Sunday, September 11, 2011

Treherne Half Marathon, Race Report

Man I like this race!  There's something about the Treherne Half Marathon that makes the world hum a sprightly tune.  Maybe it's the sweet smell of manure wafting across the course, or the endless blue sky and golden fields, or maybe it's just the absence of pavement that makes it all seem, well, just about perfect.  The town folk are as cheerful as they are plentiful.  Smiles and grins abound and are contagious, no, more like uplifting.  Yes, uplifting is the word... yeah, for sure, uplifting indeed.

I entered the race in a frump but my negativity was replaced with endorphins by the time I reached the house with the little old lady plunking out Chariots of Fire on an aging piano.  One could see the notes as they drifted out the open windows and swirled around the runner's feet before they faded into the dusty road ( ok, ok, that last bit was embellishment, but you get my drift, call it blogger's licence).  

It's a technical course in that the gravel roads change from step to step.  Runners look for the sweet spot, that narrow swath well traveld by trucks and free of gravel.  We glide along on the sweet spot until it fades only to be met with a another a few steps over.  Always searching for the sweet spots.  We avoid the sides because the slope of the roads will cause pain to the hips.  The hills are everywhere, but there's one in particular, let's call it OH (insert expletive here...)  _ _ _ _ HILL!  It's a challenge at about 500 meters in length with a 5 or 6% grade and a rise of about 120 to 150 meters.... no small feat, or is that feet?  After that that there's a series of small but long hills, a couple of dozen for sure.  It's difficult to tell if you're running on flat, or a rise, some slopes are so gradual you're unaware until you start to slow and notice an increased heart rate.  I suppose the word de jour is "rolling".  My hill training this past summer paid in dividends today.  

I bumped into Bob on the course and chatted along the way.  He's the barefoot guy in the pictures below.  He's run a couple of full marys and many halfs ala bare feet.  I think he leans more toward trail running, but I'm not sure.  I ran aside him at mile 8 and suggested he join us in Bismarck.  He replied he'd have to think about it.  He did, and by the time he crossed the line about an hour later he gave me the thumb's up. Bob's pretty organized, he had cold Samuel Adams at his vehicle... next time, memo to self, pack a bottle opener.  We did mange to open them and, my oh my, it tasted good.  We chatted, talked about Boon Burger, Bismarck, the winter run across Lake Winnipeg.. which I really want to try next year.  It was good, nice way to end the race.

I wore my No Meat Athlete tee shirt for the first time (see below).  It caused a bit of a stir. Many people, mostly young, loved it and asked where to get one.  That was encouraging.  One runner told me he admired my spunk wearing a No Meat tee in the middle of cattle country.  I did get a couple of sneers or maybe I'm just sensitive, no matter.  I ask because I don't know... can one call themselves an environmentalist and still eat meat?  I think not, but what do I know.     

I also took the opportunity to pass out about 50 Ted's Run Brochures.. my opening line, There's a new race in Winnipeg and it's flat!   This, after the hills of Treherne, got a smile and opened the door for a little discussion about the cause.  Many people said they were interested, but they all had endorphin heads so who knows how many will register?  I chatted with a high school teacher from Treherne and she said she would like to bring her track team.  That would be great; hope it pans out.  

For the geeks.. time 2:01:51, av pace 9:20, heart rate (two hours after race) 70 bpm, blood pressure 96/67 (yes, I have a blood pressure monitor, what don't you!?), bmi 22.8.

Enough talk.. time for some pictures.  Click 'em to make 'em big.   

It was such a beautiful day to be alive, running through fields, chatting with friends, sipping a cold Samuel Adams, a blessing actually.

It is a beautiful day to be alive, you know that, check Bob's face at the finish line if you need confirmation



Jo said...

awesome run today!! How do you take such nice pictures and kick so much butt at the same time?! Too funny about your barefoot friend...he was the one that came up behind me and another girl on a trail run and said "you're not going to let a barefoot guy beat you, are you?" I tried but alas he beat me in the sprint.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mike for such a great writeup, Treherene is one of my favorite runs and one of the most challenging (especially for my bare feet). Yes I do prefer trails but you just cannot pass up gravel on a country road. Best pedicure I've had all summer (I can't disrespect my esthetician Leyla the best in the business). I have checked with the Bismarck Marathon Race Director and I will have to sign up for the run on Friday when we get there. As the online registration is closed. Looking forward to our road trip and talking some more. By the way, holy pictures Batman. I will call you in a couple of days to get the rest of the details.

Lisa said...

Wonderful race report Mike!!! Due to nagging plantar faciitis (which I'm managing quite well by alternating between barefoot and minimalist shoes) I wasn't up to the 13 mile challenge this year - first time since its inception I've missed Treherne. I tried busy myself yesterday and not think about it, but it was there in the back of my mind...the Chariots of Fire lady...ahhh yes...and the BIG BIG Hill at the top of which I always turn around and look back (like the sign says)...Hopefully I'll be back next year. It's one of my favourite late summer/not quite fall halfs...

Connie said...

Mike, your photos and writing are so beautiful! It makes me almost wish I had gone to Treherne this year instead.
Maybe see you in Niverville? :)

Gail said...

It was nice meeting you at the race, Mike. Loved hearing Chariots of Fire drifting out the window.