Run quietly

Run quietly

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wild Bruce Chase Part 2- Iroquoia 25km

With it now being 2 months out from the Wild Bruce Chase, it resembles something similar to childbirth in my memory.
 
Did that really happen?
 
 No, it did not hurt as much as I remember it did, right?
 
Sure I could do that again!  
 
Ever since I completed my last leg of the relay, I have been somewhat obsessed with the trails. Going back and seeing more crosses my mind almost daily. The fact that I seem to be somewhat addicted to various sources of self inflicted pain (think tattoos, racing, running longgggg), does not make this obsession less.
 
We arrived back at the Beaver Valley base camp around 4:30am. As soon as I got out of the van, the plethora of stars took me by surprise. That is something you do not get to see if you don't get far enough away from the city often. Simply beautiful. I grabbed a quick shower and was lucky enough to nab a top bunk in a room. Unfamiliar surroundings, post adrenaline rush, and nerves about the morning did not allow sleep to come easily. I text my husband around 6:30am and must have finally fallen asleep shortly after that. 8am. The lights flick on, and it is time to get up and start getting ready to go. Yes 1.5 hours of sleep. Oh man. I tried to not think about how lack of sleep makes me an ineffective blob, and got my stuff together to head to base camp #3 in Hamilton.

Beaver Valley Base camp. I wish I had more time there!
 
I was not as stressed about my second leg, as I knew I would have daylight, and portions of it would probably have other hikers around. Chantal was going to meet me about 14km in. Erin and her husband Rob positioned themselves at some of the spots where the trail headed onto the road briefly and then back onto the trail. These areas are easy to miss and I was very grateful to see them there!

These maps didn't even make it out of my bag once I was on the trail!

Doesn't look so daunting, right!? 
 
First let's list a few of the things I am not good at/inexperienced at.
1.I am absolutely useless if I have not gotten enough sleep. There are few things in this world I will forgo sleep for, as I know very few things will be worth the repercussions!
2.I am terrible at running in the heat. it seems no matter how much water/electrolytes I take in, my muscles fail and I cannot avoid dehydration.
3.I mentioned in my last post, I am an amateur trail runner at best. Rolling hills on country roads are a walk in the park in comparison to the never ending mega hills I encountered on this 25km.
 
This leg began around 3pm. It was close to 34 degrees outside. I had ran 17km only 12 hours earlier, then slept for 1.5 hours. And I am so happy I did not know what was coming with this route! Beginning it, I had no idea how many climbs and descents I was in  for. Let's throw everything I am not good at together and see how a 25km run goes.

Elevation from Garmin Connect. #ouch
 
When Chantal met me, I think I was still doing ok. Somewhere between 14km and 20km my body checked out. I was walking up the hills. I have never had to do that before! Even as a new runner, I was super hard on myself and would not have"allowed" myself to do that. Well how humbling when your body just will not let you! Each incline I was cursing myself for racing a half marathon only 6 days before, climbing Grouse Mountain the very next day, and for being so na├»ve about how tough this was really going to be. I combated so many negative thoughts; so when Chantal suggested she take over the last 5km for me, it would have been an easy out to say yes.
 
Truthfully, even though I was dehydrated, tired and probably kind of delirious at that point, I knew enough to realise that I would never forgive myself for backing out of the last 5km, and that the only option was to finish this 25k!
 
Just a quick note about how bad ass Chantal is. Only a few weeks after the Wild Bruce Chase, she tackled the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler (80ish km). Around the 70km mark she fell. She did not know until she was seen by a Dr. later that day, but she broke her wrist. This woman got up, kept going, and still finished 3rd. Did I mention I could barely walk for nearly 3 days after the relay!? I did not even attempt to run for a week! She is inspiring and amazing.

Chantel and I on one of the rare road portions.
Photo Credit: Erin Dasher

Sherman Falls in Ancastor! SO beautiful.
Photo credit: Rob Scheifley
 
When we finished under the hydro towers, some team mates were there cheering, and the hand off went smoothly. I could not believe I did it. Up until that date I thought the Toronto Marathon was the hardest thing I could accomplish. Possibly even the birth of my daughter sans epidural. I found the Bruce Trail to be MUCH harder! Not joking. I have viewed road running differently since. I even sold my Scotiabank Marathon bib to a friend, as my heart just isn't in it. Running through buildings in Toronto just isn't very exciting to me right now. My workouts have suggested that I could run a faster marathon than I did in May, and I still have no desire! When your intuition speaks to you, you absolutely have to listen.
 
I am so grateful for the experience as a whole. It has changed my outlook on my goals, running, and what I expect of myself. Humbling, refreshing and brutally hard all at once.


A few of the ladies finishing up the final leg! A continuous, end to end of the 901km Bruce Trail. And an all new FKT (fastest known time) of 4 days, 1 hour and 39 minutes. Memories for life!

Now, how to recreate an experience that I could possibly fail at? ;)