Sunday, 18 October 2015

Vulture Bait 25K race report

I'm trying to remember what prompted me to want to run Vulture Bait, thinking back, I'm pretty sure it was Jeff's video race report.

Just as Virginia had predicted, there were deferrals and I got off the wait list.  I stayed overnight in London and it was a very easy 20 minute drive to Fanshawe Conservation Area.

To prepare for the ultra distance fun run in November, it was suggested to me that I run 10K extra to get over 20 miles and since the race started at 9, it made much more sense to get it in beforehand.  I had packed my bags in a disorganized manner and forgot a few things, such as underwear and my headlamp.  7 am it was still pitch black and I thought I would have to run road, but when I checked in to get my race kit, Jennifer-Anne, the race director, gave me a brand new headlamp, they were actually selling them, but she let me have it for free.  She suggested that I go a particular direction (which ended up being the last 5K of the course) and off I went.  Of course I wished I could just run the course by myself instead of waiting for the race start!

The course looped around Fanshawe Lake.

Most of the trail was flat and easy.

Glorious sunrise!
Got back with just enough time to throw the headlamp in my car, pin on the bib and take a gel.  The trail was down an extremely steep grassy embankment from the pavilion that was race central and I had this horrible thought that the race would start with a climb back up the embankment.  

I seeded myself in the middle of the pack and we were off.  There were a few very mild grassy hills and I walked them, not knowing what was coming up later.  The race spread out enough that even on the singletrack sections, I had sufficient breathing room most of the time.  At one point, I felt like taking a little walk break, and thinking I was alone, did so and immediately about 6 people passed me! %$&$@!!! If I'd known there were so many people hot on my tail I would have kept going!  There were several long (~1K) road sections that were mostly downhill and I picked off the people who had passed me fairly easily.  

There were only very small hills on this course, it was pretty much 100% runnable.  I mentioned how flat the course was to the lady behind me and she said I was crazy, but seriously, compared to Sulphur, VB is absolutely pancake flat.  There was one small water crossing with about 6K to go, people were picking across the rocks but I said fuck it and ran through the ankle deep cold water, which felt good on my feet.

I first saw these signs heading out on my solo 10K, but I was getting tired of stopping and turning around to read them, and I was in a hurry heading back so I didn't really see them either.  I did pass the 2 "rednecks" setting up their aid station.  They were dressed Duck Dynasty style with plastic duck decoys, banjo music (as threatened in the sign) and mini beer kegs.  I normally would not booze during a race, but I was thirsty, I had run 30K already, what the hell!

There was a very nice buffet of meatballs, mac & cheese, salad and cake back at the pavilion, along with free massages (that I didn't have to wait an hour for!) 

Did you know that I have a lifelong fear of glowing red space heaters?  Now you do.
I LOVED the course, it's very convenient for me, and I'm thankful that London didn't get the 15 cm of snow the weather people were forecasting all Friday night.  I didn't sign up for 50K this year, thinking it would be a close shave to make the 7 hour cutoff, but seeing the course now makes me think that sub 7 will be achievable.  I'm putting this on my list for next year!

Got a little souvenir for my car.

Official gun time: 3:21:06 (Garmin time was 3:15:43.  Dunno what happened there, it didn't take me 6 minutes to hit start after they yelled GO!)
Field placement: 136/181 (YAY a midpack finish!)
Gender placement: 61/97
AG placement: 52/76 (I was in the 1-49 AG)