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race report – MEC Barrie Race Series Two (15k trail)

i think that i could get into this ‘using races as key workouts’ thing.

as this week marked my return to training after the waterloo marathon i have shifted gears to focus more on time-on-feet and refining my trail legs.  this is all in anticipation of the Sulphur Springs 50k and The North Face Endurance Challenge Series GORE-TEX® 50 miler.  this saturday called for a 33-38k run at ‘comrades pace’ (given that i’ve jumped into following a training plan for the renowned comrades marathon), and since the 2015 MEC Barrie Race Two – their first trail-specific competition – was scheduled for the same i decided that i would put in about a 19k warm-up before joining the 15k distance option for the race.  although i was very much looking forward to this event i had second thoughts the night before as i experienced some soreness in my right knee (likely as a result of ramping my mileage up again to full throttle after the post-marathon week off) but decided that i really didn’t have the time to waste before the 50k.

the race took place in the simcoe county forest with which i was somewhat familiar given some training runs i’d done with the barrie trail running club.  however i felt that i’d best be served for the race by doing some advance scouting of the route (just to make sure that i could actually find my way through and test my friend jim willett‘s trail marking abilities) so i arrived a couple of hours before the scheduled start time to run the course.  the MEC crew was already well under way setting up the start/finish area as well as setting up some final signage along the course to help ensure directional clarity.


as far as the warm-up went, i was joined for most of it by my new friend rob (whom i’d met at the MEC Barrie Race One) who helped keep the pace honest.  by the point that we connected on the trail i had already gotten off-course once (and had to double-back to find the appropriate ribbon markers), and together we managed to overshoot the turn-off to the finishing loop by some 2 kms – i would find out later that we were out before some of the final signage had been fastened in place, and when the marshals were in place we’d have no problem discerning where the appropriate turns would be.

upon completing my warm-up distance i picked up my timing chip and corralled in with the other 15k runners.  there was another stellar turn-out for this event, which to some was surprising given that we were tackling roots and rocks instead of pavement and parking lots.  i managed to spot a number of our intrepid tribe of barrie ninjas (trevor, lewis, rick, jason) as well as several other friends (kathleen, tina, brenda, marc) and my former coach rick ball whom i’d not seen in well over a year.

how did the race itself go?

overall i was happy with how it all went down, even though i started out a bit faster than i’d wanted (in order to clear some traffic before getting onto single track sections).  i managed a respectable pace throughout, power-hiking a few tough uphill (and sandy, to boot) sections and scrambling well down the same sections on return halves of those loops.  i believe that i turned in another negative split  which i was pleased with because (a) it was trail terrain all the way, which is energy draining due to its constant variation and (b) the temperatures rose from 16°C when i’d started my pre-race warm-up to 28°C by the time that i crossed the finish line.

my fellow ninjas brought home numerous race accolades from this event, including 1st (trevor) and 3rd (rob) place overall in the 15k, 2nd female finisher (amanda) and two 1st in AG (rick and lewis) in the 5k.  sarah also hit her goal of making the first page of results for the 10k and jason represented team running free in strong fashion with a sub-2 hour 15k training workout.





results - 2015 MEC race two

and for some last minute notes and observations:

  • > the bugs weren’t too bad out there today – a few swarms making standing at the edge of the forest awaiting the start a bit annoying, but none during the run … except for the one stray wasp that decided to sting my finger during the warm-up loop
  • > it’s amazing how dehydration happens – i kept my nathan handheld full with either water or clif shot electrolyte, but between the long workout and the elevating temps i managed to lose 5 lbs. from morning wake-up to post-race … and then gain it all back by next morning
  • > race gear:

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