29 September 2017

Race report - 2017 MEC Barrie Race Series Four (15k)

Some races just don't turn out the way that you expect them to ... in a surprisingly positive direction.

This past Saturday I ran in the fourth of five events comprising the 2017 MEC Barrie Race Series, and with three distance options (5/10/15km) I opted to go for the longest one as part of my final preparations for pacing this year's edition of The County Marathon this coming weekend.  I had no real designs on 'racing' the 15km but instead wanted to incorporate one of my regular Saturday "P-Train" (as in 'pain train') workouts into it and otherwise just have a pleasant outing with a number of my RunNinja compatriots.

So the scheduled P-Train workout called for the following:  warm-up + 4x(500m @ 10km race pace w/ 90 sec. recoveries) + cool down.  Now inasmuch as a warm-up is always a good idea, on this given day it might not have been necessary ... at 6:00 a.m. it was already 20°C (with the humidex making it feel like 25°C) and by race time at 9:00 a.m. it would probably feel closer to 30°C at the Orillia waterfront.

I arrived with my usual 60 min. to spare before gun time and had plenty of margin to pick up my bib, chat it up with some of the MEC staff, hit the porta-potty and go out for a light shuffle on the course route.  I also connected with RunNinjas Juan, David, Becca, Christina, Shane, Holly, Laurie and Sarah (all running the 15km), plus Rick and Katya (tackling the 5km).  I was particularly interested in seeing how Katya would fare as she was aiming for a sub-24 min. finish but was (in her pre-children days) a member of Team Russia at the 1996 World Junior Championships in Athletics. There they finished 6th in the women's 4x400m relay, and she would post a PB of 53.08s (!!!).

It was also interesting to hear Juan say that in scanning the crowd he couldn't spy anyone that he would pick as the outright winner of our race, noting that ordinarily he might recognize some of the really fast runners.  I told him to go take a look in the mirror ... but also acknowledged that perhaps the heat was a deterrent to some runners who might otherwise participate, knowing that the conditions weren't conducive to really fast results.

The Race
A number of us were sporting RunNinja-branded tech tees and/or singlets so we thought that it would make for a great starting photo to all line up at the front.  Sure enough ...

Photo courtesy of MEC Barrie Flickr photostream

So right out of the gate I started my first 500m interval and while a couple of folks hung with me for the first 150m or so pretty soon I was out in front on my own.  Even though I shifted right down back to a trot during the 90s recovery segments I had built enough of a lead through the bursts that after the first 2.5km I was out in front by a good 15 seconds or so, being chased down by Juan, Shane and David.  With the temps they way they were I tried to just keep a nice aerobic pace going for the next 11km, enjoying the opportunity to cheer on the 5km racers as they came back toward me (our race started with an extra 'spur' that the other distances didn't have to cover) on the Tudhope Park trail and eventually the 10km runners that I either intersected with or caught and passed.

It's worth noting that while it was pretty crazy hot while running it was probably no better for the volunteers who were at the aid stations and offering spray-misting or wet sponges along the way - my hat's off to them for standing unsheltered in the sweltering heat to make sure that we were staying somewhat refreshed.

By the time that I re-entered Tudhope Park (it was an out-and-back) there was still a decent gap between me and the chase pack but in my head I was playing 'don't-let-them-catch-me' games, so I did pour on a little extra juice in the final 1500m.  I also wanted to make it look like I was working hard for the finishing-area cameras, not like a jerk who was smugly floating his way to break the tape.

Photo courtesy of MEC Barrie Flickr photostream

In the finishing straight I came up behind a gal who was wrapping up her 10k and looked to be just jogging it in, but decided that I wanted to come alongside and really cheer her on to a strong finish.  She heard me as I urged her to pick it up and swing her arms for a great final kick, and she yanked her earbuds out and really started to move it which was so cool to see.  As I've heard said numerous times, "we think that we're running as fast as we can until someone says that a bear is chasing you" - we all have an extra gear.

I didn't even note my time when I crossed through the start/finish arch ... I just took a moment to high five the stranger who had powered herself across the timing mat ahead of me and turned around to go root on my friends who'd yet to complete their races.  In backtracking I found that Juan and David (and many others after them) had taken the wrong fork on the trail just as we re-entered the park area and wound up coming at the final section from the wrong direction (shades of Gary Robbins!) and tacking on maybe an extra 500m to their distance, which would account for why they weren't as hot on my heels as they probably should have been.  I also ran Becca in (she was on the correct home stretch) but after that was asked by race director Lynda to take some pylons out to where the split was unclear to try to help avoid any other misdirections.

Dave taking on cheerleading duties - one of the nicest guys ever!

After all was said and done it was a solid day's effort in gorgeous full-on sunshine (I'm sure that I went home a few tan shades darker) and an amazing showing by all of the RunNinjas.  We managed to claim all of the podium spots in the 15km division, and Katya took home 3rd place female in the 5km division with a killer 22:38!

Photo courtesy of Holly 'Flyby' Trudeau

Here's a video rundown I filmed after finally getting back to my car:

It wasn't a bad day's work after all ... and I'll take a podium finish anytime I can get it!

Looking forward to hopefully getting a few runners across the finish line in Picton with a Boston Qualifying time this Sunday!

#GOlikeneverbefore #haveafastday #getyourmilesin #werunthistown

15 September 2017

Road review - Skechers GOMeb Razor

I can't say enough good things about these shoes!

The Skechers GOMeb Speed Razor is a new model to the Skechers Performance lineup and for some they occupy a weird in-between space ... they have properties that belong to a racing shoe while also blurring the lines as an everyday workout trainer.

At just around 7.9oz for my men's size 10, they're definitely on the lightweight side.  Even though I tend to like my racing shoes to be closer to the 7 oz. mark these feel much lighter than what the scales would indicate - and in the end, just that sense of being light on your feet might actually make a difference in terms of how you might carry yourself.

The heel-to-toe offset (or drop) is 4mm, and that's pretty much perfect for me when it comes to wanting to lay down some speed.  The stack height (23mm-to-19mm) means that it does sit up a bit, but the new 5GEN midsole material is light and poppy so I didn't feel at all like I lost any responsiveness while busting out intervals or 5km tempo runs.

The seamless knit upper is airy and breathable, and fits over a nice moderately sized footframe - all that to say that for a guy who likes some wiggle room for his toes that I don't feel squeezed in this shoe, nor do I feel sloppy in them either.  Like Goldilocks finally sitting in baby bear's chair, it feels just right.

All told this shoe has a permanent spot in my weekly rotation, and I'm always excited for those days that I get to don them out the door.  If there was any reason that I'd even for a moment hesitate when asked about this shoe it's the pricepoint - at $165 CDN (MSRP) it's on the more expensive side, especially if you're used to thinking of Skechers Performance as being the 'super-affordable' brand of serious running footwear.  Still, that's far from top-end when you peruse the shelves at running retailers and I think that you can probably find some good deals on them now as we head into the winter/2018 supplier season.

Here's my video lowdown on the GOMeb Razor:

Seriously, I give these shoes an easy five-out-of-five footprints:

More great things still to come from Skechers Performance Division!  #haveafastday #getyourmilesin

*** DisclosureI was provided with the GOMeb Speed Elite by Skechers Performance Division (Canada) but was not obligated to provide a positive review.  All opinions are my own.