Yay! We are back racing! Well that’s is debatable, racing that is, but the Sisters ran the Iroquois Trail Test today! Beautiful day, challenging course, lots of heart pumping fun. we even had an awesome guest with us, Cecilia! The three of us rock the course, and yes there were tons of rocks, and hills and more rocks, a true Test! Yay for us!
Posts Tagged With: Trail Event
Right now the Iditarod Trail Invitational is going on in Alaska. No I don’t mean the famous dog sled race (although that is going on now too). I’m talking about the Trail invitational that involves people on foot, skis and bike, running, skiing or biking 130, 350 or 1000 mile across the Alaskan wildness.
The 1000 mile race runs from Knik Lake outside of Anchorage to Nome Alaska. For the most part this race follows the Iditarod Trail, the same one that dogs will use but these people head out before the dogs start (in some cases the dogs will pass them by). Fully self-supported; these cyclists and walkers can expect to spend up to a month riding or walking in the wilderness. I can’t imagine sleeping outside in the Alaskan wilderness by myself in a bevy sack on the side on a trail at 40 below but that is what these participants will do if they have to. Tough people these racers.
I’m following Jill Homer, a young endurance athlete/writer who is riding a fat bike in the 1000 mile race. She is the only women in the 1000 mile bike race. I’m so excited because she is almost done! She has made it down the Yukon River and across the sea ice, and now is only about 100 miles from Nome!
I’ve followed Jill for a few years in all her exploits ever since I read her first book Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide, an inspiring story of her race in The Tour Divide – 2745 miles from Banff Alberta to Antelope Wells New Mexico (where she broke the women’s time record). I didn’t even know these types of ultra-endurance races existed. It isn’t a bad thing for me to find out about these event now because if I was younger I would probably want to do one dragging Glenis with me – Go Blister Sisters!
I’ve thought of Jill and her stories a few time when I find the going tough in a run. Her strength through adversity reminds me that nothing I do is that hard. I can’t wait for her next book.
Just a quick update. Jill finished 937 miles in just over 17 days, a women’s course record! We are so impressed! Yeah Jill!
Check out Jill Homer’s blog Jill Outside!
The Blister Sister and the Bandage met up again to run Raid the Hammer put on by Don’t Get Lost. We had a great run on a beautiful November Sunday!
The race took place in the Dundas area, just outside of Hamilton. I actually recognized where we would be running from the maps handed out, we ran in the same area a few years ago. Luck for us this area was also our team member Jean’s (the bandage) old stomping ground so we had the advantage of knowing which way was up on the map!
We did really well, we weren’t last, we found all the controls and we defiantly had more than a few laughs. Isn’t that what running with friends is all about!
I’ve posted a few of our photos here and there are more great photos on the Don’t Get Lost Facebook page.
The Blister Sisters were at it again! So much fun stumbling around in the forest! What at beautiful day for a run!
Today was the Peak to Peak hosted by Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running Club. We really like their races, they are fun, challenging and well organized and they give us great maps! We save them all, you never know when you’ll need an orienteering map of somewhere near Hamilton, LOL
You might guess from the name of the run that all the check point are on top of peaks in the Dundas Valley. It was a lot of fun, a butt burner getting up the hills and a butt burner getting back down!
Saturday Glenis and I attended an Adventure Race Training Course hosted by Bob Miller near Hilton Falls Conservation area. Apparently this is one of the most difficult areas in Ontario to orienteer in. We found that out during Raid the Rib which was held in this area. Bob is a seasoned adventure racer and race director. His race the Wilderness Traverse is the only 24 hour adventure race in Ontario.
The morning was a class session on map reading and using a compass with a map. The light bulb went on when we realized the disconnect we have been having between the map and the compass. It was great seeing the light. Bob also answered many questions about adventure racing in general. It was great just to pick his brain about adventure racing.
About noon we headed out to the bush, just as the first few drops of rain started to fall. By the time we have driven the 2K to the trail head the rain was pouring down in buckets! Sheets of it, accompanied with the distance rumble of thunder. Fearless, all seventeen of us charged into the woods to bushwhack to the first of the 6 controls Bob had hidden in the woods. Tripping over fallen trees and the hidden boulders that the escarpment is known for, we charged towards where we thought the first control was. Holy cow, we found it, by just using our compass, right were we thought it would be! We were elated. We adjusted our heading and off we went to find the second control, and what do you know, there it was!
It was a sweet jog up the trail, which was a small stream now because of the rain, to find control #3. We were one of the first to reach it, except it wasn’t there. We hunted around and were soon joined by others but no one could find it. The feeling of elation was slipping away. Not to be deterred we headed up the trail to find the next control. Slipping in the mud and over rocks we found it no problem, but it was right beside the trail. The next control would be more challenging because we had to determine where to plunge into the bush from the trail so that we would be in the general proximity of the control. Glenis took the bearing from my point of the trail and down in to the forest we headed. I was off the mark by about 50 meters but Glenis was spot on and we had the last control under our belt. We bushwhacked back to the trail and ran down stream to the trail head.
The next plan for the way was to hop on our bikes and look for controls on the bike route Bob had planned. By now we were sopping wet and our glasses so fogged up we could barely see the map. Off we went bouncing off of rocks and roots, hanging on for dear life in the pouring rail. It was quite the wild ride. We just noted where the controls were on the map and looked in that direction as we passed. We were just happy to ride and not crash!
Unfortunately the canoes portion of the day was canceled. The lightening put an end to that. We stripped out of our soaked clothes in the van and decided to call it a day.
What a great course, Bob was an excellent instructor, and the area he picked couldn’t have been better to navigate in. The joke was on us because someone had actually removed control number 3!
I think we are going to have a great time this year now that we have figured out the whole compass map thing.
Sometimes you have to be picky. As we gear up for another great year we are being thoughtful deciding which events we want to enter.
There are so many events available to enter now that we have to be a little picky. There are a number of things we consider.
Location – can we drive there in a few hours and return home the same day or do we need to stay overnight? Not that we don’t like staying overnight but for some events, spending hours in a car makes them a little less appealing.
Expense – there is another consideration. Event prices are going up every year. You would be hard press to find an adventure race or ultra; or even a marathon or half at the $50.00 range any more. The expense of running any type of events requires the organizers to charge a higher entry fee.
Then there is the sure number of events. We could do an event just about every weekend. We have to consider the type of event we enter and the time it will take us to recover from the event. We just aren’t as young as we used to be. After all bruises, scrapes and stitches take time to heal! Back to back events are tough to pull off.
That been said, we are having fun reviewing our favorite race websites, investigation new ones and marking on our calendar when every event takes place.
We are excited that we are planning to navigate through Raid the Rib Adventure Run in April. We have in listed our friend Jean to be the “bandage” to the Blister Sisters and the Bandage. In May we’ll be storming along running, riding and paddling in Storm the Trent – Ontario’s best adventure race.
Now we just have to plan the rest of May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December to complete a great year!
A big thanks to Helen Malmberg and her crew for putting on another terrific race and to the Haliburton Forest Center for hosting it in their beautiful forest.
There are a few lessons to learn running this type of race.
- It is an emotional experience, you might cry.
- You will have a lot of time to think about things. Be grateful.
- Your feet will take a beating.
- Recovery is a bitch.
We took our time on this race and did a little videography. Have a look at our movie of the race to see the beauty of this run.
Highlights of the run were:
- The huge rain and electrical storm Friday night.
- The forest.
- Sleeping in the van in the rain.
- The dark morning rain.
- The beautiful single track trail.
- The aid stations.
- The 50k turn around.
- Did I mention the forest?
- The amazing runners that passed us. They were just awesome.
- The gnomes.
- The cheering at the finish line.
The Haliburton Forest Trail run is just two days away.
The excitement is building! This year is the 21st anniversary of this event which features a number of distances from 12k to 100 miles through the beautiful Haliburton forest. We haven’t run at Haliburton for a few years, but we do have some experience, running the 50k a couple of times and finishing the 50 miles distance. It will be fun to be back at the beautiful Wolf Center.
We really like this race not only for the great wilderness trails it follows but there is no time limit for the shorter races. As long as we finish before the course closes for the 100 mile race on Sunday, we are good. The 100 mile racers have 30 hours to cover the course so we won’t have a problem.
We are heading up to do some van camping Friday night so we will be rested and ready Saturday morning at 6am – in the dark – with headlights – running in the wilderness – up hills with a bunch of great runners who are, oh so much faster than us!
Nightlights, that reminds me of when we ran the 50 miles. It started to get dark about 8pm in the forest and we pulled out our tiny flashlights. Both of them started to fade and we were forced contemplate running the last bit of trail in the pitch black. As we trudged up the forest road to the trail head in the dark; we mumbled “hi” to two figures walking by with flash lights. One of them called out “Glenis”! OMG, it was our husbands! They walked out from the finish to see if we had passed through the 2nd last aid station yet! We quickly exchanged our dying flashlights for a pen light and a wind up flashlight. Those two tiny lights got us through the last 10k! Too funny!
So Saturday morning 52 amazing runners will head off to run 100 miles through tough single track tails and 67 of us will head out to do a fraction of that distance. Let the fun begin.
#100happydays Day 84 Run for the Trails!
We are always happy when we have a local event to promote. Run for the Trails is a local event that will be held on September 14th, 2014 at Scanlon Creek just outside of Bradford, Ontario. Put on by the Friends of Scanlon Creek, this race will showcase all the work the group has been doing the last few years to make Scanlon an excellent place to run. Proceeds of the Run For The Trails will support of the revitalization of the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area.
The run, as you might have guess, is all on trails. Scanlon offers wide swooping double tracks, some challenging single track trails as well as lots of great hills with a little bit of woodwork thrown in for fun. The day includes challenging 7 Km trail run/walk and a fun 1 Km trail run/walk for a maximum of 150 enthusiasts.
#100happydays Day 59 Running the toughest ½ marathon
It’s been a couple of hours since we crossed the finish line at The North Face Endurance Challenge – Ontario at Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Collingwood Ontario. Reflecting back on the race, yes it really was one of the toughest ½ marathons we have completed.
The day started out early, we had to leave by 5:30am to get there for the 8am start and it was pouring rain. The only good thing about that was it wasn’t cold.
Blue Mountain village had been transformed into a great race expo. The North Face knows what they are doing with their Endurance Challenges. The race was organized, it was easy to find everything and the race started on time.
This was day two for the Endurance Challenge, yesterday the 50 mile, 50k and marathon races ran in the heat and humidity. Today was the ½ marathon, the 10k and the 5k in the rain.
The trails were slick, which might be too kind a word; it was like someone had poured oil on them.
The course sent us across the ski runs, and through mountain bike trails on an angle that slowly climbed up the slopes. The MTB tails were crazy slippery and at this point a little crowded, so we did a fair amount of walking or should I say slow slipping. Eventually we crossed over Scenic Caves Road into the Bruce Trail, where the rail turned a good deal more technical with the added fun of poison ivy.
The 12th side road gave us a taste of things to come, it seemed like the road perpendicular to the horizon, a very steep climb that made me wonder how people who lived on it ever got up it in the winter.
The most delightful part of the race was running through Scenic Cave’s cross country ski trails, wide, soft smooth rolling hills what were a joy to run. Then it was back on to the Bruce Trail, more rock, waterfalls, steep hills and descents and greasy trails – in general fun!
Oh yes then came the ski hills! Looking at the map of the course is deceiving. These hills were long and steep. You were either running up them or running down, with a little bit of treacherous MTB trail and slick woodwork thrown in for variety. By then the sun had come out and was beating down on us. Water was scarce and we weren’t the only runners cramping up. Luckily I was carrying Lava salts, Glenis and I downed those and we even handed out a few to a fellow runner who was having trouble.
We were so thankful to find the last aid station to full up on fluids. With only a kilometer and a half to go we were home free, or so we thought. The way home was a single track, downhill, that must have had a hundred slippery stone steps on them. It took us what seemed forever to get down those steps. The relief we felt when we hit the bottom was immense.
Then it was around the corner and out of the trees for the last 1/2k only to see our wonderful Newmarket Team Running Free friends Sandra and Jeff waiting for us. What a treat to have them run us in to the finish line after such an arduous ½. Would we do it again, yup, next year!