Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Amazing and Awful

We haven't told you yet about how our little trail adventure at the North Face Endurance Challenge went.  In short it was amazing, and awful, and painful, and incredible.  They were not kidding around when they said it was "the most pronounced elevation gain trail race in Ontario."

We started out on Saturday volunteering for the Marathon (relay), 50K, and 50 Mile races.  We arrived early for our assigned shift, collected t-shirts, and lunch and were escorted to 'our' aid station at the 40.7km mark for the ultra distances, which was also near the start and finish of the marathon.  Things were a bit slow getting started, but we were soon busy filling bottles and hydration packs, dumping water on the heads of tired and overheating runners (my specialty), and offering a variety of snacks.  We offered seats in the shade and encouragement to to runners who were ready to quit.  We watched a young man stumble into the aid station glassy eyed and disoriented (my nurse and mom alarms were blaring).  We sat him down in the shade, gave him a steady stream of water and electrolyte drink, and some snacks.  I counted his respirations when he laid of the ground to "rest" before heading out to finish.  He headed out, and I wondered how he would fare.  A short time later he cruised by on his way to the finish line.  We were inspired, and I informed Leigh that I would be running the 50 miler next year.  He looked alarmed.
We camped at a nearby campground Saturday night, where we were able to set up the tent without the poles being used as swords by two little boys who will remain unnamed.  Around midnight it started to rain, and it rained and rained and rained and was still raining when we got up at 6.  It was then that we knew we were in for it.  You see a trail race with profound elevation gain and loss is one thing.  A trail race with profound elevation gain and loss on mud, and wet rocks and roots is another thing. 
We got to the start in plenty of time where we were warned about the slippery conditions before heading off on our adventure.  Being primarily a road racer I had a few moments of frustration at the beginning of the race.  We were stuck in a pack on a trail that was mostly a single track (meaning only one person can fit width wise on the trail), It was slow going with very few opportunities to pass and get into a comfortable pace.  Feeling a bit claustrophobic, I snuck by people when there was space, but given the very limited time available for passing, Leigh was sometimes not able to follow and we ended up getting separated.  After some big climbs, a big down hill, and some more rain we came upon the first aid station.  Leigh and I reconnected, hydrated, and headed out. 
The course continued to be very challenging.  Trail running sure has the ability to make you humble.  We slowed our 'normal' half marathon pace drastically, we walked (yes WALKED?!?) on the uphills, ran where we could, climbed over slippery wet rocks, and through streams, and up and down stairs (I am not kidding).  The course was very well marked, keeping even me from getting lost. Our only complaint was the vast distance between the second and third aid stations.  We didn't carry our own water so it was sort of our own fault (rookie mistake?).  We had decided to rely on the aid stations alone, without enough aid stations we were mighty thirsty and not feeling very good. Once we arrived at the third aid station and chugged as much water and electrolyte drink as we could stomach we knew we could make the short descent to the finish.  
Proof that I walked...And I'm happy about it and everything :)
It took three hours which is around one hour and fifteen minutes slower then my half marathon PR from 2 years ago.  We learned that the slow pace did not make this challenge any easier.  Immediately we felt very beat up.  We sat in the post-race area with very little motivation to get up...That is until Leigh got a massive cramp in his leg that ripped him out of his chair in pain and sent me scurrying to find electrolytes...Any electrolytes.  Eventually we moseyed off to our car and headed to Thornbury beach.  The unseasonably cool weather we have been  having made the water the perfect temperature for a post race ice bath.  We waded in up to our hips and suffered through it for 10 minutes.  

Then came the real recovery.  I had to work a 12 hour night shift that night.  Part way through my shift I started to hurt.  From my hips down, everything was sore. I figured it was just fatigue, not enough rest post race, and that it would clear up once I got some sleep. It was just a half marathon after all, and a slow one at that.  I was wrong, and also dumb.  Leigh and I both felt that we were more sore then we were both post-marathon, and post-50K.  Walking down stairs, sitting down, and standing up, and crouching down to help the boys was pure torture.  I mean, it was that good sort of muscle pain where  you know you worked your body really hard, but it still hurt like no muscle soreness I have ever experienced and continued on until the next Friday. Because I am in the middle of a training cycle I continued on as scheduled.  I must have been quite a sight to behold trying to run down hills with my quads feeling the way they did.  It took some time, but everything went back to normal.  No injuries, no lingering pain, so I call it a resounding success.  

Maybe not the 50 miler next year though...We'll just stick with the 50K :)

***And just a note****

On my last post about our amazing raffle prizes for Saturday's Pancake Breakfast I neglected to include an AMAZING prize that came to us from Crossbones Crossfit!
You have the opportunity to win 10 Personal Training Sessions WORTH $400!!!  This can be used for their Crossfit ramp up.

Monday, 21 July 2014

A Word From Our Sponsors

Less then two weeks until our pancake breakfast!  At this point we  have not sold as many tickets as we were hoping for.  If you have not yet reserved your spot please, PLEASE, consider coming out and joining us.

Not only will you be supporting an amazing cause, you will also get an awesome breakfast served to you by Cooper's Troopers, and the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes!

We have had some incredibly generous people donate prizes for the raffle that will take place at the breakfast.  

McDonald's Restaurants of St. John and Quispamsis have donated a $50 gift card ANNNNND a complete set of current Ty Beanie Babies

Ronnie McDee getting his run on.

Cineplex Odeon has donated movie passes.

My talented cake decorating mom has donated a cake for your next special event.

An artist at Acme Animal has donated a piece.

David from Etsy Store PurpleCabooseArt is donating a personalized print of the winner's choosing.
And last but not least the amazing and talented Emily from Emily Maureen Photography donated a photography package valued at $200!!  We are big fans of her work...

We are so incredibly grateful to all those who have stepped up and been kind and generous enough to contribute towards our raffle prizes.  If you are super talented, or have gift cards laying around that you aren't using, or own a business, or your boss likes you, or you want your boss to see what a kind and generous soul you are so that he/she will like you, and would like to donate a prize for our raffle please contact us.  

And help us out!  Buy your pancake breakfast tickets now!!!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Back to the Scene of the Crime

Every time I hear Blue Mountain mentioned I say to Leigh, "Hey remember the time we ran there?!"  It is probably getting old, but I am pretty sure that I will do that for the rest of our lives.  This weekend we are heading back to Blue Mountain for the first time since we ran there.  Never fear, this time we are taking the van.  As you would expect we will be running when we get there, because every weekend without the boys must involve a race.

We will be running the 1/2 marathon at The Ontario North Face Endurance Challenge.  About six weeks ago I started seeing ads for this race series on Facebook.  It was all up in my head, I just couldn't stop thinking about it.  And then fate stepped in and sent me an email from WagJag.  Fifty percent off race entry, and we just couldn't resist.  At that point we sort of wanted to ramp up our training again so we could run the full marathon, but I have started marathon training for Hamilton and realized that being jealous of all the full marathoners is better then needing to take recovery time just as I am starting a heavy training cycle.  The half fits itself perfectly into my training plan though.

From the Blue Mountain website:

Can you endure? Featuring the most pronounced elevation gain trail race in Ontario, this challenge cruises along the Niagara Escarpment on the western shores of Georgian Bay and through the ski trails of the Blue Mountains. 

So it looks like we are in for a beautiful but uphill challenging race.  Gonna wear my Bluenose shirt for the occasion!

We are also excited to be race volunteers for the first time.  We will be volunteering at an on course aid station for the marathon, 50K, and 50 miler.  We are always so grateful for race volunteers when we are running.  The weekend race schedule gives us the perfect opportunity to volunteer ourselves.  We are going to try our best to follow all the rules...Except the costume one..
Maybe we can just provide a spread like this.  Then no one would care if we were following the rules or not...