Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Epic!

I find it funny when I ask friends "what's new?" and the reply I get on the other end "nothing". I think the sport of ultra running keeps life pretty interesting. Something crazy is bound to happen when you spend hours upon hours in the trails. I naturally find myself traveling locally to new trails and that in itself is something 'new' and fun. I love exploring and I honestly never think about time when I am out discovering something I have never run before. I could be climbing the longest hill in the world but it never bothers me because I have no clue when it's going to end, so I just keep going.

This weekend, Tamsin, Roxy Robbins the wonder dog and I went to explore another section of the Secret Trails. I appologize for my secretiveness but soon enough it will all be out of the bag. We drove up Saturday night because Heather (who runs the Mountain Madness trail clinics) was putting us up in a Hotel. Herself and two other ladies, Lara and Amber, were going to do a 12km section and Tamsin and I were set to do 45km (or so we thought). We woke up Sunday morning, had breakfast and were dropped off at the start of our run. Heather lead us about a kilometer up the trail and sent us on our way. This single track trail was stunning and we followed a river for much of the first 13km. I love running and being able to hear the flow of river water. It has a very soothing and calming effect. The first 26km were pretty flat and it took us around 3 hours to finish up this section of trail. We then began the long ascent.

Days before the run, I had asked Peter if this run was going to be hilly. He didn't really say much but I had this feeling he was secretly snickering under his shirt, happy to not be running it himself. I was loving the uphill thus far as it was quite runnable. I have really tried to run every hill that comes my way, unless it is too steep to run efficiently. I must say, the more I practice running hills, the easier it becomes to maintain a steady pace and heart rate. We had probably been climbing for 20 minutes and we came upon a water source. I was almost out of water and Peter had told me to fill up around the 3 hour mark as there wasn't going to be any water sources once we got up high. I busted out the water filter and started pumping. After filling up both bags, we were on our way. Shortly after, we came across a hiker. He had been out on this trail for 2 days already and was on his way down and off the mountain. He had a big heavy bag that looked like it must have weighed a ton and I was very thankful to be traveling light today. He warned us of snow up ahead and said it was a foot deep in some spots. We kept trucking but this hill seemed to be never ending. After about 2 hours of steady uphill running we were kinda wondering when the hell we were going to reach the top! I seriously was in need of some downhill.

We finally hit snow, which I am surprised really didn't slow us any. We did have to put a few more layers on to warm up however. We both started to lose our motivation to run up this damn hill. We were now 6 hours into our run and still climbing. I had only brought enough food for 6 hours and was definitely worried once I had my last Gel, knowing we still had a lot more ground to cover. Thankfully, the views were phenomenal and the landscape kept our spirits high. The mountain peaks were all frosted with snow and the sun's rays were beautifully lighting up each peak. We were up pretty high now. We hadn't seen a sign in a long time and were nervous that we were still on the right track. We finally came across a sign that assured us we were in the right direction. We kept climbing, praying for the downhill to be in striking distance. Then, it happened. We had both run a race not to long ago out in this same area. I had this feeling we had to run a section of that race, which consisted of traversing up and over 5 mini peaks. Each peak had a steep ascent(10 minutes)followed by an unsatisfying descent, lasting no more than 30 seconds.

(The only pic I got of snow, I guess my hands were too cold to take the camera out when it got pretty deep!)

Tamsin had to bust out her emergency cliff bar and we split it in half. We had been out there for almost 7 hours at that point and we still had a ways to go before the 30 minute downhill to the lake. Each peak seemed to take forever and we both just lost the motivation to run up anything. Nonetheless, we kept the forward motion. If it wasn't for that hiker, we may have gotten lost a few times. We followed his footsteps pretty much the entire way. Eventually though his tracks stopped and we had to find the trail ourselves which was buried underneath the thick snow. I must have been delirious because I couldn't stop laughing at our misfortune. Tamsin had no clue how many peaks there really were. She was leading the way up and over these suckers and every time she got to the top, she would stand there in disappointment at the sight of one more. Myself being delirious, could not stop laughing uncontrollably. For some reason I thought it was hysterical that we had been out here for 7 1/2 hours, without any more food, and we were slogging through the snow. It truly felt epic and I was loving the adventure. I knew Heather would be worried about us. We FINALLY got to the downhill and motored back to the lake. I ran out of water but thankfully there was only 20 minutes to go. My stomach was feeling great and I still had some energy. I guess when the mind knows it wont be getting any more fuel, the body just holds on!

We reached the lake in just over 8 hours of running. My body felt great but my mind was tired. We just wanted to sit down and magically have some wings and beer delivered to the park. As we walked towards the parking lot we realized Tamsin's car was nowhere in sight. We were expecting it to have been dropped off earlier in the day. Shortly after, we ran into Amber. Heather and Lara had literally just left to go check that Tamsin and I hadn't finished early and had potentially hitch hiked back to our car. It was going to take them at least an hour to go check and come back. Thankfully, Heather had left us some warm clothes and food! When they came back, we got in the car and drove back to North Vancouver. I was tired and it was great to be home in a warm house.

(Run Profile)

I found out the next day that the run was actually 52km and not 45km. I was glad to hear that because I had a feeling it must have been longer. I took yesterday off to recover and today I am still a little unmotivated to go running. My neck is pretty sore from carrying my pack. If I turn my head to the left I get a shooting ache down the left side of my neck. My aunt (massage therapist) is away so I had to book an emergency rub with another lady who has come highly recommended, Lesley White. I can't wait!

11 more days until Giv'r Take Around the Lake 30km and then 4 more weeks until Mountain Masochist 50-miler.

See you in the trails!


Peter Watson said...

You should have told me that Roxy was going with you then I wouldn't have been so worried when it was dark and you finally called.

Glad you had another amazing day in the mountains. Yes I was jealous not to get to share this one with you but glad to know that your own mountain skillz got a good learn on.

Love ya

Gary Robbins said...

Thanks for not killing my dog and not eating her food when you were starving!