Race Recap: 5 Peaks Albion Hills

So, the Friday before last, I did one of my morning runs with the Lightning Kid.  During my lunchtime spin class, I could feel both a tug in my hamstring and my Achilles acting up.  That didn't seem good, but I took it easy that weekend at the cottage, except for an open water swim, so I figured I'd be fine.

The same thing flared up in a Boot Camp class on Tuesday, and I began to think I was in trouble, since I had signed up for 5 Peaks Albion Hills that very morning.  I had to take an Ibuprofen just to get through my Wednesday and by Thursday night I was soaking in a cold water bath (no ice, though, I just can't do that to myself).  The latter seemed to help and I was willing to brave it by Saturday morning.

Albion Hills is a great park that we visit often for cross-country skiing.  I wish I could say that the skiing made the trails familiar to me, but everything looks different in snow, but at least I'd done this race 2 years ago... but more on my race later.

As always at the 5 Peaks series, it starts with the Kids Challenge; all participants get a bib with the number 1 on it, because they're all winners.  We were rushing up to get the kids' bibs and safety pins when I ran into Robyn Baldwin (whose blog I'm sure you read, right), and though we didn't have time to greet her as well as we should have, did us a solid of capturing great race photos of the kids, so big thanks to her.

The Lightning Kid gives Robyn a High Five

Shark Boy in action - Courtesy of Robyn Baldwin
Lightning Kid waves to the fans - Courtesy of Robyn Baldwin
At previous races, I've run with Shark Boy while my wife has run with the Lightning Kid.  Last year, he needed to be carried a lot, but he did almost all of the Heart Lake 1 km Kids Challenge this year unassisted, so I was game to switch kids with her this time.  Uh-oh, not only did she struggle to match Shark Boy's pace, but the Lightning Kid must have been a little thrown by the switch because he hesitated and paused as the pack pulled away from us, and when they began to disappear from sight, he threw a mini-tantrum or two.  Luckily, he's still motivated from those morning runs and understands the concept of "Go, go, go!" so I got him through the course with a fair amount of carrying.  What he lacks in speed he makes up for in charm and charisma because he put on a grand show of waving at almost everyone he could.

They stuck around after their race just long enough to see me off on mine, then it was off to the on-site splash pad and pool.  It's really great that 5 Peaks is using these awesome venues of the Toronto Region Conservation Authority - they make for great scenery and family fun.

Wanting to play it safe and conservative with my right leg, I decided to seed myself in Wave 4, which ended up being the last wave, but also the best behaved, because according to the Race Director's announcement, we get to hear our instructions 4 times. Heh.

The race course was described as a roller-coaster with lots of single-track, and the latter fact made for some line-ups in the early going, even for last wavers.  Still, I enjoyed taking it easy and knowing that simply finishing would be a fun day and mean my leg hadn't stopped me.  In fact, I jumped a foot off the trail to take a picture of a unique looking stand of trees:

The roller-coaster description held true, and the kilometer markers seemed to tick off fairly quickly - time flies when you're having fun.  I managed to pass a lot of people more through technique on the hills (especially downhills) than conditioning.  Some of the sights I saw included a girl who stubbed her toe while wearing those Vibram Five Fingers Barefoot shoes (ouch) and a guy who looked like he belonged on a tennis court.  Tennis shoes, polo shirt... look, I get it, not everybody needs to be hard-core dedicated to the sport, in fact, I love the idea of people trying things out for the first time, without necessarily having spent money on all the best gear.  It's just that this guy had all grey hairs, so I'm thinking he's not some 21-year old who is going to bounce back from the kind of injury that improper footwear is going to cause.  he Sport course ended up being 5.7 km by their reckoning or 5.3 by me & Endomondo's.

I'm really happy that I crossed the finish line strong, and I did comparatively better in my age group than at Heart Lake (13/20 is better than 24/28). Once I had retreated to the shade and gotten my water and banana, I had a chance to talk with Robyn and Jessica from Laces and Lattes (who, again, supplied me with a discount code for the race entry as well as kicked butt in the Enduro category).  We talked blogging, heart rates, upcoming races and adventures - it was a great way to highlight what an inspiring, fun community that I can connect with through active life blogging. 

After the great time we had as a family that day, the Kortright Centre race is basically a done deal...

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