Running for a belt buckle … A podium at the Bromont Ultra 12k was a great way to end my 2016 race season !
I love trail running and I love Bromont, the two came together at the end of my triathlon season. I always try to fit one trail running event to close the year. When I signed up my daughter (#1 fan) for the Bromont Ultra 2k run, I also signed up for the longest distance available that day… 12km ! I really wanted to do a longer (way longer) distance, but we had other family stuff planned that weekend so I was going to run the 12k at 14:00 and #1 fan would run her longest distance ever at 16:30.
With the ironman post race recovery, I really did not run much in September. For sure I logged some KM, but it was mostly easy runs chatting with training partners. It took about a month after Ironman Mont-Tremblant to find my running speed again, I had only done one speed workout between August and October. And since the shorter the distance, the faster the speed, I had absolutely no expectation coming into this event. The plan was to spend a nice afternoon in Bromont, have fun in the trails and cheers for my #1 fan !
At the race meeting, just before the start, the organisers said that the first 5 finishers were getting a custom belt buckle by ZCréation ! That was enough motivation to, at least, try to stay with the front pack and endure some pain. At the sound of the gun, I went hard to stay with the leaders. After the first KM, I was in 5th place with 4th and 3rd in sight and 6th breathing down my neck. After the second KM, I had pulled away from the guy behind and was keeping the two in front in sight. At the first downhill section, I put the hammer down and went by the fourth place runner. At the 3.5k mark, we hit the first steep technical climb, I pushed really hard and managed to build a gap with the 5th place runner. I ran the next 3KM alone, not seeing anyone in front nor behind me. In the middle of the second big climb, trouble was coming fast from behind, the 6th place dude had passed the guy in 5th and was coming for me. We exchange position back and forth for the second half of that 2KM long climb. I knew he was stronger on the flat, I was hoping for some downhill to be able to stick with him until the end. That long climb ended up on a little plateau, just long enough for me to get in front. And that’s where I saw it; a hard, long, technical downhill! I hit it as fast as I could and manage to build a 50 sec gap. On top of it, I was now running on the heels of the guy in 3rd place. Luckily for me, the last 4km were mostly downhill. I kept the fastest pace I could, went by 3rd place and hold on with the thought of having not only a belt buckle but also to get rid of my 4th place jinks. I finally crossed the finish line with a 20 sec lead on 4th place, a huge smile on my face and lots of pain in my legs ! But the pain is temporary and the podium picture is there forever !
And what about my #1fan ? Well, while getting her bib I found that, at 4 years old, she was the youngest entered in the 2km. She ran all the way with her mom and finished with a huge smile on her cheetah painted face !