Category Archives: Run

Cougar Mountain Trail Series 2016 – 5k

With zero experience running trails (apart from quick run on a gravel path near the local YMCA) I decide to keep things simple and just pick the 5k race distance for my first trail race. It was at Cougar Mountain, in Bellevue, east of Seattle, where they have a 5 or 6 race series each summer (the Cougar Mountain Trail Series, presented by the Seattle Running Club).

Living only 5 mins from the race course made it an easy decision to pick this race for my trail debut. The trails looked very inviting – lush green surrounds even in the height of a Seattle ‘Summer’. I didn’t have any trail shoes, so I decided to go with my trusty blue Saucony Guides with over 500km on them, so I didn’t mind if they got dirty, rather than my brand new (and quite white) Triumphs.

I decided to ignore pace, and run on feel / HR – trying to stick around the top of Z3 and low Z4, it seemed to work well, as I felt like I pushed pretty hard and had a little in the tank for the finish. The course was great – the 5k has very little of the climbs of the longer distances. It was however fairly muddy, as it was raining. I didn’t loose grip too much but I did need to take it carefully on the descents and corners, as the Guides aren’t off road shoes, and mine were quite worn down by the aforementioned 500kms on road.

The trails were beautiful, lush green everywhere, trees overhead, and some bridge crossings over creeks that were flowing. Such a nice place to go running.

I managed a cheeky 3rd place overall Male (don’t get too excited, all the serious runners were doing either of the 2 other longer distances). It was great fun and I instantly decided I needed get some trail shoes and run a longer one.

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City to Surf 12km – 2014 Race Report

This was my second City to Surf. Once again, my goal was sub-60min. Training had been going well, up till 3 weeks to go, where a combination of fatigue and schedule-related issues got in the way of solid training. Having done a 1:01 at Run for a Reason in May (a much flatter course) the sub hour goal was still a ‘stretch goal’.

Conditions were quite mild, it wasn’t as cold as last year – so I left the classy tracksuit pants at home.  The nicer weather was also helped by the race start for the 12km being pushed back to 9:05 AM this year.

I had a quick carbohydrate drink (32GI) at work (I was planning on drinking only water, if anything, during the race) and jogged to the start line as a warm up (about 1km). I managed to find a gap in the start pen, and moved myself to some empty space about 5 metres from the start line. Well, if I wasn’t going to finish near the leaders, I may as well have a couple of minutes near the front! The wave starts were a bit better this year, there was no waiting and preamble stroll to the start line.

I set of and completed the first km at 4:50 pace, including the solid hill up Malcom St to Kings Park. Possibly this was a little quick, but my heart rate was fine, so I wasn’t too concerned.

As the race progressed, I stayed close to the 5min pace average, by gaining time on the downhills. On the flats I was pretty close to 5:02, but the uphills I simply lost too much time. The first few hills I gained enough on those downhills, but as the race progressed, it took more and more effort to speed up on those downhills.

I pushed pretty hard for a final km of 4:20, but this wasn’t enough to pull it back under the hour. I had thought if I was a minute behind I might be able to get it back, but as I was over 2 minutes down on target time with 1.5km to go, it was clear sub-hour was unachievable.

My ‘B’ goal was just to beat last year’s time (1:03). Which I managed to do by 1 min 18 sec. Looking at my race stats on Strava, I kept my heart rate in threshold or higher for a greater majority of the race – I seem to be able to tolerate that kind of HR better now.

This year I didn’t have quite as an extreme sprint finish, as my brother was in a different wave to me, so was nowhere in sight. Last year it was neck and neck to the line. I crossed the line, but my brother hat a better chip time, as he crossed the start timing mat 3 seconds later.

At the finish , I was moving at a decent pace, and passed quite a few people in the final 500m, but it wasn’t a full on sprint, because I didn’t have much left in the tank due to racing at such a high heart rate for the whole distance.

Overall it was another fun race – though it would be nice to get below 1 hour! Next year I’ll have to do it again, and maybe the half marathon the year after that.

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Run for a Reason (May 2014)

Run for a Reason. Take 2.

This year’s reason was to beat last year’s time. And also to see if the strength of racing a full season carried into autumn. This race is in an interesting place in the schedule as it it only 2 weeks after Busselton. Once again I was mostly in bike training for the past 2 months, but I did manage to do about 6 runs over 8km in that time.

I ended up with 1:01:10 – pretty close to my 1hr goal, and a 5min improvement over last year. My pacing was smoother than last year, and I could tell I pushed harder throughout because I didn’t have the same sprint at the horse race course as I did last year. Race day was relatively humid, and fairly cool, there was some sprinkling of rain, but nothing major.

It was a fun day, and happy with my improvement on last year. Looking forward to the City to Surf 12km in August.

 

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