Fast Run… Slow Ski!

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Well, the Winterlude Duathlon (ne Triathlon) has come and gone, and I guess I might as well tell you all a little about my race. As the title suggests I had a great run, but my skiing (as predicted) was somewhat slower. I’ll say this however, I’m plenty pleased with how it ended for me, I did better than I expected. Also, off the top, I’d like to say thanks to Jody for yet again being my number one supporter / paparazzi for this event. Have a look at all the pretty pictures she took. It’s nice to have someone there for you, and take photographic evidence (good and bad – stupid balding spot!!). As mentioned previously, they had to make significant changes to the course, as a result of recent warm temperatures. In the end, we ran 8km, all along the Queen Elizabeth Parkway (which was nice), then skied 5km windng through the arboretum. The run was flat and fast, with only water, no ice to contend with. When the smoke cleared from my shoes, I had ran the 8k in just over 35 min. Great! At that pace, I’d theoretically finish the marathon in 3hr. 8min. 30sec. Hmmm, that would qualify me for the Boston Marathon! Yeah, right, I won’t hold my breath. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t keep that up for another 34km! Regardless, it was my fastest 8k ever.

From there, I did a quick transition, grabbing a moutful of Gatorade and headed out with my skis. The course was quite slushy, and it seemed as though people might have a slower ski than they hoped. In the end, it took me 31 minutes to ski the 5km. Without knowing what to expect, I was satisfied. Of course, to get that time, I pretty much ended up double-poling the entire course. That’s when you just use your arms to propel you to glide in classic skis. Most other people were skate skiing, which is considerably faster. John Storey Bishoff was in the race too. Although he finished the run a few minutes behind, he was able to pass me on the ski course without any trouble. Oh well, I wasn’t trying to win anyway. My final time was just over 1:06, and put me in 94th (out of >200) overall, and 35th (out of 50) in my age category, which I’ll point out included ALL the elite type guys. If you’re interested, check out all the results. See the first place guy? He did the ski in 16:45!!!! Crazy eh?

Overall, I sort of walked away with the impression that the race wasn’t all that great value for my money. With parking, I ended up spending like $64 for a 1 hour race. Had it been the entire original Triathlon, I probably wouldn’t feel that way. All we got was a basic shoe bag, no shirt, water bottle or anything like that. The post-race food was pretty low brow as well, with the promise of chips and salsa and hot chocolate and such vanishing. There were plain bagels, bananas, and soup (don’t get me started on the soup, it was terrible). There didn’t really seem to be any prizing other than the top finisher awards either. This is nothing against Rick Hellard of Zone 3 Sports or anything, it’s just that I’ve had far better race experiences for less money in other events. By far, the best has got to be the Mad Trapper Snowshoe races, hosted by Mike Caldwell. I’ll be doing the second race this weekend, which will cost me $30, and includes a huge spread of chili, chips, fruits, cookies, drinks, etc. Not to mention huge prizing (last time I won free race entry worth $140 to a SAC race!). Of course the difference is that Mike hosts these on his property, whereas I’m sure Rick had to pay heavily for security, insurance, hall usage, road closures, etc. So it’s not a fair comparison, just my observation. And the best part? I followed up the race with a nice 2k swim at 5pm, and a 19km run on Sunday. Whew! Training is fun. BTW, a shout out to Grant, Kev and Dave, who managed to get their run out in time to coincide with the race. I passed them on the race course, and then they popped into the finish area to chat with Jody and I after the race. It was great to have you guys there supporting me too!

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