On Saturday, I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay and had so much fun. This was my first trail run ever and I absolutely loved it!
I ran on Team Heart Breakers – including Suze, Theresa and new friend Maryll, an awesomely fun group of girls who just wanted to have a good time. And we did. We treated the day more like a picnic with a side of running than a stressful race.
Algonkian Regional Park is just so pretty! The North Face put together a great area for runners to hang out during the day. I’ve really never seen an area like this. It was like an expo during the race. There were some vendors, a bunch of giveaways, food… we weren’t bored at all while we waited our turns to run.
I ran second for our team and we were one of the last teams. It was really quiet and really peaceful running on the trails pretty much all alone. My Shuffle died despite charging it all night and I’m actually kind of happy about it. I really got to enjoy my surroundings and just run. Let’s be honest, my usual hip-hop stripper music mix probably wasn’t totally appropriate given the gorgeous nature setting.
Despite starting alone, I did see a lot of 50K/50M/Marathon runners finishing up and I tried to cheer for all of them. I can’t imagine running that kind of distance and I was so impressed that everyone looked like they were really having a good time out there. So for the relay we started out running kind of around a golf course/soccer field part of the park and then made our way onto the real trails. I loved it. It was kind of an out and back, with the exception of the a tiny loop (at the top right of the picture below) where I got really confused and felt kind of lost.
In general, I loved the course though I have nothing to compare it to as it was my first trail run. I was so happy with how well marked everything was, with the course support (the volunteers were so great), with the aid stations. There was really nothing about the course that I didn’t like – except that the final area leading to the finish line had no shade cover. The sun was really beating down by the time I crossed! Even so, that is such a tiny stretch of course that it hardly mattered.
As I was coming up on the finish a guy who was running the 50K ran up behind me and screamed “This is my sprint right now! Are we sprinting?!” I laughed and said I was sprinting for me and he was doing great! He asked me to run it in with him and I did. It was so fun. I couldn’t imagine being so funny after running so long.
After I handed off the timer to Maryll I wandered around to cool off. I actually found some ice baths over by the bag drop that no one was using so I soaked my feet for awhile and that was
painful awesome. I had some weird cramp in the arch of my left foot and that brought it way under control. Our team ended up finishing in 4:39:38! I’m beyond proud of us!
Of course, the day didn’t end here. There was my awkward encounter with Dean Karnazesbefore we left the park.
And of course a post race celebratory dinner at Sweetwater
All in all, the most fun race day I’ve ever had. Thanks to team Heart Breakers and the North Face for an awesome time. I can’t wait until next year!!!