Yesterday my training buddies, MellowJohnny and SpeedyK, and I ran together in a team effort for Saskatoon’s 50km Ultra Marathon event. It’s a great fall season event and it was really lots of fun! The three of us had had many discussions about who would take which “leg” of the race. We didn’t know the distances when the discussion began, so we tentatively set it at me doing the first, SpeedyK doing the second, and MellowJohnny doing the third. It ended up going exactly like that! This meant that I would take the longest leg at 17.4km, SpeedyK would take the 16.6 and MellowJohnny with 16.
Race morning was a bit hectic with getting everything going in the morning (ie. two kids and one slow MellowJohnny). I think that there is one thing that is the most difficult part of a late-season race: WHAT TO WEAR!? The weather forecast was not helping. It fluctuated between a chance of rain, to sunny to windy. I even packed enough clothes to deal with an early snowfall. Luckily, I did not have to deal with that! I ended up wearing a long-sleeved tech shirt, a short-sleeved tech shirt, and a long-sleeved insulating shirt over that. I also wore long pants. I had my mitts in the morning, but decided to ditch them before the race started. I’m glad I did!
It turned out I was pretty comfortable, bordering on too warm, for the whole race. I must have been because I had a really great 17.5km run! Now, I am a fairly slow runner, but I felt even slower being at the back of the pack for this run where there were lots of people doing the whole 50km! When I say back of the pack, I mean the VERY back! That being said, I think that I did pretty well in keeping our team close enough for the rest of my much-faster teammates to catch up and pass other people. It must have been the TEAM aspect that really pushed me. For the last few seasons, I have not averaged a longer distance race (ie. over 10km) at anything faster than 7 minutes per km. At this race, my average pace was 6:27 minutes per km! Here are my Garmin stats.
Even my team was surprised when I came in at 1:52. They were so surprised that SpeedyK wasn’t even READY! We wasted a couple of seconds getting her warm-up pants off. It must have been quite the sight for the rest of the spectators when SpeedyK whipped off her pants to her ankles and yelled out, “My pants are stuck! Pull them off!” I started yanking one leg at a time as she kept her balance. She had just enough time before she sprinted off to say “MellowJohnny was supposed to tell me when you were coming!” MellowJohnny came up to me and gave me a big hug. We all were impressed with my time and effort! I have no problem patting myself on the back for this one. It is the first time in a LONG time that I actually felt like I had come close to being prepared for a race and executing it well. Also, I have been doing some personal training lately with Amanda Stalwick, from Positively Fit Personal Training, and I think it has really been helping with my strength. Hopefully with this type of strength training and consistent training in general, I can build on this success.
The rest of my team was totally awesome! SpeedyK had a great run and came in 1 hour 42 minutes later after her 16.6km leg taking us to 3:38. It isn’t the greatest time for her compared to her previous races. However, considering all that she has been through the past few months, it is completely AMAZING! She is one of the strongest people I know and I’m so thankful that I get to run with her at least twice a week. She is completely inspiring, as a mother, a woman, and a runner.
MellowJohnny was our anchor and is definitely the fastest person on our team. He says that he couldn’t have kept up his pace for much longer than he did, but he completely rocked the 16.35km in 1:30! His pace was 5:30 minutes per km (yes, that’s almost a full minute faster than me). His kids and I were so excited to see him coming around the bend taking our team to 5:08! SpeedyK had to leave before our glorious team finish, but MellowJohnny, his kiddos, Bakeship Enterprise, and I celebrated the wonderful moment together. It was so so much fun to train together, to race knowing that they were there waiting, and to finish in a time that kicked our predicted time of 6 hours in the ass! I’m so proud of all of us!