What turned out to be a beautiful day was a little tough to dress for, as the day started near single digit temperatures (in Celsius), but the sun ended up beating down to a degree that mid-way through the race I was wishing I had worn shorts. More on my race later; first, we got both Shark Boy and the Lightning Kid to run the "Children's Challenge" which was a 1 km fun run for the little ones which took place after a timed kids event (probably for slightly older children).
|The boys are both #1!|
|Shark Boy descends the hill into the bowl.|
|Shark Boy just before the finish line.|
|The Lightning Kid just before the finish line.|
|The brothers with their finishers' medals.|
After the first 50 m, the trail narrowed significantly for big downhill drop and the race turned into standing in line at the movies. We had been forewarned of this and everyone was good-natured about it - it was too soon to have any real effect on anyone's race. Once the trail opened up a little bit, I started getting passed and as I checked my heart rate on my Garmin, I could see I needed to slow down the pace a bit. The thing about trail races is they don't give your heart rate much of a break unless you're willing to slow down to a walk.
There were some fun 'obstacles' like logs to jump over including one you had to climb or vault (a hop would not suffice) especially early on - I loved it, but I think they still kept it within sane ranges unlike these obstacle course races that are practically masochistic in nature. I kept getting passed though, and I began to wonder if I was in dead last when I stopped seeing people behind me for a bit. It happens to me a little on the bike in triathlon so I don't stress out about it too much. In fact, I had passed one or two people too. I took a little video of the trail, if you'd like to get a feel for what the race was like.
I had noticed that the kilometre markers came earlier than my Garmin was claiming, so when 6 km was done, I decided I could try and risk it a little more and really started pushing the pace; driving my heart rate well north of 90% of max. I passed 3 people who had a similar pace than me, but were making it look easier. I had a feeling they could and would catch me again before the finish line... and that was when I encountered a bit of funny luck.
The trail veered left and suddenly we were basically facing a wall of dirt. Imagine the steepest hill you could theoretically climb on foot. I think the others just stopped and laughed and resigned themselves to walking up carefully. I, on the other hand, have daily conversations with Shark Boy about Spider-Man, so I hustled up using hands and feet like the wall-crawler himself, and you know what? I wasn't passed again before the end of the race, even though there was another gut-busting climb out of that same bowl we used in the Children's Challenge. I crossed the finish line with lungs burning in just under 45 minutes. I had projected an hour to my wife - I think both the course was a little easier than the last time I did a trail race, and maybe I'm in a little better shape.
5 Peaks always has great post-race snacks including bagels, bananas, apples, orange wedges, chunks of power bar (I think), cookies and kettle corn. The Vega tent also gave out free samples of plant-based recovery drink - I'm glad turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, but it's not something I'd normally put in a drink... They also have Kicking Horse coffee, but I'm never ready to drink coffee immediately after a race, and by the time I get ready, it's all gone. One of the costs of being a back of the pack (14/18 in Men 30-39 which I qualify as for another 3 days) athlete I guess.
And that was our Saturday... on to Sunday!
We got the kids packed up to do the Terry Fox Run at West Deane Park after a pancake breakfast. I knew I was going to treat the day as 'active recovery' - nothing too strenuous, just jogging. Unfortunately, I found I had tweaked a weird muscle the day before. I don't know which muscle it is, but let's just say I'm not willing to put ice there. It was going to be a little more challenging than I thought!
The Terry Fox run is such a great event for families; there's a bouncy castle, live music, a hot air balloon (that takes you only a little bit up and down, but still), fire engines for the kids to look at, a barbecue, and a great playground. We were joined by my father-in-law and his wife.
They ended up taking the kids for the most part, while my wife and I did the run according to the planned route. We did not break any speed records but proceeded north at a friendly pace while stopping to read Terry Fox quotes that were written in chalk on the path.
(I know that one's not in chalk, I should have taken pics of the other ones as we encountered them). The northern turn around point was only about 2 km out from the start, so I knew we'd end up with less than 5 km if we stopped at the start/finish line. It turns out the kids and Opa and his wife had taken the southern arm of the route, so we went to meet them, but I confess we did a lot of walking as there was fatigue build up for both of us.
By the time we met them, I had gotten a bit of a second wind, and I wanted to burn off a little extra energy, so I went ahead with Shark Boy to finish the route at a run (with him on his bike). He had wanted to get off the bike and run, but I convinced him to stay on it since it was a little far for him. Keeping up with him on a bike is speed work (as I learned in Germany), and we had fun racing each other. Before next week I have to teach him that filling his bike with pretend gas isn't a great idea during a race, though. With only a few hundred metres left, I could hear the band, and I said I'd carry the bike and helmet so he could cross the finish line on foot. He doesn't know it, but he did a brick workout! Bring on next week's duathlon.
We all met again later and the kids had some good playground time and snacks. I'm really happy to make this an annual tradition and we even raised a little money for cancer research.
Because we are crazy and insatiable, the kids had swimming lessons that afternoon too. Our family is what my friend the Pavement Runner calls "That Kind of Crazy".
Did you grow up in a crazy active family? If not, do you wish you had?