Thursday, April 28, 2011

Next 5k

The next 5k is next Wednesday (May 4). Usual drill - Start is at 7pm sharp under the arches at the Y in Eau Claire. Plenty of room for more people so spread the word.  Please drop me an email ( to let me know if you are going to be running.  We may need to run the short course again as they are currently doing work at the back of the River Cafe so instead of going behind it, we will just go in front of it. That means the course is likely to be 150m short. If anyone wants to be lead cyclist/cattle prodder or Executive Photographer, let me know.

Hope to see you all at the MitoCanada Race on Sunday!
There's also training tonight at Edworthy at 7pm...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Calgary Police ½ Marathon (April 17, 2011)

by Blaine Penny

This was one ½ marathon to remember – snow, snow and more snow!

All I could think about off the start was Duncan’s comment a few weeks back about a fellow runner in the ‘Icebreaker’ referring to his running shoes as bowling shoes (because he was slipping and sliding so much). I think we could all relate today!

The Bow Valley Harriers had a good contingent out today, with at least 3 BVH vests being worn by Mark Fewster, Nick Haddow (welcome back from California!) and myself. My goal for the race was to try and stick with the lead runners for as long as I could and give it a good effort to hold them. I didn’t even wear a watch, so I had no idea of pace or time.

Frank took to the front right away, with Jeff Krar, Jody Draude and myself tucking in behind letting Frank set the pace. Within the first couple kilometers Jeff slipped and went down hard on a corner, which reminded us how slippery it actually was. Fortunately he didn’t hurt himself and jumped back up and in the group. In retrospect, the road conditions were not too bad because we could run on the packed down snow with some form of predictable footing (albeit slippery).

Once we left the roads and hit the pathways (approx. 4 km), the conditions became much more varied. There were sections that were plowed, some with fresh snow on pavement / ice, and other sections with deeper old snow and ice covered with the fresh snow. The toughest section for me (footing wise) was the back end of the reservoir where the snow was more than 6 or 8” deep and really soft and mushy. It felt like running in deep sand and was pretty much survival running.

The pace was pretty steady and things started to spread out a bit as we hit the section by the Rockyview Hospital (5 km). As we made our way through Heritage Park, I took a hard fall (on my hip), but fortunately it didn’t hurt too much and I was able to jump back up and keep going. I stuck with Frank and he led most of the first 7 km. I honestly didn’t know who was with us as I didn’t look back until just a few kilometers to go.

Shortly after the 7 km mark as we were heading around the reservoir, I saw a guy on xc skis, and I thought to myself how civilized that actually looked. It was at about that point I realized that Frank was so steady and strong, and made the running look effortless. As for me, my breathing became pretty heavy and I started to feel it, so I decided to just run my own race from that point and limit my losses.

I kept Frank in my sights until we came out of the Weaselhead, but he definitely started putting time into me when we got back on the flats. I was pretty jazzed to be running in second and felt out of my league considering the company I was running with. I had to dig deep to hold it for the last 8 km, and managed to hang in there to finish it off without being caught by Jody who was pretty close behind in 3rd.

Good work to all the racers who gave their all despite sub-optimal conditions, and especially to the volunteers who had to stand around in the cold to look after us.

Here’s the full results:

Montreal Half marathon

By Duncan Marsden

I came to Montreal with a dual purpose. To race a national championship in Canada and to go sub 70 in the half for the first time. 1 out of 2 isn't bad.

Getting off the plane yesterday we were met by a torrential downpour. Coming from London I enjoy running in the rain. "As long as it doesn't get windy" I thought...

Somehow on the bus I managed to bash my calf. An innocuous little knock which got really painful. I knew it wouldn't affect me during the race but it hurt like hell.

The morning of the race was, in a word, windy. Gale force sounds dramatic but the metal barriers for spectators were even being blown over. I decided to forget about times and just race. I'd put myself in the biggest group near the front and hide as much as I could. Luckily, the biggest group was about 10 deep and was running exactly the pace I wanted. I needed an average of 5:20 per mile and although the splits were hugely varied depending on our direction, we were holding an average of 5.19. Perfect.

Part of the race is actually run on the grand prix circuit and it was great to be running at pace with a group of 10 guys on such a good surface.

I managed to hide from the wind in the first half. I was 33.21 at 10k and feeling great.  Bang on pace. At 11k we had a long 4k straight (on the grand prix course!) straight into the gale. No one wanted to lead and we almost walked half a k. Then we agreed everyone would take 15 seconds leading and we did that crocodile thing for 4k. At 10 miles I was still on pace for about 70.30 (although my calf was really sore) and although the group had dwindled to 4, I thought the wind was going to be behind us so thought I could still get sub 70. With 2k to go the group split and then we headed back into the wind. I had my virtual partner on my Garmin on 70 pace and I was 58 seconds back from "him". I dropped another 45 seconds battling into the wind those last 2k and finished 14th overall in 71.44. It was crazy. Dustbins flying. Barriers blowing over. Even my legs were getting blown into each other.

That said, it was great to just race for once. In a championship that's how it should be. The time can wait for another day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Revised BVH 5k (Race 1) Results

1. Duncan Marsden 16.03
2. Frank Woolstencroft 16.04
3. Blaine Penny 16.14
4. Scott Jensen 16.21
5. Jody Draude 16.28
6. Aaron Swanson 16.37
7. Ben Pryce 16.43
8. Travis Cummings 16.43
9. Chris Hooper 17.04
10. Bob Banks 17.20
11. Mark Fewster 17.38
12. Lisa Harvey 17.44
13. Kevin Lindland  17.50
14.  Anna Pryce 18.22
15. David Omahen 19.19.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BVH 5k Series - Race 1

Forget Salazar v. Beardsley.  We had Marsden v. Woolstencroft.

Under Starters' Orders
Last night saw the first of the BVH 5K races of the year.  Given the temperature and the fact that it is quite early in the year, we had a very good turn out.  We also had a number of firsts; our first female ever to run the 5K and our first Juniors ever to run the junior (4K) course.  More about that later.

The First Lap
The race set off at 7 PM sharp from under the Olympic arches in Eau Claire.  Our official starter, Julia Penny, nailed the order of Ready Steady Go and gave us the loudest GO ever.  The course always remains the same - 100 m out to the park, three loops and back to finish under the Olympic arches.  Yesterday, however, there were minor digging operations behind the river cafe and so the course was about 150 m short.

The race was pretty tight for the first lap or so but the main theme of of the race became clear pretty quickly; Marsden would push the lead and Woolstencroft would tail him like a cat ready to pounce.  These heavyweights (ahem) were never more than a metre apart the entire race (including in the "sprint" finish) but Marsden just got the better of Woolstencroft, this time. 
Swanson, Penny, Draude

By far the standout (and outstanding) performance of the night with that of third place Blaine Penny, looking resplendent in his new lightweight racing shoes.  Although the course was about 30 seconds quicker than normal, Blaine took a good 90 seconds off his previous best.  Rumours that the shoes have tested positive for anabolic steroids, have been denied.

Ben Pryce

In the female event, Lisa Harvey was in a league of her own.  Literally.  In the junior race (which runs three slightly shorter laps for a total of about 4k), Ben Pryce showed some serious speed (see the picture if you don't believe me) to finish 7th overall in 16.43.  His sister, Anna, ran a very creditable 18.22.  Carl Pryce finished with Anna and Carl was looking a little bit more out of breath than he should have...

Full results are set out below.  Remember, the times do not count for record purposes but the placings do count for the purposes of the summer series:

1.  Duncan Marsden  16.03
2.  Frank Woolstencroft  16.04
3.  Blaine Penny  16.14
Electronic Timing
4.  Scott Jensen  16.21
5.  Jody Draude  16.28
6.  Aaron Swanson  16.37
7.  Ben Pryce  16.43 (New Junior male course record)
8.  Travis Cummings  16.43
9.  Chris Hooper 17.04
10.  Bob Banks  17.20
11.  Mark Fewster  17.38
12.  Lisa Harvey 17.44
13.  Anna Pryce  18.22
14.  David Omahen  19.19.

These same races will take place on the first Wednesday of every month, throughout the summer.  Always starting and finishing at the Eau Claire Olympic arches.
Anna Pryce

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Icebreaker 2011 Report

by Duncan Marsden

I was not planning on running this year's Icebreaker but managed to sneak an entry, late on Friday, and so I decided that it would be good a good opportunity to see how fit I was at this time of year.  I guess the clue is in the title, but I did not bank on the 20 cm of snow which fell in Calgary throughout Saturday, leaving Sunday's race course somewhat of a skating rink.  When I warmed up with Jeremy Deere, there were a number of discussions about what shoes we should wear and we decided that there was no correct shoe (the course being either sheer ice or dry road) and that no one would win simply based on their choice of shoes.  As we watched the eventual winner (who was wearing spikes!) pulling away from us with ease on a particularly icy stretch in the first mile, we had to concede that we might have been wrong! 

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable race with plenty of BVH interest upfront.  Jeremy was in second throughout most of the race but ended up finishing in third place, closely followed by Frank Woolstencroft in 4th, with me in fifth.  The picture above shows the only time I was in front of Frank in the whole race!  Scott Jensen (also ruing his choice of shoes) was a little bit further back but showing promising form after returning from injury.

All in all, it was a crisp, sunny day to be out running fast round some quiet neighbourhoods and was a very enjoyable race.  The times reflect the conditions and that is all I am going to say about that!  I missed the brunch but by all accounts it is unmissable!

Don't forget the 5K tonight.  Starting at 7 PM under the Olympic arches outside the YMCA in Eau Claire.  It will be a slightly shorter course (by about 150 m) due to some digging that is taking place behind the River Cafe in the park.  There may also be a few small pockets of ice so be careful on your feet.  See you all there!