* I just want to thank everyone for their incredibly kind comments on my last post. You are amazing & I appreciated every single person who took the time to leave me a message. Xx
Immediately after Ragnar Niagara, we started talking about running the next Ragnar Relay in Ontario which is a trail race in September. I quickly agreed to be on a team and then also quickly realized that I’ve never actually run a trail race. (Yes, I’ve been on trails. I’ve done a lot of hiking and even took my trail shoes on our trip to Jordan and used them there, but I was still worried about doing an actual race on a marked trail!) To help myself feel more prepared, the day after Ragnar I signed up for a Five Peaks race!
I could give you a run down of the race details (which you can find on the website anyhow!) but instead I’ll just say that everything was efficient and simple. The atmosphere was completely laid back and the runners are notably more chill and friendly than at road races! I had never been to Albion Hills Conservation Area but it was beautiful and very well taken care of.
My awesome friend, Lisa, had agreed to run with me and before the race made sure to tell me the most important thing was to look up, take in my surroundings and enjoy the race! Leanne, Cathy, Lisa and I headed out together in the last wave of the race. We started running on the grass and quickly made a right hand turn onto the trail which immediately turned into a hill. This is the only hill I ran up all the way! (Mei started with us but quickly left us in the dust!!)
The course was very well marked and runners were quick to let you know if they wanted to pass you on the single lane trail sections. I was really impressed with the friendliness of everyone running. Headphones aren’t allowed which makes it impossible for you to focus only on yourself which was honestly a nice change!
The route was not technical but definitely had a lot of twists and turns along with the ups and downs of the hills. I snatched a picture of Cathy’s Garmin data of the elevation to share:
As we ran we chatted and Leanne (who just ran the Mount Hood 50k like a rockstar!) took pictures.
I started to feel bad when I realized it took me 35 minutes to go 4k but my awesome friends assured me that it didn’t matter. Lisa reminded me of her advice before the race and I tried to forget the time and simply enjoy the run.
As we approached the finish we all ran in together smiling and laughing! Actually, I think I smiled the entire time we were on the course.
After the race finished I remarked that I could do that all day long. This was probably a grossly over exaggerated statement, but I loved the trails and the lack of pressure I felt to be really fast (once Lisa reminded me it didn’t matter!). The trees were gorgeous and the mix of running and walking was a nice change from the monotony of running on pavement. I know that I will definitely be hitting the trails more and looking for trail runs to take part in.
Special thanks to Lisa, Cathy and Leanne for hanging out with me and showing me how much fun it can really be to get off the road and try something different!