The Canadian Death Race 2014 is now 33 days away; and so I say death is near. Needless to say I am getting a little excited. I have the flights booked, the hotel room locked down. With the impending travel dates nearing I pulled out the DVD I got from Scott Woodward of Barebones Productions to produces a video recap of the race every year. It brings back found memories of my first epic race.
To get a copy of last year’s video for yourself, click here.
I have been asked, not so directly, why do you run? People don’t get it. They look at me, amazed, or maybe perplexed. As if running were unnatural. I suppose, it is NOT normal – not at all. Why the hell would you want to do that?
That brings me back to the question at hand. REALLY – why do you run… for that long? After an epic run you walk around like you want to lose your legs. The pain is gargantuan. A day goes by and the pain and suffering slowly turns to STRENGTH.
You start to walk a little stronger. Your run is stronger. Your spirit is stronger. A day may beat you down, but the run makes you resilient, more persistent.
Running invigorates me; it gives me passion and meaning. I run to feel alive, to prove to myself that I am living life. Running gives me time with me. It provides me a sense of self.
I was sitting down enjoying the great food and wine at the Pelee Island Winery after I finished my race and my wife and our friend crossed the line. We were being sun soaked as we sat on one of the picnic benches. A pair of friends sat down beside us and struck up some runner banter. One of the girls asked if I had any more races planned for the rest of the year. They were not expecting my answer and were puzzled about why I was running a half marathon.
There is no question that anybody running 100 km or more is an impressive feat. The same can be said for a half-marathon. All things are relative. To run a 100 km or more, you pace at around 70% your maximum heart rate. The shorter the race, the higher of a heart rate you can sustain and where the challenge is found.
For the better part of the race, my heart rate pumped at 90% max or slightly higher. There were some exceptions. The first 3 km’s I made it up to 95% max. During this short jaunt, I counted 15 people ahead of me. I slowed down and let people pass me. I re-enforced the notion that if I find my pace early I will see all the runners that pass me before the finish line. So I gave in to my reasoning that my heart rate was too high. To add to that, my legs were tight, again. At km 5 I realized that I couldn’t ignore the urge to pee any longer. I took a quick break where my heart rate dropped to 70%. I got out on the course and found my stride at an avg pace of 4:40 minutes per km.
From the start of km 6 till the end of the race I was very steady. I would slow my pace through the aid stations to grab Gatorade (to drink) and water (to pour down my neck to cool me down). Once I was finished with the aid station, I picked up where I left off. As a result of managing a good pace, I caught up to the folks that passed me early on.
In fact, it was my fastest half-marathon to date. Which is nice, but a personal best (PB) wasn’t my motivation when I signed my wife and I up for this race. The attraction was the winery. Consequently, the island is beautiful and totally worth visiting. I think there are around 450 people that live on the island. We stayed at the Bayview cottages and were a short walk away from Conorlee’s Bakery. We picked up a pizza from them (excellent!) and on the Monday morning when they are typically closed, they opened the shop just to brew us a fresh pot of coffee.
The weekend was a success. I had a great time on a mini vacation with my wife, and we got to do some of the best things in life: relax, run, eat, and drink wine!