Monday, June 23, 2014

Bucking Hell Race Report and Lessons from KK Training Part 2

Saturday. Start of 15k and 21.1k Bucking Hell 2014 - Photo by Adam Gilbert Ciuk


Bucking Hell Race Report

When: Saturday June 21, 2014, 9am start

Where: Start/Finish Panorama Park, Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Distance/Elevation: 21.1km, 1300m/4300ft and 15km, 900m/2900ft
Featuring: Favourite trails such as Seymour Grind, Dales, Old Buck, Forever After, Three Chop
See Results

A gorgeous clear day greeted us in Panorama Park. After signing-in, Ellie Greenwood and I did a quick warm-up and decided it was hot enough to ditch our shirts. Ellie opted to carry gels but to forgo water, going minimal. Hmm, hot day, knowing that I constantly take-in nutrition and always thirsty, I went with the hydration vest to be safe. Also, wearing the pack I train with for long runs was intended to remind me that this would be a training day. My goal was to run at 80% effort and to practice quick-feet in the numerous super-gratifying technical sections.
I got excited to see all familiar faces, if not racing helping out as volunteers such as Mike Murphy, Andy Healy, Sam Drove to name a few.  Lining-up at the start, Kim Magnus, Tom Craik and I commented on the strong field with the likes of Graeme Wilson, Oliver Utting, and Keri Mckenzie. And surprised to see quite a few VFAC’rs toe the line considering the Scotiabank Vancouver Half was happening the next day.

In the pre-race announcements, RD Gary warned us not to go out too fast and to heed the ‘slow down’ signage indicating sketchy descents.

By then I was so amped, all I heard was “go nuts”.

Saturday. Speedy Ellie ... catching-up on lost time due to going off course
- Photo by Solana Klassen

Not wanting to lose contact with the race, I latched-on to Spring McClurg on the first climb. I was feeling the toll of the last two weeks’ high volume, struggling to find my pace. Then we hit the first descent and madness broke loose, pony tails and arms flying. Spring and I were having so much fun as we picked people off.

We ran most of the race stride for stride, until I slowly pulled ahead toward Aid Station #2 at the 15k mark. This spot was a double-back section and we could see who was leading. I counted Kim, Ellie, and then realised that Spring and I had a chance to a 3rd place spot.

Saturday. Spring's flying pony. Photo by Solana Klassen

Saturday. Racing with this much fun? Photo by Solana Klassen

At the Aid Station, I knocked into Matt Thompson (RMT extraordinaire), who’s freshly returned to the North Shore from Ontario. He said that he was dehydrated. I said “good you are here - you can pull me to the finish”. And so we bolted together down the mountain, running scared of Spring’s alpine legs in the chase. It was a close race! I crossed the line into Gary, then face first in the grass, done.

Hell was only beginning though. The next day was the definition of training on tired legs.

Saturday. Matt Thompson getting his BC legs back. Photo by Adam Gilbert Ciuk

Saturday. Loving the atmosphere, stoked!
- Photos by Solana, Matt's dad, and Spring's husband Leigh.

Lessons from KK Training Part 2

This Knee Knacker training run was approx. 33k and 2,000 metres of climbing from Horseshoe Bay to Lynn Canyon on the Baden Powell. I started off with friends Jeff Pelletier, Julien Henley, Karl Woll and Tom Craik. We stuck together until Cleveland Dam then we each went into our separate zones. Tom and I agreed we were “in a dark place” and were using each other’s sarcastic commentary as energy to move forward. This run was a job.

Lesson Highlights
In our 5hour slog across the North Shore mountains, Tom and I reviewed key arguments on how to be successful in this race. Regardless of finish time objectives, whether to PB or to complete the course within the cut-off time – go in it with a plan, even a rough sketch, something, at least be mentally prepared.
We settled on this mantra: “run with the course” and “run within yourself”.

The best summary I can share is borrowed from an article in iRunfar about racing the Western States 100mile “running with the course, not against it, was the secret. Pushing only when there was trail for the taking, but otherwise going with the flow.”

Sunday. Jeff and Tom on Black Mountain, Julien and myself, Cleveland Dam.
- Photo by Karl Woll

Presence, Patience, Flow
This week is the beginning of the taper phase, with Saturday being my last significant run. I am optimistic that I will have a good Knee Knacker and look forward to everything about the day.

Next up: Adventure Run in Tibet interview with Graham Perkins, and also Knee Knacker race preview with interviews of my top pick from the female favourites.

More pics on Instagram

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