The terrain was a nasty, unpredictable combination of hard and soft, deep and shallow sugar/ice, which late in the race softened to the consistency of a snow cone. It was nearly impossible to know whether my next step would be soft or hard until I landed.
I made the most progress while trotting lightly on my toes, which was really hard for the first 20 minutes, because I couldn’t actually feel them. I tried to lean forward and keep my heels up, a trail running strategy I believe keeps me from tripping.
There one small bit of mud on the course, precariously perched on an unavoidable ledge. I could not even tackle the downhills with abandon, as it was hard to tell if I would end up on top or stuck knee-deep. The fear of hyper extending a lower extremity hampered my usual momentum.
The brutality of it all did not stop me from opting for the second loop of the race, because the weatherman was forecasting even more horrific conditions the next day (which have since come true). I wanted to do a 90 minute run this weekend for my peace of mind in training for a late-April half marathon. Since I was already out there, and the first loop had taken me over 40 minutes to complete, I might as well keep on going.
I was on my own much of the race, so I made sure my eyes scanned for course markers as well as terrain changes. There were a few stretches of time in which I was able to relax and just glide step by step, breath by breath, through my bubble of space.
I hate to say it, but I lapped Dawn 72 minutes into the race. I stuck with her as we climbed through the woods up the second last hill. When we came out on top we could see the finish. It was so tempting to just leave the last down-and-up of the course to cut across the top! Dawn’s sore leg was giving her trouble, so that’s what she chose. No shame in tending to injury. Better that she survives to run another day.
I hadn’t come that far into the second loop to be disqualified for it, so I gave her my best and carried on through the last part of the race. As I came around the bottom of the cliff I could hear Derek cheering me on from above. Les came down the hill part way and Dawn was there, telling me to sprint up the final hill. Yeah, right.
The hill was a monster! The photo below shows only a quarter of it.
I walked some of it at the bottom and the mustered a run towards the top. When I got to the finish line I made everyone laugh by crawling across it.
As always, our volunteers are very accommodating of all types of racers. Rob was kind enough to make sure I got my timing stick by holding it low enough for me to see it.
All photos in this post (except for the butt shot by Dawn Henry) were taken by Kathy Taerum of the Calgary Roadrunners.
I was last. Yet, thanks to the magic of Age Groups, I was also second. It was worth it.