I love relays. Relaxed, fun, good food - thanks again Chris for your amazing cookies. It's great to catch up with people, have ridiculous car conversations, and plan for bigger days to come, like the Sinister 7 next July. I have decided I'm only about going longer than 21.1 if it involves mountains. While not a realy, I read in a back issue of impact (here) about the Tor des Geants in Italy. Antipasti, wine, yes please; 25 mountain passes and 330 or so odd kilometers, bring it. This is a race I dream of going on with a few close friends - crazy like me friends. Italy however is a few years away so I should get back to the present and tell you more about Ekiden.
Ekiden is good and bad for one same reason, the final hill. All five legs finish up a fairly long, steep hill. I recently listened to an "Another Mother Runner" podcast about hill running. In it Dim talked about transferring 80% of your energy to your upper body. As the course had a few ups and downs, I practiced on the smaller inclines first knowing I'd have to try something, anything, to get me up the monster at the end. My conclusion: I killed the hill! Never before have I enjoyed hills and here I was, running, up a friggin' beast. Yes by the end I still wanted to keel over but... I was upright, breathing (barely), and elated. From what I consider to be the bottom it is about 65m gain over .85km, from the corner where they radio your number up, it's a 55m gain in .6km. So about a 9% grade. Mean nothing to you? Ya, me neither. Rather, I think Tricia's face sums it up much better.
This year I did leg two, 13.8 scenic kilometers down Tunnel Mountain and through Banff Springs golf course. It was another one of those fantastic runs for me. My mantra as of late: 'this is your run'. Not getting caught up in those around me allowed me to focus on running consistent and at a pace leaving me sure of a sub-2 finish in Vegas. Running at 300m (985 feet) higher than what we run in Calgary, I was happy to clock a 5:40 km average pace without a side stitch, without walk breaks, but not without a quick trip to the ditch. Thank goodness for mountain conifers for protection. I think the general consensus was that everyone had a great run. There's scenery to distract you and the fresh mountain air gives you a lift.
|Passing off to Rebecca|