Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Skechers Downhill Classic 5k - Race Recap

I'm on a roll with these race recaps!

Up next, at the very end of July, was the Skechers Downhill Classic 5k, in Hamilton.

I had a great race at the Guelph Downtown Classical 5k at the beginning of July, and I really wanted to squeeze in another one.  I scoped out all of the options, and this race in Hamilton was going to be my only bet.

Of course, it had a 10am start time.  Not exactly ideal in the heat of July.  But, the fact that it was called the "downhill classic" implied that there might be some speed involved, so maybe it would trump any heat.  Maybe.

It was difficult to find information about this race online (such as course maps, etc) so I emailed the race director, who told me in his one-lined response, "see you at the pub at 8am on Saturday!"  Ok.  I guess I would just be showing up at the pub to get my race kit, and take the shuttle to the starting line, with no idea what the course was all about.  I'm sure lots of people are fine with this, but I kind of like to know what I am getting into beforehand, if possible.

Hamilton is just under an hour from my house.  I woke up nice and early on Saturday morning, and was out the door by 7am, to be there for 8am (as per the email).  When I arrived downtown Hamilton, I realized I was a bit early (who knew? No traffic on country roads early on a Saturday).  I decided to make a pit-stop at the world's scariest Tim Horton's that was close by.

By 8:05, I was parked and at the Pub.  I was given a race shirt, timing chip, and bib. (Incidentally, my race number was #72, which was the same number as the triathlon the week before!)  The t-shirts were really nice.  It was an actual t-shirt, not a technical shirt, which is nice for a change.

I boarded the shuttle, and off we went to the race start.  This bus ride was lonnnnng.  I lost track of all the turns, and roads we took.  We went up, up, up, UP the mountain.  I started to feel severe panic in my tummy.  Was the "downhill" actually down a mountain?  This could spell trouble.

At the top of the mountain, on some road I would probably never be able to find again, the bus pulled over, and we all got out.  I still had plenty of time for my warm up, so I wasn't worried (yet).

A guy on a bike The race director came up, and told us to "take this set of stairs down to the trail at the bottom.  Follow the trail about a kilometre and a half until you see the starting line."  Well, ok then.

Have I mentioned that I am afraid of heights?
Heading down!

dowwwwwwn we went

The trail was perfectly shaded once we got down to the bottom.  It was perfect for a warm up run!  I was glad I had brought a water bottle with me, but sad that there would not be any port-potties before the start (read: nervous pee).

Before the start, another bus load or two arrived, so there was a nice crowd for the race start.  I did 60-seconds race pace in the last few minutes as we waited, then I lined up.

The "start line" was hard to miss 
The race was chip-timed at the finish only.  The race director (same guy on the bike) stood in front of us, told us we had 30 seconds, then got on his bike, turned around, and yelled, "GO!!"

Off we went.  The entire race was on this paved trail.  We didn't have to make ANY turns, we just followed the trail until we reached the finish mats/line/clock.  The first mile felt like a decline, but the rest of the race was such a slight downgrade, that it was hardly noticeable (but my splits felt a bit easier, I will give it that)!

I kept my eyes on the same couple of people in front of me.  I did pass one guy, but he ended up passing me right at the end.

Finish time: 19:15
First in my AG, 5th Female

Ya, it was probably worth the scary Tim Hortons, Panic about the mountain, and lack of course maps/info!

The bonus was that we had a nice cool down mile and a half in the trail back to the pub!

The pub served a lunch, and beer.

I made friends with an awesome couple named Bill and Christie, so we ate, drank some beer and chatted.  Runners are so great.  You can make friends even when you're stinky and sweaty!

*I actually saw Christie running in a race this weekend!  She was going in the opposite direction of the 30k race we were in.  I wish I had yelled her name, but then she would have been confused, probably.

I have a big 5k race coming up in September, so this race made me feel much better about the whole situation.  "Much better" is still freaked out, but a little less-so.

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