Summer of trails!

The summer of 2014 is shaping up to be the summer of trail running for me – and I love it! The trails are shadier, the ground is softer, there’s no worrying about traffic or stopping at intersections, and there’s some really cool wildlife, everything from deer to rabbits to turtles and (gulp) snakes.

Last month, my parents, their friends, my friend Kelly and I ran a charity 5k trail race for heart arrhythmia research and awareness at Chicopee Ski Resort in Kitchener. It was the perfect day for a race, overcast and with the temperature at that sweet spot of 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

This was the second year for the event, and it’s more of a fun, relaxed run than a super competitive race. No chip timing or even a clock, so I’m not sure what my official time was. It also wasn’t exactly 5k – both my and Kelly’s GPS watches clocked the distance at just over 4k. Not complaining at all, though – those hills were tough, and 4k was a nice distance. The run started with a super steep ascent up one of the ski hills, then went up and down like a roller coast for about 2 km before flattening out in the woods.That was the best part, and when one of the course volunteers told us the hills were over, I felt brave enough to really push my legs and try and get some speed, knowing I wouldn’t need to conserve anything for more inclines. I ended up placing second, but again, no idea what my time was and the run really wasn’t about that, anyway. It was just a very fun way to spend a Sunday and an important cause to raise funds for!

The run itself is very well-organized. The route was clearly marked, there were marshals along the way directing and cheering runners on, and at the end was a barbecue, Vega recovery drinks, bananas, bagels and more. There were also first aid demonstrations, a booth to sign up to be an organ donor and some very moving speeches by organ donation recipients.

We even sang O, Canada at the beginning – loved that! So far singing the national anthem before a race is only something I’ve noticed at American events.

And because it was the first race Kelly and I have done together since our high school cross-country days, we decided to dress like matching highlighters because we miss those matching Mustang jerseys of yore:

photo-20Completely unintentional. Blinding other runners is part of our race strategy.

This coming weekend, I have another trail race to tackle that I’m super excited about, the 18k Smuggler’s Trail Race in Long Point. All this trail racing is hopefully going to be in preparation for a trail run in the fall, but I’m still a little hesitant to make any firm commitments until I see how my leg/groin is feeling. This past week saw my highest mileage since February, and although my four runs from June 24-29 felt awesome, I’m a little paranoid about pushing too much, too soon. Today is a recovery day and I am enjoying the hell out of it. Legs up and lots of relaxation so I can hit those trails rested and ready!


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