Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Albion Grind HM

Believe it or not, I don't usually sign up for races because of the swag, but when I saw that 5peaks race 3 swag was mint green socks, I signed up for the Enduro (12K) but switched to the Grind HM the next day because I didn't want to drive for longer than the run.

Then I discovered that the Grind participants don't get the socks but a tank - which thankfully is also mint green.  

The only time I've run in Albion Hills Conservation Area was during the horrifying experience that was Mud Hero.  I do remember the running parts as quite pleasant, and not ski hills like other OCRs, but I always remember that places usually live up to their name.

I picked up my race kit and sat down to wait for the start.  I didn't see any of the usual trail running people, except for Robin, and Heather G, whom I chatted with for a bit.  There weren't too many people, which was a relief because I saw that the shorter Saturday races had 700 runners, and in all the pictures I saw, runners were clustered close together, which made me super anxious.  Eric, the RD, was very clear in his prerace briefing that the course was 3 loops of 6.9K, slightly short of a standard half marathon, but the car was a short walk from the start so I thought I'd keep my Garmin on after the race to get 21.1K in. He also mentioned that the hard cutoff was 1:30 pm (3 hours)..this was a late starter for anyone who doesn't like getting up at stupid o'clock! And please remember that the flags are on the left.

The race started with a hill (it seems like a lot of races start this way, except for Sulphur), but nothing like that monster at Thom B, then launched into flowing MTB singletrack.  I actually passed a few people in the first couple of kilometres, which never happens!  Then suddenly I realized I hadn't seen a flag and a runner going in the opposite direction.  It was at a junction and the photographer just happened to be there as well, so she told me to follow that runner, he asked me what distance I had (3K) and he was within a couple hundred metres, so thankfully my diversion off course didn't add or cut the course much at all, however all the people I passed ended up in front of me again.  Sigh.

discombobled from realizing I went off course.
I finished the first loop in 1:03, so I thought I was screwed for making the cutoff. I got really fatigued during the 2nd and 3rd loops, because B had been sick and puking every half hour the night before and I had gotten pretty much zero sleep.  I finished the 2nd loop with just under 45 min to spare, thinking I'd get the mileage in, even if I missed the cutoff, but Eric kept the clock going, so I ended up with an official time.

I was going to make up for the other picture, when this guy chose the exact moment to pass me.
My expression pretty much says it all.
My Garmin showed 20.75K exactly at the finish, but then I had a nice chat with Robin and didn't bother getting 21.1K.  I would like to do this race again next year, and maybe do the 6 hour for more swag.

Afterwards, I finally got to have a beer at the adorable Church Pub in Palgrave.  I've been meaning to go there since last winter, but they only open in the afternoons during the summer.

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