Race Review: Gorilla Run 2017

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Well this is a little different for me as this was my first road race, so the review will be adjusted from my usual reviews. Not going to lie it feels a little weird not talking about my favorite obstacles or the ones I struggled with.

 

Location:  Calgary Zoo, Calgary, Alberta

 

Weather: Pretty cool especially with an 8AM start time, temperature range was 6°C at the start and only went up to 8°C by the end

 

Festival Area: There really wasn’t one with only a physical therapy tent at the start/finish area

 

Course Conditions: The conditions were pretty good, nice and dry. It was on paved paths since this was a road race.

 

Course Layout: Before running the race I was really dreading what the layout would be thinking it would be just running the same loop or one really long boring circuit but the race was actually 4 different 4K loops. Loop 1 was the best one and a really cool way to start the race as this lap actually took us into the zoo before it open and was busy. Running through a zoo before open in a large group before the racer really start to spread apart is a really funny experience. The alpacas look beyond confused as to what was happening. Further down the tiger was pacing his cage looking like he was waiting to pick off the “weakest of the herd” running by, while the snow leopard was already in a pounce position thinking the same. As we went through the Canadian Wilds most the animals just slept through it, while the bison couldn’t care less about what was happening. The caribou and mountain goats however went on alert and circled up to protect themselves before we ran out of the zoo to finish up that lap. Lap 2 was pretty basic running north along on the city’s pathway system along a pretty flat stretch taking us behind Telus Spark for stretch before turning around a little further up and heading back along the same stretch back to the start/finish area. Lap 3 went south on the same path but this time we had a more terrain changes as we had relatively small inclines (at least for OCR runners) going over a pedestrian overpass to cross Deerfoot Trail than running along some undulating terrain on the other side before turning around and doing the same thing on the way back. This was my best lap as the terrain changes allowed me to pass some of the pure road runners who I could hear complaining about the hills, definitely a plus for us who train hills for OCR. Lap 4 started off along the same path as Lap 3 but instead of taking the bridge over we continued on the west side of Deerfoot and along some pathways there. These were in a little bit of rough shape as they had been damaged from the Calgary flood a few years ago and not fully repaired yet. So, this section had dirt patches and generally uneven terrain again took me into my running “happy place” before heading back to the finish the final time.

IMG_1631

 

Favorite Aspect: Was running through the zoo on lap 1, if I were to do this race a team event I would be putting my hand up to be the one to run this lap for sure as it was the most scenic and interesting of the four loops.

 

Race Synopsis: I’ve gone back and forth about how I felt about this race. During the race I felt really, really good. I was able to find my pace almost right away and stick to it. I had told myself that I would allow myself to walk if needed only after lap 2, but lap 3 felt so good and the changing terrain played into my wheel house so well I never felt the need too. I kept my “self-talk” really positive and strong in lap 4 as well so I didn’t need to walk at all during the race which for me was a massive win. I finished the race really strong as was very happy with my performance. Now when we got the results I was down, I was in the lower 25% of solo racers, I wasn’t ahead of many other, was over a half hour behind the leader so I wasn’t thrilled for a day or so after getting results. But then I looked at the team results and seeing that I was able to beat teams who were taking turns doing only a lap at a time. I also then looked at what my goals had been I turned it around and realized how well I had done. I surpassed my highest goal of 1 hour and 45 minutes by finishing in 1:38 so I was able to maintain almost 30 seconds per K faster than I had hoped. I also had to remind myself that during the run I noticed how much I was running with the “skinny-minis” who do nothing but run, and other than 1 or 2 other racers I could probably out “strength obstacle” them quite easily for lack of a better term. So, in the end I’ve come back around and am very happy with my result, and by far more importantly I was able to raise over $100 for Gorilla Conservation so really that should be what I’m most proud of.

 

Scorecard

Access A+
Course Layout A+
Incorporation of Site A+
Course Marking A+
Location A+
   
Overall A+

 

Lessons Learnt:

  • That I’m not a true runner but I’m going to keep working it as I continue to enjoy it more and more.
  • There will always be negatives if you look for them, but there are always more positives so just open your eyes to them.
  • When doing a charity run focus on the donations and less on the results you’ll be much happier

Gorilla Run 2017 Medal with gorillas

Scotty Voodoo
I am a proud father & husband. A former semi-pro skier, turned rugby 7’s player, I’ve now worked to become a OCR racer.
A level 2 NCCP certified coach, I also hold coaching certifications in 3 sports.

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