Saturday was a beautiful day. A perfect day for a run, in fact a perfect day for a trail run. And that’s just what we did. We arrived at Albion Hills with no clue what lay ahead of us. Just how different is trail running from regular road running? Let’s just say we got schooled. We did a half marathon distance, which consisted of three loops of a trail plus a small spur at the beginning of the race. Dan and I jockeyed for position at the back of the pack as we quickly realised that we were surrounded by very serious runners and did not want to be anyone’s way. How did we know they were serious? They looked it, almost all of our fellow competitors looked like elite runners, thin but muscular, everyone kitted out in the latest running gear, plus people kept approaching Dan to talk about his shoes. Yes we were surrounded by people who were checking out what everybody had on their feet! I can’t remember if there was horn or gun that started us, I was too excited. And we were off, running across the grass, it reminded me of cross-country running at elementary school and I couldn’t stop smiling. We were right to start at the back and that’s where we stayed for the first loop. I learnt that Miles (my garmin) doesn’t quite gather accurate info when running through undulating forests, he kept telling me we were going too slow so I kept pushing the pace. Finally I took a closer look at my heart rate and realised no matter what pace Miles was telling me I needed to slow down, Dan was thankful that we backed off and very thankful for the hill trainingI’ve been torturing him with. As we neared the end of the first loop (we could hear the music at the start/finish area) we had settled into a pleasant pace and I still couldn’t stop smiling. That’s of course when something had to go wrong, at the top of the steepest hill (which was littered with jutting rocks) I tripped on a tree root. Looking down the hill at that moment all I could think about were my teeth and how they were going to be shattered and I was going to have to go the dentist and I hate the dentist. My hate for the dentist somehow helped me find my footing and I miraculously stayed upright. The photographer on the hill actually put down his camera to applaud my efforts and even Dan gave a little cheer. Dan told me later that he feared for my wrists and knobby knees and the fact that I probably would’ve cried hysterically. With a near miss out of the way we were then shocked by our first split time of 44mins for 8.6km, yup we went out way too fast, but we were content for now bringing up the back of the half marathon group. On our second loop we discovered that other people had also started out too fast as we actually passed a few runners.
One man had me a little worried when he asked how many more hills, um, the same amount as the first loop. Dan was having some issues, which required him to keep dumping water on his head, he seemed to be over heating. It was nice out, but not over heating nice out, then he started burping, I ran along in front of him shaking my head and grateful that we on our own, and after one nasty sounding burp Dan says “oh I just vomited in my hand” What!!! We stop so he can rinse his hand (thankfully we were running with our packs so we had access to lots of water). Me: are you ok? Can you keep running? Dan: yes, I feel better. Ok. Off we went Dan was struggling but I was very proud of him soldiering on. When we finally crossed the finish line Dan sweetly let me “win” for not leaving him on the side of the trail (I had been on pace for a new half marathon PR). I was just so excited to have finished the race with only a tiny scratch on my arm. I loved it, trail running is so much fun and something we desperately need to continue to add to our training. And Dan well, he got a medal.
He won the Clydesdale division (men over 200lbs), we felt he had a good chance of placing at the start line seeing as there were only two other men who looked over 200lbs. But who cares he was first and received a first place medal for all his suffering.
Sunday we were up early and had planned to run a 15km run that would have me at the start line of the Sporting Life 10km, but that had to be cut short as Dan was still having some “gut” issues.
We still managed to get an uneventful mostly uphill 10km “warm-up” in. I was running the race with my cousin and friend Rochelle and my little sister and her boyfriend were also running (apparently little sisters boyfriend was inspired cheering us on at ATB). It was a great, easy, mostly downhill run, little sisters boyfriend could not contain his excitement and took off around 3km, us girls stuck together and stayed consistent running a negative split and leading me to a new 10km PR. Actually it was everyone’s PR as it was they’re first 10km race. And I was especially happy to have stuck with little sister to tie going across the finish line as she always has enough left in the tank to sprint and leave me in the dust, but I didn’t let her get away this time! Re-match is planned for August a mid-summers night. Bring it on!