17 Oct Race Day at the Pinery Classic
A friend of mine said, ‘You never know what sort of weather to expect at this time of year’. Wise friend indeed. Two years ago, the 2015 Pinery Fall Classic was postponed ‘due to an unusually early and severe snow storm. The storm cut power to the Park and brought down branches and trees’. Roll ahead to last Sunday when runners would have welcomed a bucket of ice water dumped on their heads. Hot, humid conditions had been ushered in by strong winds in advance of an approaching storm. Unexpected surprise for sure. A forecast that warns of driving rain and 80% chance of thunderstorms has a way of adding to normal prerace jitters.
What to wear? How to prepare? For the worst of course. Threw all sorts of gear into the bags and headed off to the race. Race time registered high temps of 20°C (feeling like 26°C), with 88% humidity and 31Km South winds. Good news: no rain in sight, yet.
10 am Start for me. Always fun to discover a running buddy has shown up as well. Janice and I have run together. Knew that we ran at similar paces. I never run my races ‘with’ anyone but it was fun heading off the Start Line embracing the energy that comes from the ‘tandem effect’. Soon after the Start we parted ways and ran our ‘own’ races.
Rolling hills and lots of curves. Followed my rules: 1. never pass anyone going uphill (there were LOTS) and 2. run the tangents (there were LOTS) Had no intention of making much use of Aid Stations. The heat of the day changed my mind. Poured more water over my head than I drank. Even so, I could feel my body heat ramping up.
5K turnaround arrived and not a moment too soon. Time to dig deep, focus on breathing, and fast feet. Heading back always brings a jolt of positive mental energy. It also brought occasional gusty headwinds. Did I imagine it or were those gusts constantly coinciding with my uphill efforts? Second last K my pace was slowing. Good ‘ole Creatine rush arrived in time to make my final K pace one of the best all race. (Go figure.)
Then there was the 4.8K Hog-nosed Snake Trail Run that Don had signed on for. In the days prior, he had received all sorts of ‘interesting’ messages. ‘Be aware that the footing on the beach is a mix of pebble, sand, and stones; footing on steps will likely be slippery; with the forecasted winds, there might not even be a beach.’ Makes a person wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into. Stroke of luck, unbelievable, and yes incredible that as of Sunday morning the wind had not yet ramped up. Smaller waves on the lake were of no serious consequence for the runners. From his 10:10 am. Start to the Finish, the issue for Don was more about heat and hydration than dealing with stormy conditions.
Final Word: No rain! (until later). We both ran our best and had great races–Don winning 1st in Age and I won 2nd in Age. Yeah Team!
Have you ever found yourself in ‘unusual’ weather for a race? How did it go? Would enjoy reading your comments.
Special thanks to my Coach Rick Mannen: Sub 2:20 marathoner, coach. Personal running coach for all levels from true beginners to the elite level including Canadian National Team Members at Pan Am Games, Olympic Games & World Championships. Completing more than 50 marathons, winning 7 including Skylon 1984, Toronto 1986, Hong Kong 1987, Buffalo 1991, London, Niagara, Massey, PR of 2:19:00 while competing for Canada at the World Cup Marathon in Seoul, South Korea 1987, also represented Canada at the Pan Pacific marathon Championships in Long Beach, CA.