And the great thing was it didn't even feel that hard. I mean it felt hard, of course - it was a 50k trail run, after all - but everything that could go right did so I had a wonderful day.
It was a rough week leading up to the event. I was nervous so didn't sleep well, and the weather forecast was grim. Added to which, I'd heard a lot of scary stories of how bad the blackflies and ticks might be. Fortunately, the weather was perfect as it turned out - sunny and cool with just enough breeze to keep the blackflies at bay (for the runners, at least) - and I never saw a tick.
The organizers and volunteers did an amazing job. Despite being attacked by blackflies, they worked hard throughout the day, providing directions, ensuring the runners were well-fueled, taking photos, and providing terrific encouragement and support at every turn. As a result of their efforts, the event raised over $1400 in support of a local woman who is fighting cancer. Hats off to Jodi Isenor and his team for a job well done. If I'm not running next year, I'll volunteer for sure.
A total of 55 runners toed the start line to run 6k, 12k, 15k, 30k, 50k or 80k and nearly everyone finished. The course consisted of two loops - approximately 6k and 9k long - with 68% on logging roads and 32% on ATV trails. Here are a few pics to give you some sense of the terrain.
As planned, I walked the toughest hills and the more challenging parts of the trails but I didn't feel bad about it. Even the biggest and strongest of my fellow runners did the same. Apparently, it's pretty common for people participating in trail races and ultras to "save their legs" this way.
And walking some sections gave me the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of my surroundings and snap a few pictures. The sections of the course that took me through moss-covered areas of the forest were especially magical.
The course provided beautiful lakeviews in a few spots as well.
The one minor problem I had was falling about 10k from the finish line but I was on a relatively flat stretch of road at the time and fell gently enough that I ended up with only very minor scrapes and bruises.
So all in all, it was a terrific day. And, as of this morning at least, my legs feel pretty good and it looks like I may keep all my toenails. :-)
In closing, a special thank you to Husband for all he did to get me to the finish line. Not only was he encouraging and supportive through 4.5 months of training but, without complaint, he crawled out of bed yesterday morning at 4:45 to drive me to Tantallon for 6:00, spent most of the day waiting on me, then laced up his shoes to keep me company for the last 6k. It's a gross understatement to say I couldn't have done it without him.
Thanks also to my parents who surprised me by turning up to cheer me on at the finish line, to Janet who tried to do the same but got lost en route and to all who sent messages of encouragement and support. It helped a great deal to know so many people were rooting for me.
Oops. Almost forgot. For the running geeks out there, my official time was 6:25:19 - which I was really pleased with given how much walking I did. Here's a picture of me 6k from the end. I look happy because I was feeling remarkably good and confident that, barring some catastrophe, I was going to finish my first 50k ultra.
Thanks again to everyone!
For a few more pics from the day, you can follow this link.