Monday, February 27, 2017

Gord's Frozen Ass 50

Photo Leo Fung
Gord's Frozen Ass 50 on Family Day was more of a test to see where I am with my fitness and where I need to focus to get where I want to be come July's World 24 hour championships in Belfast. The race started in typical hot ass style of the runners from the back of the start line yelling at the front to "Get going!" This had me in stitches for the first few kilometres while jumping, dodging and carefully focusing on the uncontrolled ice underneath our feet. This course runs from the Bow River Canoe Club on the corner of Deerfoot Trail and 17th ave SE along the unmaintained pathways of the Chestermere canal to Chestermere Lake and back again. This is a very flat but slow course due to the thaw freeze ice cycle.

The front pack consisted of friends Chris Hooper, Myron Tetreault, Mike Hamilton, and myself. We fell into a comfortable 4:10 min/km pace. Around 8 kms into the foggy day we looked up to see none other than a big honking train blocking us from continuing on the path. We laughed and took this opportunity to eat something and wait the 4.5 minutes until the train passed and granted access to the remaining 42 kms ahead of us. We continued our run falling into a steady groove ticking the kilometres off one by one. I told the guys I wanted to pick things up on the back half to get a solid workout in. I mentioned I wanted to sit under a 4 min km pace. Both Myron and Chris said they'd both assess how they are feeling at the lake and get back to me. At the lake I saw friends Tony Gordon and Leo Fung serving a delicious buffet. I grabbed a bit of an almond croissant and turned around to face the final stretch home. Within the first 3 kilometers I was hitting 3:40 kms but felt comfortable so decided to let it fly.

Photo Leo Fung
The best part about the Frozen Ass is seeing all the smiling faces. Everyone I passed along the out and back on the return to Calgary had great smiles and shouted encouragement. The Calgary running community has got to be the best around. There were plenty of dodgy sections where I saw my pace drop considerably but I was very happy to see that these old ultra legs could still hold a good pace 30 km into a race. In the last five kilometers of the race things got really sketchy as the sun emerged from the clouds and made the once sticky ice now perfect conditions for a triple sow cow. With only a kilometer to go I must have let my guard down and BAM! I landed square on my side. I layed there for a minute or two. Did a system check, realized all is good, got up and finished the damn thing. In true hot ass racing form,

the finish line consisted of one volunteer in a lawn chair. I asked him if this is the finish line and he replied "Yep".

Thanks to Gord, his family, and all the volunteers for putting on such a great low key race. Rumours were swirling that this was the 30th showing of this event but knowing Gord and his laid back attitude he wouldn't take any congrats but instead put the praise out to the Alberta ultra community for coming out strong 30 years in a row.
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