Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oasis Zoo Run

I recently took part in the Oasis Zoo Run which took place around and within the Toronto Zoo. I was lucky enough to claim a spot on Team BC after someone else backed out, so I thank them for giving me the opportunity to try this race. It was a goal to try and make it to this race this year; however, I fell short in that goal by finishing 6th in the Timex Race Series. You see the top 4 automatically qualify. In the end, 2 people turned down their spots, which allowed myself and Katherine Moore to attend. 

Team BC Women the night before the race (myself, Katherine Moore, Sabrina Wilkie, Natasha Fraser)

I didn't go into this race expecting my best time as I was well aware that the course was slow with the amount of rolling hills and sharp corners within the zoo. I went into the race wanting to run the strongest race I could and to hopefully hit sub 37'. This year they had a new course, which was a point to point course both starting and finishing in different spots than previous years. 

The start was a bit of a jumble as the elites were trying to sort out getting their bags to the finish. In the end, with a run across the parking lot to drop the bag and back to the start, we were on the line and ready to go. The race started out fast as the first km was pretty much all downhill; however, what goes down must come up as just after the first km we had a hairpin turn to head back up the long steady climb for another km. I think it was just after 3km that we had our second hairpin turn. I hate these turns as they cause you to lose too much speed. 

Up until this point, 3 of team BC women (Sabrina, Katherine and myself) were pretty close together with Natasha way up with the leaders. I fell off Sabrina after the 2nd hairpin as we entered the zoo and took a dirt service road. Nothing like a dirt road with mud puddles in a road race! 

Most of the middle of the race was a blur. It started to hurt but I kept pushing the best I could. I hit the 5km mats and was thankful it was halfway done. I think it was around 7km another female passed me and muttered some encouraging words to me. I tried to hang on but she gapped me slightly (maybe by 5-10m). Around 8km we had a downhill where she gapped me a bit further but not by much (I really need to learn how to run downhill), but thankfully I realized that every time we hit a hill, I would gain on her. 

Deep breath in!

Deep breath out!

At 9km we had a steep hill to climb and I made my move as she was suffering. I passed her as we were 3/4 of the way up and then tried to hang on for dear life on the short flat/downhill before the final climb to the finish. Thankfully we previewed a bit of the course the day before so while I didn't know the exact location of the finish, I knew it finished with a decent hill climb. I knew if I could stay ahead until the hill that I would keep my position. 

I crested the hill and saw the clock over 37' and was a bit disappointed. I never once looked at my watch the entire way throughout the race so I had no idea what to expect. In the end my gun time was 37:19 (37:18) chip. In the end I finished 48th overall and 15th female while putting 13 seconds on the 16th female within the final km. 

Team Saucony (myself, Katherine Moore and Krista DuChene)

The cool down was a tad crazy as we basically ran with other racers and it was interesting to hear many comments that while they advertised the race being "faster" this year a majority stated that they disagreed and thought that the course was actually slower. Having never run the previous courses, I have no idea whether that was true or not.

Grizzly Bear anyone? 

The BC men won the Timex Team title and BC also won the Co-Ed Timex Team title. We were a bit surprised to see Team Ontario take the women's title and after some research, in which BC athletics are looking into it, it appears as though BC did in fact take the women's Team title, as those awarded as Team Ontario did not complete their required races. From what I was told, the wrong Team Ontario was named. Nevertheless, it was a great event that was won by Reid Coolsaet and Megan Brown. 

Results are found here

Top men and women

Team BC!

 Natasha and I were roomies and we figured out we began racing each other 18+ years ago.

Myself and Michelle Stillwell at the Nanaimo airport after a long day of travel! She was in Toronto for the Olympic Parade of athletes! 

No comments: