Sunday Runday, and it’s been a couple weeks since I sat down to write a post. It is a summer break for me, after all, and I’ve been out on the road, in the mountains, on the lake, and … as the topic of this post will soon reveal, running through the wilderness.
In fact, a few interesting things have happened in my running career since last I checked in. In particular, I may have spent some money on race registrations. In person race registrations.
The BIG one I’ll save for another post.
The little BIG one ties back to this morning’s Sunday running adventure that was had, all resulting from a spontaneous decision to sign up for a local (quasi) ultramarathon and the opportunity to do some practicing for that.
And again, in fact, I wrote in passing about my intention to do just that a few months back when I wrote about a nature sanctuary we had visited west of the city.
The River’s Edge Ultramarathon is an honest-to-goodness ultra marathon race through challenging terrain hosted on a large chunk of private land at the edge of the North Saskatchewan river. (Adult) distances range from a short 12km sampler run to a full 100km solo looping race of insanity.
Last weekend I signed up for the half marathon “koda” distance, twenty-one klicks through rolling riverside terrain (and even some wet crossing to a small island, I understand).
As the race host prepares the course and readies for the event, he invites some interested locals (ie. us) out to the start line to help clear trails, trial the trails, or just run the course. So, Sunday Runday and seven of my crew found themselves driving thirty minutes west of the city to spend three hours in the wilderness for one of the permitted practice runs on the “homestead” loop.
Across a little more than three hours, we pushed through nineteen klicks of grinding hills, mucky soft peat, cliff-side crags, cow pastures, grassy stretches, ambling over barbed wire fences, and stumbling down rope-supported descents.
On top of the regular running pain, the wasps had taken over the landscape. I didn’t count but I would confidently say there were well over two or three hundred nests along the length of the trail, and I was stung at least twice… which was about average for me and my fellow participants. Ultra-style trail running with a hot, burning, muscle-spasm of wasp-sting pain in your calf is nothing to shrug off.
In about six weeks we’ll be back out there for the real race, trudging through similar loops on a (hopefully) cool September day, and my in person race career will have seemingly resumed with a challenge I wouldn’t have expected to take on again so soon.