Brantford Grand Trail 10K

If you look at my 2013 race calendar, you’ll see that I’ve added a mid-summer 10K. I don’t usually do short races, but this one looks good. And, for some time, I’ve been looking for a race I can do in the summer heat. Now I’ve bagged it – I’ll do a couple of half marathons in the spring, a 10K in the summer, and a half and a full marathon in the fall. That sounds ideal!

The Brantford Grand Trail 10K happens on July 28, 2013. As far as I can tell from the event website, it’s a small (100 participants this year) race, the proceeds of which go to support local Habitat for Humanity projects. No medals or t-shirts for this one – but all race finishers get a towel! That’s fine with me, as I have too many medals and t-shirts as it is. The race distance, though, is certified by Athletics Canada/Run Canada.

The course is on paved and hardpack gravel riverside trails, so I’ll probably wear my huaraches. Given the date, the weather’s bound to be hot, so I plan to wear my running kilt/skirt. There’s a nice YouTube video of this year’s race here, which gives a good sense of what the course and event are like. This one’s going to be a hoot!


Hannukah Hustle

I recently decided to add one more race to my 2011 calendar. (I know, I’ve come a long way from my decision in the Spring of this year to avoid races entirely. That’s OK, consistency isn’t always a good thing… )

The race is the Hannukah Hustle 10K, which will take place in Hamilton, Ontario on Sunday, November 20. It’s another race organized by the Kelly and Mark Arnott of VR Pro. (Already this year, I’ve done VR Pro’s Downtown Dash 10K and Dundas Cactus 10K, both of which were great fun. I think I’m becoming a VR Pro addict!) The Hustle is a charity race in support of a fitness center for people over 70 years of age at Shalom Village, a long-term care center in Hamilton. This year’s Hustle will be the 10th anniversary edition of the race.

I decided to do this one because it will be a nice final race for the calendar year, before the realities of a Canadian winter push my barefoot running back indoors and onto the treadmill. According Kelly Arnott , the course is mostly pavement, with some gravel trail. That, along with the fact the average low temperature for Hamilton in November is 0C (and the average snowfall for the month is 7.2cm), may mean I’ll do the race in my Invisible Shoe huaraches rather than barefoot.

I’m not Jewish, and I’m not really into charity runs. But the goodies for this race are pretty hard to resist – not only does every finisher get a Star of David pendant, the first 400 registrants get a technical t-shirt with the following cool image emblazoned on it.

Hannukah Hustle 10K

I’m in! How could I not be?

Race Report: Dundas Cactus 10K

Since I began looking at races as “street parties” (thanks to Barefoot Ted MacDonald for that nudge), I’ve not only found them more enjoyable, but – surprisingly – have also found my finish times improving.

The latest evidence of that was last Sunday’s Dundas Cactus 10K, organized by the good folks at VR Pro. A great route, a small but friendly and enthusiastic group of runners, and a great medal made it a good one.

Dundas Cactus 10K

A new (by a very slight margin) PB made it even better, even if the PB time had to be calculated because of a distance-measuring error. I also came second in my age category! Because of a miscommunication between the folks who measured the course and the race director, we only ran 9K instead of the required 10K. So I took my finishing time for 9K (49:21), and calculated its equivalent for 10K (54:00). And I’m dealing with the inevitable guilt in doing so by being quite convinced that I could have kept up my finishing pace for another 1K. So there.

Moving right along

The course included one short, medium-grade hill (which we ran twice), and a longish (1.5K or so) downslope (which we also ran twice). The road surfaces varied, from quite smooth pavement on the park loop to old, broken, and choppy pavement on the side streets. I’ve been lazy so far this season about speed and hill work, and running downhill on rough pavement in bare feet took its toll, so I flagged a bit on the second half of the race. But rally I did just – before the finish – and came in strong.

It was nice to get the age category award, in part because it gave barefoot running a bit of legitimacy as a viable option for doing races. (The fellow on the left is Deepak of Lee’s Pharmacy, a local store that sponsored the race. He handed out the awards.)

2nd in my age category

Nice people, an interesting course, and a good race. I was happy with it.

My next “entertainment” even will be the Oakville Half Marathon on September 25. This is going to be more serious challenge than the 10K. I’d like to acquit myself with dignity, so I’ll be incorporating fartleks and hill repeats into the next four and half week’s training. The Oakville Half is run on a very pretty course, and the half is my favourite race distance, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

Dundas 10K: Preliminary Report

It was a good race, and – by a very slight margin – a new PB for me. Also, I came in second in my age category!

The only wrinkle was that, because of a miscalculation by the race director, we only ran 9K of the scheduled 10K. So I’ve taken my finishing time for the 9K distance, which was 49:21, and calculated its equivalent for 10K (54:50).

The race medal is great, and the t-shirt a good one.

Finisher's medal, finisher's feet.

I’ll post a full race report later.

Easy Running

Earlier today, I did a relaxed, easy pace barefoot run around the neighbourhood. As there was very little traffic, I was able to do the whole thing on the roads, rather than having to run on sidewalks. There’s more debris on the sidewalks, and running on the roads means not having to fuss with driveways, curb cuts, and the like. Suburban street pavement around here is decent, so it’s good barefoot surface.

The weather was almost ideal at mid-morning, when I did the run. 27C (with the humidex factored in, it felt like 30C), clear skies and bright sunshine, and a light wind.

Dundas Cactus 10K My goal for this run was simply to set up my legs, heart, and head for Sunday’s Dundas Cactus 10K. Happily, everything seemed to be in working order. I’m looking forward to the 10K. It’s a nice distance for a summer morning race, and the route (a double loop, through a small-town park and on nearby side streets, then back into the park) sounds very pleasant.

I’ll post to dailymile after I finish the race, and will post a full race report here soon afterwards. Stay tuned!

Again With the Hill Repeats

I had another good barefoot hill repeat session this morning. I’m buying into the theory that hill repeats will make me stronger, and I’ve got a race – the VRPro Dundas Cactus 10K – coming up on Sunday.

As I did last week, I ran a 3.5K warmup, at a reasonably relaxed pace, and then ran my usual highway overpass “hill” eight times. Each hill set comes in at 500m, and is approximately a 6% grade. Then I ran a 3.5K cooldown to get home again.

I worked hard to keep my pace up and down the hills consistent, changing only my stride length ( a little shorter), my posture (leaned forward a little bit), and my cadence (ever so slightly quicker). The result was that I felt well and truly wasted by the end of the hill set. The upside was that I felt markedly stronger than I did after last week’s hill repeat session.

Will see how this plays out at Sunday’s race. However that happens, I’m going to continue with my weekly hill repeats, in hope that they will be an advantage in my following race – the Oakville Half Marathon on September 25.

The Big Picture

Here it is, folks. The official photographer, hi-res, no watermark photo of yours truly about to the cross the finish line at the Downtown Dash 10K race on July 14, 2010. I’m just about to set a new PB for the 10K with a time of 54:54.

(Click on the image if you want to see all the details.)

Downtown Dash 10K Finish

When I look at this photo, two thoughts come to mind. First is, “Goodness, I was working hard at that point!” Second is, “Man, do I ever look scary in that picture!”.