Monday, 28 April 2014

Run for the Diamond - Uxbridge Half Marathon

I had chosen this race because it was not too far from home and it was one of the many races that I had heard good things. It is a nice local race in which proceeds go towards the local hospital.  I usually like to read up on races and go over the course before a race so that I can prepare myself mentally and try to visualize the race course.  But, it's been pretty crazy around here lately, so I didn't have a chance to do this and I also figured out it couldn't be any harder than the Around the Bay Road Race that I had ran a few weeks prior. I decided to look up race reports the night before and found out that it was a hilly race and would also take me onto some trails. Duh, what was I thinking Uxbridge is Canada's Trail Capital. Needless to say, I started to FREAK out!!! I had never run a trail race before and when I finally saw the elevation map of the course, I was just beside myself. It was too late, the race was the next day.

I decided to take it easy and just enjoy the race, but the competitive side in me was telling me to try to push myself. I completed my usual night before race routine by checking the weather, setting up my race gear and laying out my race outfit. I  wasn't going to have to leave at the crack of dawn because the race was only 40 minutes from home and I was going solo; no kids, no husband.

I started to notice all the rolling hills on the scenic drive up to Uxbridge. It was a bit chilly  (-3 Celsius) but the sun was out and it was going to be a great morning for a run. The race was starting and finishing at the Wooden Sticks Golf Course. I was able to pick up my race kit the morning of the race and get ready inside the warm clubhouse. One of the highlights of this race is the diamond giveaway. Every runner has a chance at winning a diamond from one of the sponsors. Unfortunately, I was not the lucky winner this year.
The drive up and start line selfie
I usually run races with my friends, but this one was a solo race. It was one of the smallest races I have taken part in. There were only 179 participants in the half marathon. This was nice as the start line was not jam packed with runners. The course took us out of the golf course and downhill onto some beautiful tree lined country roads for about 9 kms, into the trails for about 5kms, then linking up with the paths of the golf course for the last 7 kms and finishing in front of the clubhouse.

Action selfie in the trails
Since I had read about the course the night before, I tried to pace myself according. I had hoped for a sub 2 hour finish, but knew that it would not happen with the trails. I started with a good steady pace while on the country roads, but wanted to save myself for the trails and the hills that I would be facing. The air was crisp and fresh which is a nice change from racing in big cities. The road was lined will tall trees and the sun was peaking overhead. The roads were free and clear of cars and after the first few kilometres the runners got into their pace, I was running with only a few other people. Once we entered the trails, we had to run in single file and for most that part I was on my own. My pace slowed down quite a bit here as the trials were partially covered with ice.


I was a rookie to trail running, so I had to walk for some parts as the path was covered with ice and then there were some mud puddles to jump over. I decided to enjoy the scenery and try not to think about my time. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to wipe out or throw my back out while trying to get good footing on the trails.  It was great to finally hit the paved cart paths of the golf course, but there were even more hills on the path then on the trails. The ups and downs on the winding paths seemed to be never ending. I looked down at my watch at 20km and I knew I wasn't going to make my sub 2:00, I felt a bit defeated, but stared down the last hill up to the finish line and gave it all I had.

Coming up the hill for the finish
Instead of bagel and bananas, all runners were welcomed into the clubhouse for a buffet style meal. I piled my plate up with goodies and sat down to enjoy my post race meal. It was so nice to be able to sit at a table and eat properly immediately after racing.

This was a challenging course but the scenic views are worth every hill I hit. I would definitely do this race again.  

Results

Category Place - 5/28
Gender Place - 20/76
Overall Place - 87/129

Finish - Gun time - 2:03:40:1
             Chip time - 2:03:31:3

Have a Fantastic Week!

Have you run any trail races?





2 comments:

  1. I like small races like this. Good job Alice!

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  2. I did this race, too, in 2014. Good job on your time! It was my second half marathon ever and I was a bit (okay, a lot!) intimidated by the hills! But I decided 2 days before to give it a go. I loved the course - yes, it was hard, but the challenge made finishing all the more worthwhile. Plus the massage and great buffet were a nice touch. I will definitely do this race again. I ended up doing 4-halfs, 2-10km and 1 5-km this spring and can't wait until the fall to do some more!

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