No, I was not dead last. I think I was about 23rd from the bottom this time, out of just under 300 runners (1.41 to run 12.8k. Nine whole minutes slower than last year, thanks to the ankle issue I am tired of talking about.) The fastest person chipped in at 1:03 (young and foolish, right?) and the last made it in at 2:16 (Bravo! Many more wouldn't even attempt it). Our Thrive Team has many great athletes on it, including Ann and Steve, co-owners of Thrive Fitness, Alliston, who each placed first in their respective age groups for the Sport course! Because of them and some other "natural born" trail bunnies (Janate, Carol, Tony) on our team, Thrive Team is ranked first in Ontario so far! Thankfully I do not contribute negative points!
Rattlesnake Point on the Niagara Escarpment in Milton is a beautiful course. Lots of wide trails mixed with narrower ones but generally feels a lot more wide open when you are in the woods compared to Hardwood Hills. But Rattlesnake has more rocks. Lots of wet, slippery rocks. And that's what slows me down. It slows a lot of people down, as some parts are just not meant for running. Like the two-foot wide vertical rock-riddled climb early on in the run. We all hike up that one ("Why couldn't you run it?" asks my non-running but former high school jock husband. Sigh. He just doesn't GET IT.)
Then there are the big walls of boulders we get to climb near the end of the course. Three sets in all! My memory blocked out the last two from 2012, so when I told a new trail runner who stayed behind me for a while (nice young man who was supposed to be running with his dad this summer but unfortunately his dad hurt his leg on a training run), right after we ran up a windy forest path, that we had one more big one to climb, I was incorrect by two. Oops. He still made it across the finish line a few minutes before me though. But I must say it was nice for someone (especially a 20-something someone) to tell me I was keeping him at a good pace. He also said he didn't want to injure himself. So there you have it -- pace with me and you may not even sniff the sweat of the top 70 per cent of finishers, but you will cross the finish line fairly unscathed!
Which leads me to my next pondering. And I decided to write it out as an interview between me and my, I guess, alter ego. (I am alone most of the day, with kids in school and all, so to carry on conversations with myself in my head is normal. To me.)
TIMID TRAIL RUNNER INTERVIEWS SELF ABOUT WHY THE HELL
SHE IS GOING TO ATTEMPT INSANE MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE RACE
Me: When you talk about trail running, you always mention how you are afraid to hurt yourself, to fall. Why is that?
Alter Ego: Because it hurts.
Me: How would you know that? Just because of one dumb sprained ankle from last year that now refuses to feel normal?
Alter Ego: Yes.
Me: Did you hurt your ankle at Rattlesnake Point?
Alter Ego: No. But it winced a couple of times. And I fell onto my hands once (finally a reason why I do so many planks at core strength class! So I can sustain the full weight of my body onto my hands when I trip on a rock in a forest!) and got dirt on my hands and one leg.
Me: You do realize what event is coming up in four days from now.
Alter Ego: Yes! Met Con Blue. THE most insane 5km mountain obstacle race ON THE PLANET. Or something to that effect.
Me: So you understand you will be running uphill on a mountain side, dealing with all kinds of bizarre obstacles and in-between all of that, running not only on forest trails, but in many instances, very mucky forest trails where you will inevitably slip and fall several times.
Alter Ego: Yes!
Me: You are a sad, strange little woman.
Alter Ego: Yes! But I am in good company: metconrace.com