Monday, 9 November 2015

Thames Valley Thru Run

First off, this was NOT A RACE.  This was a fat ass end-to-end trail run, of which I did approximately half.

The run started southwest of London, about 20 minutes from my MIL's apartment, she kindly got up at stupid o'clock to drive me to the trailhead, I had left my car in a downtown London parking lot 56K away.  The trail passed by MIL's apartment at exactly 50K, but I wanted to make sure I had a new distance PB at the end of the day.

There were about 20 ladies invited, but there were 4 doing the full distance: Rhonda, Robin, Lizzy and Catherine plus me at the start and Catherine H. dropped in for a few kilometres in the afternoon.  We were supported by Clay and Steven.

The first section alternated between country roads and muddy farmer's fields.  We peed trailside, in a row, as a group (as girls do).

 If we lost sight of blazes, we retraced our steps and consulted the map (as girls do).  At one of the first aid stops, a hunter stopped his truck to comment that we were being dude that was on purpose!

One benefit to being a midget is that I never have to worry about my head colliding with van trunk doors.
At one point, we were running towards a forest, heard gunshots and saw birds flying away above the trees.  It was definitely unnerving to be running towards the sound of gunfire! As you can see from the pictures, we were dressed in bright colours and we were singing songs, yelling, hooting and using whistles to make sure we were heard. We were in a valley when a shot fired, VERY close to us.  We could see the hunter at the top of the forest, Robin shouted some choice words at him and we got the hell out of there as fast as we could.  Most of the forest was not too technical, but had lots of narrow and steep singletrack, plus all the leaf cover on the ground.

I got laser therapy on my wonky right ankle after the fall I had last week, and of course I stepped in a gopher hole in a grassy area and went down.  All the other ladies were standing over me, Catherine helped me up, Rhonda gave me a ginger chew (which was miraculous for the post-ankle roll pain/nausea) and they made me lead so I wouldn't get dropped.  We walked a couple of kilometres, until we got to a very "shuffleable" provincial park.

Throughout the day, I ate orange slices, Pringles, Chips Ahoy, Timbits and drank a bottle each of ginger ale and regular Coke.  I had Mio drops in my hydration vest and I had a headache that got progressively worse despite popping vitamin I for my ankle.  It wasn't until Sunday afternoon that I figured out the cause - electrolyte imbalance - and taking 2 salt caps made the headache go away almost immediately.  Then this morning I read the label on Mio vs. Gatorade - Mio has about 1/3rd the electrolytes as Gatorade, plus with the cool temps I really didn't think eletrolyte imbalance would be an issue, but now I know.

Running through London, Catherine H. joined us, and we ran through a lot of residential neighbourhoods and multi-use paths. By some miracle, every dog we met was leashed and well behaved.

This is Apollo.  He managed to charm even me.  I loved his striped socks.

As the saying goes, "what happens on the trail, stays on the trail" but I must share this story.  We came out of the woods to a busy street with wide guardrails on both sides.  Being about 40K into the run, climbing over them was rather painful and we didn't see any blazes on the other side so back over the guardrails we went to retrace our steps and read the map description, which led us down a very steep embankment, under the road, and back up the other side. "Then follow the multi-use path to the left." All that guardrail climbing for nothing!

The last few kilometres took us through Springbank Park and towards downtown London.  It was already starting to get dark, and I needed to be back home to meet up with the Sporty Spice girls at 6:30. I also underestimated how hard it would be mentally to run past the apartment.  After passing the 50K mark, fatigue really set in and I walked most of the way to the next checkpoint.  Still got my new distance/time PB, 54K in 8:25.  Steven and Clay drove me back to my car, which was fortunately still where I had parked it the night before.

If I had been mentally/physically prepared with appropriate food/clothing to run the full distance, I would have, as Rhonda informed me there was no FKT for the Thames Valley Trail.

I missed rescuing the injured runner, the Fireball whiskey and the instant ramen, but I had SO MUCH FUN!!  Fat ass group runs are the best, even better than races and I look forward to Rhonda's next trail adventure!

The first bite of real food at GNO, after eating crap on the trails all day long.  Photo by Nicole.