08 January 2009

Race Report - Xterra 11 Km

Here's another re run from the old blog. It's a race report on an Xterra trail run I entered in March 2007, around the beautiful and aptly named Blue Lake, near Rotorua.

Sorry for the delay in posting a report about the Xterra Trail run. It's been a bit of a hectic week. Monday week ago after my last post the family headed down to Hastings to visit family but particularly to visit my grandmother who had been unwell and in hospital for a week or so. She had been unwell for the last few years and was in and out of hospital on several occasions in recent months. She passed away peacefully last Friday. In the end her quality of life was not what she would have wanted and in some ways it is a blessing that she is no longer suffering.
I am glad that we were able to get down there and visit her and that she got to see the boys.
We got the news of her passing while we were on the road to Rotorua which is where I was to run in the Xterra and I decided that I would continue on and complete this race before heading back to Hastings for the Funeral which was held on Tuesday.
Race day dawned fine and clear but COLD. It was an 8.00 am start with the run set to take us twice around the picturesque Blue Lake near Rotorua but with the sun yet to reach above the surrounding bush covered hills it certainly made for a brisk morning (still nothing compared to what you North American readers have experienced over your winter though). I had my support crew with me being Michelle and the two boys.
I started out slowly with the pace largely being dictated by the large bunch for the first 500 meters or so. The first mile and a half took us halfway around the lake via the road and was slightly uphill. The bunch gradually spread out and I just settled into a steady but not too fast pace. At the south end of the lake we went off road and ventured into the bush trails which took us back to the start. Ground conditions were soft but not too slippery though with many small rocks and roots to watch out for. I'm glad I purchased some Trail shoes especially for the race though as my road shoes would have had me sliding all over the place.
I completed the first lap in about 33 minutes feeling in pretty good condition but for my left foot which I could sense was starting to go a bit numb as it often does at after 30 minutes or so. I was worried that I might have to stop and stretch. My calfs and shins were holding up well though.
Almost the entire second lap took us around the trail encircling the lake. The first part of the trail was narrow and offered little or no room to pass. After managing to make my way past several runners I found myself behind a female runner who was maintaining a steady pace that I was comfortable with so I just hung in behind her. This trail was also strewn with rocks and roots and near the southern end of the lake I landed awkwardly on a tree root spaining my ankle. For a few seconds I was unsure how serious this was and it slowed me, but fortunately I was able to work through that and before long I was back up to full pace. Man did I have a sore ankle by then end of the day though!!.
Once we had turned for home the trail widened significantly for the next mile before narrowing again however I was able to keep the pace up and neither the numbing foot, which had not worsened much, nor the ankle slowed me any. I'm sure that during the second lap I was not passed by a single runner though I managed to pass perhaps 15-20 runners.
I came out on to the beach at the finish and after briefly taking the wrong line (keen to do another lap) and also briefly stopping to say 'hi' to the family, I crossed the line in 1:02:57.
The official results confirmed that I was placed 23rd in the open men's in a field of 72 or 29th man overall (including masters) in a field of 115. Given this was my first Trail run I'm pretty pleased with that result. The time seems a little slow on the face of it but I guess that can be expected in this type of terrain plus I would have been a minute or so crossing the start line.
Click here to see some more photos from the event including of the Xterra Triathlon.
Update - Sorry the above links don't seem to be working anymore. Overall I loved this experience and it's part of the reason why I love to run. What better way to get out any explore some new ground while doing something that you love to do. I look forward to the day when I get another chance to run in this type of race. I understand there is a series of Xterra trail runs now so that's definitely a goal.


Chad Sayban January 9, 2009 at 5:36 AM  

Thanks for the race rewind. Getting off the roads and onto the trails is always so much fun. I'm sure you will get back to it soon.

Aaron January 9, 2009 at 5:47 AM  

Really liked this race report. Sounds like you have to think a lot more about where to put your feet compared to being on the road.

Donald January 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Nice report. I like your new blog layout, also - I added the new site to my bloglist.

Have a great 2009!

Ewen January 10, 2009 at 4:52 PM  

You were doing well back then Bruce. I think the variety offered, and soft surfaces of trail running, is one of the things that's kept me relatively injury free over many years.

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