Sunday, 12 April 2015

Envisions Project #1 - Avon Trail Thru Run

After our first chance meeting, Rhonda has proven to be an amazing runner with a keen sense of fun and adventure.  Her non-profit organization, Envisions, aims to "empower 'other' abled athletes to acheive their own adventures."

The first project was a 110K thru run of the Avon Trail, which runs from St Marys to Conestogo, Ontario.  It was a perfect opportunity for me to get in a long trail run with company, and support Rhonda in her project.

The run was on Saturday, April 11th at "stupid o'clock" (5 am in Rhonda-speak).  I stayed with my MIL in London, but still had to leave the house at 4 am to get there on time.  Amazingly, I had no problem finding the St Marys trail terminus, thanks to coordinates dropped onto Google Maps.

The first few kms was all walking, because one of the other-abled athletes joining us was a non-runner.  The trail was flat road/paved. I had Emma's headlamp and thankfully other people had more powerful headlamps, mine barely made a dent in the darkness.  I was freezing my ass off because I was dressed to run!  The non-runner fell less than 1K in and perservered until the van made an emergency stop to pick her up at 7K.  Then the rest of us (Rhonda, Steven P, Steve H, Jeff, Peter, Clay, Steph) started going off-road.

In the early going, the blazes were few and far between.  We took a few wrong turns.

while lost, why not pretend to pee in a creek?

The trail wasn't technical at all..but there was some ice, and a lot of mud and water. Deerses running freely. Beautiful scenery. 

Over hill, over dale...

...Thorough bush, thorough brier...

One of the most memorable moments of the day was having the trail take us right through a horse pasture with 2 horses inside.  Perhaps the horses were used to having 1 or 2 people a day pass by, not a crowd.  Anyways, they got kind of pissed off:

"Hi hoomans."

The horse bodychecked someone, Peter, I think.  Note the white fence.
Steph tried valiantly to open the wire gate while the horses chased after us, and I, the skirt-wearer with bare legs decided not to risk climbing over.  So I stuck my arm through the white fence and when I didn't get zapped, I climbed through and my leg made contact. It felt like a moderately hard punch.  At least I didn't have to pee at that moment.

Every 10K, our mobile aid station met us, stocked with all the goodies one could ever want to eat/drink while running.  Thanks Jennifer-Anne!

Lisa (pink jacket), the filmmaker who produced 8% no limit, captured footage to be used in a future film!

Steph studies the map.
I completed 31K in just over 5 hours, it was a new trail distance PB for me and fantastic training for Sulphur.  Rhonda and the group were so much fun, and so inspiring! I will be eager for more trail running adventures with Envisions in the future!

The finishers medal that Rhonda made for each of us.

Elizabeth, Steve, Jeff, me, Steph, Clay, Peter, Rhonda.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The stars align

In my previous post, I mentioned that I felt strangely unsatisfied with a lack of big goals to look forward to in the 2015 season.  In the past 48 hours, this has now completely changed.

Since ATB didn't seem to beat the crap out of my legs, I wanted to get that 30K+ trail distance PB that I missed at the Fatass Cake run.  Originally, I had planned on 20-25K at the Envisions Avon Trail Thru Run on April 11th but upped it to 30-32K. 

Want to learn more about the Thru Run?  Here's a video from Rhonda herself:

My next thought was, "if I'm going to run 20 miles, I may as well run a marathon."  I was already planning on pacing Mississauga HM, but I knew that 4:30 for the full was available.  I emailed Head Bunny, asking which he would rather have me pace, and he replied, "the full."

Well, then..may as well go for broke!  Again, I was already planning on running 25K at Sulphur kept going through my mind that there would be no better time to run 50K, because there's no way I could run that distance 3 weeks after racing a marathon, but hopefully pacing won't take too much out of me and obviously I'll be using Mississauga as my longest training run. My first impulse was to sign up immediately, before I chickened out, but I saved it for last night so I could announce it on FB and see who thought it was real and who thought it was another April Fools prank (I had posted an April Fools status saying I had signed up for a trail 50K a year or 2 ago).  Well I guess the joke's on me!  The fact that the 50K was just $10 more than the 25K appealed to my thrifty self: twice the pain for only 10 bucks more! what a deal!

DVCA, I'm coming for you!

What this means is that next week I should run a relatively high mileage week to peak for Mississauga, and I'm not really mentally prepared for it.  I know a lot of people, Beth especially, must be laughing, because at this point, I really need to stop saying never.  

In terms of other spring races, hopefully I will be recovered to pace NFWHM 2 weeks after Sulphur, and I've canned the Welland Duathlon because I'm not feeling the multi-sport love right now, I just want to run trails, all the time at the moment.