Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My First Trail Run

I arrived in the parking lot of Kains Woods almost a half hour early but felt a bit better seeing another gentleman in his car waiting already. 

I was excited about my first trail run with the LondonPacers.  Having read and learned from others about how trail running can benefit you, I was determined to incorporate running trails into my existing training program.

I closed my eyes, listening to all the birds singing their happy songs. It was a very cool, cloudy and breezy morning. Then runners started to show up. There was a warm welcome and we started off running.  The gentlemen who was sitting in his car, Carl, was our awesome pacer! I felt really great and having only run 7K since my Toronto race, I felt happy to see my old self back. I was light, fast, and smooth. I enjoyed running with the pack and the conversations were great. We had mini stops to enjoy the beautiful scenery or watch the eagles nest with their two new chicks! 

Our pacer at some point said: “This is the 10K point and I’m heading back”. I decided since I was having a great run and enjoying myself I would continue with that pack for 12K. I really enjoyed running through the woods. The sun was out at this time, the river was full and moving fast. There is something magical about running in the woods among the trees. 


I had forgotten my Garmin at home! At first, I wished I had it with me but then knowing I was coming back to my normal running routine today, the pace was not important. I knew I wanted to have a good run and put in at least 12K. I gradually started feeling that the pace was too fast for me and I wasn’t breathing easily. I took my hydration belt and my jacket off around my waist to allow me to breath well. It helped a little. At this point there were only 4 of the original 7. I said are we going to have any breaks soon and the guys replied with this is as much as break you get and kept running. I told them this is a bit fast for me and I’ll wait for Eric and Doris. At this point, I took time to fix my belt and tie my jacket around and just rest. When Eric and Doris came I told them I had trouble keeping up with them and wished Carl was still pacing.

Our little pack had a good pace, not too slow and not too fast. Soon, I realized there were more uphills going back than down hills! I’ve been running seriously since Sept 2013 training mostly in Springbank Park and some long runs with my Running Room buddies on the road. My daughter and I always complain when we start our run as the first 1.5K is hilly! But boy these hills were up and down; up and down; up and more up; and omg! They kicked my butt! I was exhausted with nothing left in the tank! I mean, yes, my iron is low and I had not run regularly but I SUCK in hills! Those hills that I run in Springbank or on the road are not comparable to what I experienced today!

At one point, the other two waited for me to catch up. Eric said this course is a bit tough for a first timer. I agreed with him that I should have gone back with Carl at the 10K point. 

As if this was not enough, my right big toe that has given me problems for a long time hit a root hidden under leaves and I went down with my knees and palms down and I bounced back up. I laughed saying well, what’s a first trail run without falling ;-) It did not hurt at the time but now I can feel the big toe is feeling really BIG although it has remained the same size! haha!

We were almost done and I had nothing left in the tank. I walked the last few hundred meters with another runner and told her I sucked big time! But I loved it. I’m coming back to conquer those hills. When we got back to the group I smiled and said this was a great butt-kicking experience and I loved it! We were going to go for a coffee when I realized my car key was missing ;(

Yes. Exhausted, clumsy, low iron, wet, and now no car keys! I made a really good impression with the London Pacers ;-) ! I must have dropped my key when I got my belt off in the woods. My new hydration belt has a nice size pocket for my phone but the separate compartment doesn’t have zippers like my old pouch! I guess next time I should use a safety pin to keep my keys safe.

CAA kept saying please hold and I had no patience as I was getting too cold and hungry! I asked Doris, since they were going for coffee, if they could drop me off to somewhere when I heard another runner say well Doris, I'll take her. He smiled saying, “I’m Peter, her husband. Don’t think I’m just some random guy saying I take her”. It was funny. I told him how my cell phone and my extra car key got stolen from my trunk on my first running training back in Sept! And now losing my 2nd key on my first day of trail running! We had a good conversation about running and I learned about Goofy and Dopey runs in Disney! We runners are INSANE but trail runners are more INSANE J

He dropped me off at my ex’s. My plan was to get a ride from him to my car dealership to cut a key and go back to my car. No CAA please on Saturday morning. I was expecting to hear a big fat NO from him. But as soon as I started telling him about my key, he went to his bedroom and came back with a key!!! O_0! Evidently, he had made himself an extra key before we had separated! Good thing he’s not a psycho! I was very happy to see that key. He gave me a ride back (surprisingly) to my car and I drove home!

Thank you to everyone for being super supportive and very kind. Doris for offering to share her GU Energy, Peter for giving me a ride and sharing awesome race stories, Eric for really watching over me, Michael for giving me his sweater, Bill from MEC London for sharing info and giving me wonderful tips, Carl for being a fantastic pacer, and everyone else for your smiles and warm welcome. Thank you.

The passion for trail running has kicked in big time! I have been going for long walks in some of the more familiar woods in the heart of London. But with London Pacers, I’m sure that not only can I step up my game in terms picking up new skills, but I can also learn about trails to take  my son on and just appreciate being with nature. I can't wait to go back.

My first pair of trail running shoes were Brooks purchased from MEC London.
Thank you to the young lady who patiently helped me till eventually I found a perfect pair!

Photo Sources:  Let me know if it's yours and I will credit you.


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