So - what was originally planned as a two-week mid-season break morphed into a two-month mid-season hiatus. A combination of mental fatigue from such an early start to the season, physical injury due to a lingering calf strain, and a crazy-busy social calendar led to my quietest summer of training and racing since 2007 (when a broken hand led to the original summer of George). Since Syracuse, I've run a total of 100KM - which is less than a third of my usual monthly mileage. The good news is the calf is almost back to 100% and motivation to train hard is coming back - looking forward to approaching the post-Labour Day period as a 'back to school' session for training.
On the weekend I 'raced' my last event of 2012, a 6KM trail run/obstacle course at the Albion Hills conservation area north of Toronto. We had signed up for this race back in March, as it was the day after my little brother's birthday and we assembled a motley crew to head out and have some fun in the sun.
The race itself was harder than I thought it would be - there was lots of talk about the Tough Mudder race that was held in the area the weekend before, which apparently was 12 miles long and involved being electrocuted while racing (no thanks). This one I thought would be a cakewalk at only 6K and a guarantee of no live electrical current on the course. It ended up being quite hilly, with some decent sections of technical trail to run through - very fun as my last trail race was likely the 1995 OFSAA cross-country championships in London, Ontario.
Team Imrie went off in the 1PM wave, which was wave eight (the race started at 9:30AM, with waves every 30 minutes). Having 2000+ people head out before us made the muddy sections of trail that much worse, and the course lived up to its name as there was no way to avoid getting completely coated in the stuff. In the end I won our wave pretty easily, and came sixth overall in the 'official' results. I knew I was out of shape, but was surprised to see I was beat by 6 MINUTES (1 minute per K) by the overall champ.
Things I learned about this - likely my one and only 'mud run':
1. If you're racing for a fast time, go in the first wave.
2. Wear clothes and shoes you're prepared to throw out as soon as the race is over.
3. A cotton t-shirt with a photo of your brother duct-taped to the front isn't the lightest piece of attire once soaking wet.
4. Endurance Conspiracy trucker hats are stylish AND magnificently trap the heat and humidity.
5. Pace yourself! What feels like a comfortable tempo pace takes its toll when you're climbing over walls and rolling over hay bales.
Kudos to the organisers for putting on a great race - this was their first event in Ontario and second overall after the inaugural event in Calgary earlier this summer. Very fun, very logistically easy, and good value for the price.
Now if only my body didn't hurt so much after such a short effort...