race report:Hartwell Half- Aurora Ont April 9, 2006

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  • #5085

    Hartwell Challenge Aurora Ont April 9, 2006


    Now in it’s 5th year, this small local race (350 runners in the half) is named after Aurora town council member and veteran marathoner, Bob Hartwell, who died in 2001.The race includes the half-marathon, half-m relay, 5k and a half-m walk.

    The Course:

    The race course was changed last year from a large square loop on the main roads out of town to a more complex route running inside town with more hills and corners. Driving the course the day before, I counted at least 17 hills of assorted sizes (non longer than say 400m). This course rolls up and down until you climb to the highest point in town at 16k. You are then rewarded with a winding 2k downhill to the bottom. The last 3k is mostly flat except for 2 short sharp uphills positioned to dash anyone’s hopes of a pain-free finish. The weather was good: Sunny, warming up to a few degrees above freezing at 9am start time with a light west wind.

    Race plan:

    I wanted to break 1:30 since my last two outings here were at 1:36 and 1:33, however it was uncertain if I was up to it. Coming off a 30k race 2 weeks before, I felt fine up until the DST time change last weekend. Monday and Tuesday were writeoff days due to lack of sleep and energy, and a 9k run on Wednesday over some hills felt like crap, like I had not recovered at all. I opted to stop training until after this race.

    To break 1:30 I planned on putting 2 X 10k together at less than 42:30 per 10k. This would leave a minimum 5 minute cushion to include the last 1k and the short breaks at the aid stations (I walk when taking fluids). The unknown factor was how much the hills would slow down the pace. I would try to check my time at 10k, the halfway point, and at 20k.

    The Race:

    The start was pretty abrupt, since the PA system was a block south at the finish line all I heard was the horn go off. In the first few minutes, I did a check on the legs: no obvious pain or stiffness and no “winded” feeling after a quick start – a good sign. After 2k, I felt warm enough to get rid of the gloves. A series of 3 hills up to the 8k point gave me more confidence – had kept pace and the recovery was pretty quick. Checked the watch at 8k: 32 minutes, well within plan. Got passed by 1st and then 2nd women’s (they were just training through at marathon pace). Hit the 10k mark at 41 minutes and change, the halfway point at over 43 minutes.

    The next 5 k included 8 hills, reaching the high point at 16k. Got passed at 13k by Chris (guy I know who also was training through, arrgh) but kept him in sight and it helped my focus on the uphills. The 2k downhill was unlike any running I’ve done for a while. With the wind behind, morning sun on the face, I began to get totally relaxed, letting the hill take me down, running faster but with minimum effort. I took off my cap and tilted my face up to the sun, felt almost like taking a nap! Some kind of zen thing but it ended pretty quick.

    The last 3k was back on the flat and back to business with 2 hills left, trying to keep Chris and 2nd woman in sight, trying to keep pace with lactic acid in the legs. Last hill gone, 20k mark – 1:24 on the watch. Saved! Barring a total meltdown I should be able to bring it in. Passed a guy at 500m out, thought he might wake up but the last hill must have got him. No heroics, cruise to the finish. Gun time: 1:28:23, Chip time 1:28:20, Av pace 4:12 pk.


    Well organized race, scenic, challenging route. Pleased with the time, – last time under 1:30 was 1983. I now have to get back to training, work on speed, and line up some 5k’s for May/June.


  • #20364

    That’s very impressive! That kicks my goal of returning to my arly ’90’s race times in the pants! Tell me, how did you do that? I loved the part about “Zening out” on the downhill. I’ll have to try that. Nice report and super race!

  • #20365


    Good job making the goal look “easy”. These results should bode well for your upcoming goals.

  • #20366

    Moth –I can point out the following items:

    – I am not training for a spring marathon, so the race was a goal race. No worries about messing up my training for a later marathon.

    – Trained consistently, managed to avoid getting flu or injury.

    – During the 3 months prior to the 30k race and the half, I gradually increased the Sunday long run from 10 miles up to 20. I did 3 runs the rest of the week of about 10k each. All would include hill climbing and some long downhill stretches. About %60 to %80 of duration on these runs done at threshold pace.

    – I ran the half the previous year so it was a familiar route. I still drove the course and tried to memorize the hills and corners the day before.

    – A little luck and good weather



  • #20367

    It has been a long time coming, then — well done and keep it up!

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