Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Frozen Ass 50: race report
Yesterday was the Family Day public holiday so we got to enjoy a 3-day weekend. And what better way to spend it than racing in the Frozen Ass 50km in Calgary. This is an event run by Gord's Running Store and is one of those lovely, low key, no-fuss type of races with fantastic volunteers and a bunch of running nuts willing to get out there and put some mileage in at the start of the year.
The weather was quite warm which made it pleasant as I can't imagine how bitterly cold that course would be on another day, especially as it's so open. The footpaths were snow covered and a little icy in sections but the footing was pretty good. And just prior to the halfway mark (or the finishing line if you were doing the 25 km race), we were running down the middle of a frozen river which was fun as the front runners were just starting to make their way back so it was nice to see who was out in the lead. It wasn't long until I saw my mate Ellie (first female, 2nd overall) booking along. And not too much later I saw Steve and then my mate Mike. I recognized quite a few folks from the Calgary/ultrarunning community there too as they went running past. It also meant that I had to be quite close to the halfway point which had me happy! My friend, Angela, was helping to man the aid station there so it was great to see her and have her help me on my way.
Going back was quiet as all the 25 km folks had finished at Angela's aid station and the 50 km people were now more strung out. I'm not a huge fan of flat terrain, especially over this type of distance, but I figured it would be a good training run and I actually felt pretty strong up until the 35 km mark but then my legs starting to complain quite loudly. My calf muscles were giving me some cramp spasms and my quads were screaming so the only thing to do at this point was to hunker down and get 'er done! I kept reminding myself that the pain was good experience and a taste of what's to come in my summer races, so it was a great motivator to recommit to my training program!
I was very happy to see the finishing line and was one of many people hobbling around afterwards! The post-race gathering was held inside the Canoe Club and was a great end to the day. Tons of food, various drinks and nibblies. Plus door prizes. Frozen Ass has to be one of the best value races out there and has a great vibe to it, so if you're in Calgary at the end of next February, I'd highly recommend it. Gord does a great job of organizing this event and has an army of fantastic volunteers to ensure that it runs well.
I wasn't sure how long the race would take me but I was hoping it would be no more than 6 hours and I came in at 5.48 so was pretty happy with that. I got the mileage in which was more important and, even though my legs were pretty tight today, I managed to get up early and go to my muscle class (skipping out on the lower body section, thank you) and got half an hour of yoga in at lunchtime (I was too sore to do any more!) And yes, that is a grimace that you see on my face as I try to make the stairs, but hopefully I'll be back to bouncing around again soon.