This past weekend, I participated in the Haliburton Forest Trail race located in the beautiful and majestic Haliburton Forest. This was my second year running this event, last year completing the 12km race. Haliburton Forest has a special place in my heart. We’ve spent the last few summers camping there, and we have done some pretty spectacular hikes in the Forest as well. Located 40 minutes from our family cottage, it’s an easy race to manage logistically and has a warm and inviting vibe.
The race has a number of distances to choose from including a 12km, 26km, 50km, 50 mile and the big 100 mile. Last year, I made a last minute decision to run the 12km race and had an incredible racing experience. The people were friendly, the race was wonderfully organized and I knew I wanted to come back again this year and managed to convince my brother in law to accompany me on the trail. New into running, Brian is an absolute natural. So far he has found joy in running through the High Park trails, so I knew his heart would explode when he experienced running through the actual forest. When his birthday came around this year, I asked him if he would like entry into this trail race; he was in! We both decided on the 26km distance and before we knew it, we were all heading up to the cottage for a fun siblings weekend away.
I’m halfway through my 30 day running challenge and wanted to reflect on what this experience has brought to me, so far.
I’ll be honest that I was hesitant to start what is often called a running streak: consecutive days of running without rest. I had mixed opinions. I wasn't sure it would be the best option for my training (I’m currently training for my first marathon at the beginning of November). But also, I wasn’t sure how healthy it was to do something every single day. I’m a huge proponent of balance and moderation in almost all areas of life and really value rest and recovery. But, 30 days is not a lifetime and I'm always up for a challenge and something to push me outside of my comfort zone. Plus, how can you know if something is good if you’ve never tried it?
I decided that if I was going to sign myself up for this, I had to be really clear on my reasons for embarking on this challenge and what I was hoping to get out of it.
It’s hard to believe the race has come, and gone … and I’ve woken up the next morning to tell the tale.
Even though moments from the race are etched into my mind, other parts are fading away already feeling like a hazy memory. I’ll try my best to remember what I was feeling during the race; what was going through my mind and what my thoughts are now, 24 hours later having slept 12 hours, well fed and sitting with my feet up staring out at the beautiful Walker’s pond.
Overall, I can honestly say that this was the hardest thing I have ever done. In my life. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and I am not sure if I could have prepared better for it but it was a test of mental and physical stamina beyond what I’ve ever experienced.
So let’s start from the beginning …
It's the morning before my half ironman, and we're about to leave to drive up to Huntsville.
I've been surprised because I haven't been feeling as much nervous energy as I usually do the week before a race, but if I had any concerns of a 'lack of feeling' they have been tempered by the bubbles that are brewing in my stomach this morning. It finally feels real and I am PUMPED.
I woke up this morning, minutes before my alarm went off my eyes wide with excitement. It's here, the day has arrived! Or really, the day before the day has arrived. In a way, today is even more exciting than tomorrow. Today we are going to drive up to Huntsville to check in and drop off my bike. Athlete check in is between 11am - 5pm but we've found ourselves with a 7:30am departure with the aim of arriving for 10am. Why you may ask? Simple. England is playing in the world cup today and it is apparently a big deal that they have made it to the quarter finals so there was no way Luke was going to miss kick off. Considering this weekend will consist of him driving me up to Huntsville for check in, then driving to our cottage an hour away, waking up at 4am tomorrow to drive back to Huntsville, spending the day following me around, taking photos, cheering, and then driving me back to the cottage and dealing with whatever state I am in (and likely doing the lions share of everything that evening) followed by driving me back to Toronto the following day... I am more than happy to accommodate his football game today (read: British footy, not American). Luke, have I told you how much I love you?
This morning I did a little 'check in' with myself to see how I was feeling. I ran through my body, head to toe making sure everything was working properly and moving well. My main focus right now, is how I am feeling mentally. I got a great night sleep last night, finally getting some relief from the heat we've been having for the past week. Today is all about staying calm, saving energy and mentally preparing myself for the big race tomorrow. Physically I know there is nothing I can do but mentally I can give myself the best chance to do well by staying positive and keeping focussed. I couldn't be more excited.
Oh and drinking water. Drinking lots of water. It's gonna be a hot one out there.
Alright, that's all folks! See you on the other side.