Although this has taken awhile to complete this race report I think it is an important one as this particular evening helped remind myself of how fun “racing” can be. Of course with the evening “run” not truly a race this was a night for many of the locals to get out on the trails and spend some quality time burning tracks.
Being new to Winnipeg I had no expectations on what to expect. I had previously heard of Fat Ass events but had never participated or seen one. These events are what I would call grass roots events. No cost but this run was extremely well organized.
The start of the Fatt Ass Full Frosty Beaver Moon Half was at the Forks in downtown Winnipeg. With the weather being extremely moderate for the time of the year I was pretty sure there would be a large crowd. Well that turned out to be an understatement, over 170 people showed up and awaited to begin the night on the trails in and around Winnipeg. Once the start was near we all headed over to the Provencher Bridge to wait for the start.
With headlamps ready and all lined up we took off. With many starting off at a fairly solid pace considering it was only for fun I immediately decided I should just take it easy. Well that lasted to the stairs, at which point I decided to take off and jump in front of people as we headed for the trails around the Seinne River. The trails were smooth and quick and at this point about eight of us formed a group trailing the lead group of what I believed to have been 4-5.
As someone who had spent my last several years on the rocky and hilly east coast this type of running was much different. Yes I had previously ran some hard and fast ten k’s but the majority of my runs and races were all about thrashing your legs with lots of elevation gains and losses. My old home trail included a three k loop that included 450ft +/- which I used to run repeats on. Now here I was on a flat fast trail.
With the lack of training this summer with the move along with the runs I had compiled which were all based on elevation, I had little preparation for what lied ahead. As the run continued we spent some time on roads, paved trail and dirt. With this running the elevation through the first 10k may have been 200ft gain/loss which had all of us pushing a good pace. Of course none of us were “racing” we were all just running. Feeling good I continued to stay with this same group up until the 12k mark.
At this point we started to run along some road and paved sections. With my legs still feeling solid, if not fresh, I made a fatal flaw that would come back to haunt me. Over the last couple of kilometers on the road I had felt that we were taking it a little easy and wanted to up the ante a little bit and see how quick of a half I could get. So at this point myself and another fella I had been chatting with began to make a real solid push. Not having a watch I had no idea what pace we were at but I would be guessing in the 4 minute k range. Nothing crazy but when you haven’t been running, that is the definition of stupid. As the two of us started to separate from the group my co-worker had set up a water station which we stopped at. At this point neither of us knew where the course was so we decided to wait for the other group.
As we returned to the roads, my lack of running and prior push caught up to me. Sure this was a flat course but there was still some climbing and night trail running. While on the roads I managed to stay with the group but could start to feel the fatigue in the legs. Being me though, I kept on pushing. Then the return of the trails…oh no. This was the beginning of the demise but at the same time well earned. As we began to traverse the single track little ten foot hills started to feel huge. Yes there was only five or so k to go but at this point my legs were thrashed.
Prior to the final 5k it looked like I was going to be shooting for a 1:40 trail half (of note I have ran several ultras on trail but never a flattish race) which for the first time I have ever ran that official distance I was pretty satisified. As I headed into the home stretch reality hit, that time was not likely happening, now I was in survival mode. Time to start the ultra speed hike alternating with running. With that time to enjoy the river and the trails. I had a few laughs, chatted to the couple of runners who passed, then finally felt refreshed and joined another runner Fred and headed to the finish in 1:55.
Overall I can say that this was a fantastic initiation to the Manitoba and Winnipeg running scene. The people I met on the trails were great, the single track was winding and fast, and overall I just plain and simple had fun.