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ENDURrun Stage 6 10k Time Trial

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Today was exciting for me for 2 reasons: 1) Bestest dude was running this morning and 2) IT WAS FLAT!!! After yesterdays stage and prolonged sickness (I found out a few others also struggled with this), I ended up sleeping like the dead last night. I literally woke up in the same position I fell asleep in. Although I am told I was tossing and turning alot. I can tell you I was solidly asleep this morning, and not wanting to get out of bed. Fingers crossed tonight is equally as restful. It seemed like the morning whizzed by and I felt a little disorganized. We headed out to the finish area to catch a shuttle to the start line.

This course is a point to point course, and covers some of the same ground as the 15k time trial. I was a little worried because my start time was a little later in the group and I knew that there were faster runners ahead of me. I decided to just run what I could and not focus too much on my time. The course was pretty much flat. slight inclines and declines here and there but they cancelled each other out. Bestest dude started about 20 min earlier then me, so I knew I wouldn’t see him during the race. I didn’t really see anyone during the race! I could just make out the person ahead of me, waaaay int he distance but ran this mostly on my own. I looked at my first 2km to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast, then ran on feel. Mentally this stage was such a change from the past few. I was counting down each km marker, and there were no war cries. During the last few stages on a couple of the big hills I was letting out a large war cry. More to motivate myself then anything. This course was just about getting it done. The sun came out for the last 5k and began beating down which made it tougher. The last 2km is a straight away towards Conestogo and for some reason km #9 felt soooooo long. As I headed towards the distance I saw Bestest Dude to my right, and my brain was starting to quit. I think he could see that because he started running with me the last 500m. Yelling at me, motivating me to push. I am super glad he did because that last push kept me under 49 mins at 48:41. Then I could not stop sweating! The humidity was unbelievable today. UGH.

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You can see from the post pics how hot and sweaty we are! I haven’t run a 48 min 10k since 2011, so I am really pleased with my result! Although, I was essentially schooled by other ultimate females who started ahead of me! The two girls below me in the standings ran 46mins!!! Thats crazy fast, and I am super stoked for them! I’m starting to think that there may be something to this trail running for me. It seems to have been my best 2 stages. I have always known that I don’t possess speed. I have quads that are built for hard work and hills, they have always been my strength.

As for my Bestest Dude?!? He managed a 47:17. Which is really remarkable for him, and I am super proud. Most people don’t know but he has had to changed his gait 2 times in the past 3 years. This is something incredibly hard to do, and takes months of work. He also runs with a severed ACL (one of the reasons for the gait change). He truly is my rock and I am grateful he was there today!

Soooooo….deep breath……tomorrow is the marathon. I seriously have no idea how these legs are going to carry me for 42.2km. To make it even more difficult, the expected temperature is 30 degrees, full sun, and limited shade course. To say I am worried is understating. I have actually experienced heat stroke once before (I passed out in a race 200m from the finish line). This makes me more susceptible to heat stroke in hot temps. I am strategizing a heat plan, loaded with some coolers filled with ice, and extra hydration bottles for my belt. My parents are planning on being there, as is Bestest dude. He actually told me in the car today that he would run the last little bit with me. He won’t tell me where he’s going to start with me though. My hope is to at the very minimum run for 30k. I anticipate given the heat I will need to walk at some points during the race. I would like to finish with a 6:00/km pace, but I am speculating I may be slower then this. As long as I don’t cross the 4hr 30min mark, I will be pleased.

So big deep breath, Doritos, Nuun, and epsom bath this afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow I will be blogging about my official status as “One Tough Runner”. Catch you all on the other side of 42km.

T

ENDURrun Stage 5 Chicopee Alpine 25.6k run

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I think that my twitter summary said it all for today..That was quite simply put, the hardest course I have ever run. I am just a simple road runner gal. Tree trunks, rocks, bushes, and single track mud and rain filled trails are not something that I am use to. Combine that with it being on a SKI HILL yes a SKI HILL, and I was totally out of my element today. Thats what I have learned this event is all about. Reaching your comfort zone and pushing, no slamming past it. Today was so far past my comfort zone that I can’t even see it in the distance!

Yesterday was a rest day for the Ultimate athletes, but I had a golf tournament so there was no rest for this athlete. Every year the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council hosts the Daniel Tudesco golf tournament. I go each year with a couple of fun ladies from the hospital. Usually we have some golf, drinks, and a tasty meal. Due to the race the next day, I cut myself off at golf. No tasty drinks, and headed home to a meal cooked by my bestest dude. I did not sleep well after Wilmot, and was incredibly tired. I am not sure if it is because I had just run, or eaten but sleep did not come easy. So i wanted to be sure to make it home early because I knew today’s stage would be a doozy.

So I knew it would be a doozy, and this was the stage I was most afraid of. Before today what I thought I would face, was tiny compared to what I actually faced. In my mind I  knew that I had to go up a ski hill 5 times, but for some reason I was still shocked and surprised when I stood at the base of it this morning. This picture really doesn’t do it justice, but its the best I got.

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I was also completely unfamiliar with the rest of the course. I had no idea how many other hills there were, and what the trail sections looked like. Needless to say there was a very very steep learning curve on my first 5k loop. As an added bonus: thunderstorms. It was crazy humid, and every once and a while the skies would open up and christened all the runners. This course is definitely not for the faint of heart. The loop starts with a gradual (and seemingly forever) climb up the backside of the ski hill. I found that the first half of the 5k loop was more challenging then the second half. Although there were some more technical challenges in the second part (stairs, boardwalks). The largest of the hills was about half way through the loop. Each and every runner I saw walked up this hill at some point. That is the hill pictured above. I walked up all 5 times and I think that unless you were one of the elite runners, this is what most did. There were some definite challenges with this course, most specifically the muddy single track trails in the rain. This slowed down my overall time as you needed to proceed very cautiously around many corners. This seemed to get harder as the loops continued due to the repeated trampling of the trails by multiple runners. I had two female runner around me for most of the race, one was an ultimate, but I spent large portions running on my own. I actually felt pretty good till about the 3rd loop. I even managed to climb the first hill without walking the first 2 laps. The 3rd lap is when I started to need to walk the top portion, and by the 5th lap I walked most of this hill. Since I had never really done a course like this before, I would use the runners ahead of me to gauge my performance and speed. I felt that as long as they stayed within a comfortable distance or eyesight then I was doing okay.

Enter the 4th lap. Oh boy, this one was the doozy (oh well I guess 5 was too). Mentally this was my toughest point. I needed to make sure that I kept my mind focused on laps, not overall distance. If I thought about the 10k that still lay ahead it would break me. Right at the end of the 4th lap I had my first wipeout. At the start line. In front of everyone. Sigh. I was looking ahead towards the finish and a pesky rock got in my way. I fortunately bounced back up, and didn’t manage to hurt anything. It was the 5th lap when I wiped out into the bush that was the real doozy. I slammed into the dirt as the mud pulled my feet out from under me. Managed to bounce up again, and make my way towards the ski hill climb one last time. The 5th lap was painful, but once past the 2.5 mark I knew I could make it. I came down the last hill towards the finish and saw that I was at 2:57. Determination set in and I pushed past the finish at 2:58:12. There was no way I was letting it hit the 3 hour mark 🙂

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Overall, I am pretty pleased with my finish. My feet and my body however were not. I finally got my first blister of the week and its a big one. After the race I was nauseated, and ended up not going to work. I also had some major digestive issues. These both didn’t clear till about 4pm, and why I didn’t blog until now. I was unable to eat much and managed to get a small amount of smoothie down. By 5pm,I was ravenous!!!!! I still needed to take the food in slow because my stomach was sensitive. There were points that I really loved this race, and other points where I cursed it as the death run. I loved the single track trail portions, at least until they pooled with water and mud. Once they got slippery it was hard to enjoy them and I was more focused on being careful. I didn’t want to hurt myself for the last 2 stages. I hated the ski hill, but I challenge you to find someone in the  race who didn’t.

I will bid you adieu while I go soak my achy feet and legs in an epsom salt bath. Tomorrow brings the 6th stage which is a 10k time trial. Im excited because bestest dude will be running the event as a guest! Also did I mention that it’s FLAT? I am so excited to run on flat ground tomorrow. Until then I will leave you with my km pace, and a pic of my nasty blister. Yup, I went there. You want the whole experience don’t you?

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T

ENDURrun Stage 4 – 16k Hilly run Wilmot Line

I will tell you a secret. I have been having a love affair during my training for the ENDURrun, and it has been with Wilmot line. I started running Wilmot line because I knew it would be tough and wanted to mentally prepare myself. I never knew I would learn to love it so much. I not only love the challenge of it, but it is beautiful running through the country! Let me give you a sense of the massive hill we run. This pic is catching it on the way down, but we actually run up this hill at the 5k point.

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I was slightly worried about racing this course, but I knew that my body was familiar with it. I actually felt the most confident today out of all the courses so far because of this familiarity. The race was a 6pm start so I went to work for my usual shift today. I am actually really glad I worked today as it kept me busy and distracted. I work on an acute unit in a hospital so it is usually a busy place. I made sure to wear my compression socks under my work clothes, and I was ready to go! In my discussion with a doctor today my race came up. I find that people generally look at you with their head slightly cocked, and a blank expression at first. This is usually followed up with “you’re crazy” and “i wish I had your energy”.

I am fortunate that I live close to this venue, and it only took me 5 minutes to drive there from home. Pounded back a coffee and tucked a vega gel into my bag for the run. I had practiced running this route at 6pm so that I could make sure I knew what my nutrition needs were throughout the day. I had a solid lunch salad with protein, and knew the coffee and gel would be adequate. Weather again was perfect! The sun was a little warmer so this warranted shorts and sports bra only.

We start this run at the bottom of a large hill outside Camp Heidelberg. It strolls down Erbsville road to Conservation, then Conservation to Wilmot line. You spend the rest of your time on the rolling hills of Wilmot. I was again determined to run up each and every hill. This was also the first time that we had police directing traffic as Wilmot is busy this time of day. I knew what I was in store for with horror hill (a very well deserving name) and made sure to watch my pace on this route. Interestingly enough I have looked at my paces for all the events, but I have largely been running on feel. I think this is why my times have been quicker then my practice runs. I always train alone, and the downside is that I never push myself hard enough. I run “comfortable”. Throughout this I have pushed myself to run at my best. With this run I also knew that a rest day was on the other side. I firmly believe this made a difference in how much I pushed! I also had one of the other ultimate girls in front of me and was determined not to let her out of my sight! My legs felt pretty good again, although my poor quads are starting to fatigue. I felt stronger running up horror hill, and on this course then all my training runs. It definitely showed! I managed to run the course in 1:22.53 @ a pace of 5:09/km. That is remarkable for me!!! The fastest I have run it in practice was at 5:22/km and my goal was to run 5:20. It was helpful to have runners in front of me, this pushed me at point where I thought my legs were going to give out. There is one HUGE hill right at the finish leading to Camp Heidelburg and the finish line, just before this I managed to pass the girl in front of me and desperately hung on to the finish. I was TIRED, and so were my legs!! Best part? Despite racing it, my ❤ still belongs to Wilmot line! Here’s my pace chart & the elevation:

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Again I managed to run a bit quicker in the second half but you can see that my times really fluctuated on this course! You can also see clearly where horror hill is based on my 5:48 km. This race had the best post-race grub of all simply because there was sweet corn!!! It was so good and warm and salty! Overall I was really happy with my result again. I am however, looking forward to a rest day and that is what today is! I am in a golf tournament all day which is probably not the best idea, but I go every year. It is for a great cause, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, so I am glad to go. I am going to take it easy, skip the golf dinner, eat at home, have a bath and early bed. It appears that I could not sleep for the life of me last night after the run! I hope to get some zzzz’s tonight.

Thats it for me on the recap! I’m off to do some golfing. I will leave one last pic of my finishing time. Ypu can see the beautiful trees in the background! Next up 25.6k up a ski hill at Chicopee *gulp*.

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T

ENDURrun Stage 2 – 15km Time Trial

Today was an exciting day for me! I have never been or taken part in a time trial so I was eager to experience it. For those that have never experienced a time trial, usually the racers are staggered at intervals starting from the slowest (from previous day’s race) ending with the fastest. This means that you can track other folks down, and will get passed at some point by some faster runners. Today’s 15k time trial was an out and back course. I was questioning would I push to catch up? Would I get a mental blow when passed by others? The course is very very flat so you can see the runners ahead of you for long stretches, and there is a turn-around at 7.5k so you can see the runners catching up to you. I was also curious how my legs would feel after yesterday’s half marathon.
I spent most of yesterday resting my legs after the half. I did all the necessary chores, and then settled in to watch golf. My afternoon snack consisted of some zesty cheese Doritos, and a large glass of nuun. I also felt it wouldn’t hurt to throw a fresh pair of procompression socks on. Dinner included some chicken shish kabobs, and freshly shelled peas (which I did while lazily watching golf). I totally took advantage of this down time as I have to work for most of the week and will not have this luxury.

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I woke up this morning and took a tentative step out of bed, my legs felt surprisingly good. No weird aches or pains, muscles feeling fairly recovered…this might actually be ok. Relaxed with my coffee, surfed the net, and headed out to Conestogo. Today was brought to you by the colour orange and of course I had my nails painted to match (its good luck you know). I said hello to a couple of the runners I met yesterday, and wandered over to the start line. The weather was absolutely perfect, high teens and clouded over. The humidity made it feel mid 20’s but it truly was ideal. As usually the race was impeccably organized by the RunWaterloo team, as the runners seamlessly began to head out. I love the runner community in Waterloo! Each runner would approach the start line, and each time they were sent off everyone clapped and cheered for them. It really is a great way to start a race and gets you pumped! My timeslot was 8:28am, and as I approached the start I actually felt relaxed (who knew). A quick countdown and off I went!
One of the things I have begun to learn while training for this event is that I love running in Waterloo Region. I generally tended to stay in the small box that is my neighbourhood, or would venture out at the cottage. While training I began to run in the surrounding areas and fell in love with routes such as Wilmot line. It was the same with this course. Mind you, it helped that it was flat so what is there not to love? I loved running in the country seeing the farms and crops. I think my happiest place was when we hit the gravel road. I was waving to Mennonites, and just taking in the scenery. Conestogo is one of my favourite little villages, and I always tell my husband if I could move anywhere it would be to that community.
Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I was lollygagging on the course. I managed to run a mean pace. Well, for me anyways. I learned the time trial can be good and bad. Being ADHD I have trouble at times seeing “past the moment”. This means that I was determined in this moment to catch folks, and push myself. I don’t know at this point if I will pay for this come tomorrow at Bechtel, but it was a fun ride. It has been a while since I pushed myself to run at a 5:00/km speed but I managed to do this today clocking in at 1:15:21, 5:01/km. I negative split the course, and completed under 5:00/km for the last 5k. For the first 10km I wanted to stay at minimum 5:15/km and did this. I know that generally I am a negative split runner (I always start too slowly), and can usually push the last 5k of a race. My goal was at least to stay at 5:00/km for the last 5k, and I managed to exceed this. It’s incredibly hard to not increase your speed when you see that large finish line in the distance.

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I was very happy with my time today. I don’t have really anything to compare it to since I have never done the event before, but against my practice runs I seem to be doing pretty good. I managed to gorge myself on some delicious eats (the apricot bars were ridiculously delicious!), and then had to head back home. Unfortunately I need to put in some work hours this week so needed to be in by noon. Don’t worry I have recovery taken care of. Some procompression on under the pants, and some nuun in the purse! Tonight I may have an Epsom salt bath just to relax the quads. As for tomorrow? I have told myself that I would like to keep a 6:00/km pace on the course. I plan to take it nice and easy, and then get my massage at Dearborn Health in the afternoon. I took tomorrow off from work because I know it will be a doozy!

Happy Trails (excuse the pun)! And see ya all tomorrow 🙂

T

p.s shoutout to my girl Amy for attempting to come out to the run today! You were there in spirit ❤