 401 was a mess and I had just wrapped up a slow, frustrating game of golf with my buddies. The Run Waterloo group was more than accommodating and rushed me through the registration process and made all the nessacery adjustments to ensure my time from last week would be added to this race for the overall combined event time. After getting through check in I headed for a quick change and fast fuel up of Amino Vital and a power bar. I wanted to get them in the system earlier but could not reach them while driving so I had to get them down quick and run to the line.

The little jog over there acted as my warm up along with some standing stretches as the race crew counted down the last seconds leading up to the horn. Off we went along the same starting stretch as the week before along the back side of the community centre of RIM Park. I could tell the pace was not as brisk right from the horn so I settled in around 20 runners back of the leader and got into an early pace that I hoped to maintain for the duration of the race. As we heading down University Ave., a nice two lane road with a fresh, fast surface, we lined out to protect ourselves from the slight breeze blowing into our faces. The first km passed in just under 4 minutes, which was the pace I was aiming to hit, so I took note of the stride and tried to repeat the motion turn after turn. We approached our next corner as we made our way to the mile marker on Northfield Drive, a single lane highway with many rolling hills, and the leaders began to pull away down the slope and up the first hill in the horizon. A group of five of us let them go and settled into our own pack in a nice consistent pace as we hit KM markers two through four along this stretch. By this time the hills started to take some victims and our group dwindled to three as we turned right onto Sawmill Road through a little settlement with some gracious cheers from the local residents. This was just a short tease of flat road that made way to our next right turn back towards RIM Park on Woolwich Street. Our race experience was tested right away on this section with a steep downhill decent that rubberized the leg muscles and lead to brief flat piece of ground to a bridge that required full concentration due to the uneven nature of the bridge surface. The race was now only 2k from completion and I was picking up the pace after a tasty GU gel and coming up to a group of two more runners that had been a little out of reach earlier. I have always loved the hills and our next one was a doozy. I knew that I could catch both of them there and maybe crack the top ten for the race. The hill was a pace killer to be sure but I leaned into the grade and pumped my way past one of the runners half way up and came up on the heels of the next as we hit the crest. We were almost even as we pushed on to a horizontal stretch of back country, His stride on the flats was a little smoother than mine at this point and he effortlessly started to pull away down the country road leading to the familiar finishing leg (last 1.5 km was were we completed the ENDURrace 5K last week). We twisted down a small hill along the back side of the community centre's soccer pitches relieved to see the finishing banner. My target was now out around 40 metre in front and I knew I only had 500 metre left to bring him in with an uphill to the line as my only advantage. One last turn and up to the line we raced. He heard my footsteps quicken with my challenge and picked up his turnover with a final sprint. So close but I could only narrow the gap to 3 seconds at the line but good enough for tenth spot and a very satisfying race in perfect weather and a country side setting.

The Après-Race was once again very good with plenty of food and drinks to re-fuel and friendly atmosphere to relax and chat with other participants. A very nice family from Waterloo joined me for the awards and were very socialalbe and very knowledgeable on the runs that the Kitchener-Waterloo area has to offer.

I will have this two run series marked for next year so come join me in Waterloo for a nice break from the rat race in the GTA.

Larry Bradley

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