"Are you military or doing this for pleasure?"
The greatest words anyone has ever uttered to me while running. I was tickled.
I haven't been great about updating this blog, but thought I would for this run. Originally I'd planned to do it with Luc but someone's rampaging case of the olds means he's stopped running (still hikes) and so I was solo for this unsupported run.
The Frontenac Perimeter is, as the name suggest, the perimeter of the quite substantial network of trails in the park. So I ran a lot of trails, but just bits.
I got an early start on the day (ughh, 4:45 am) and drove to the park, eating two Stinger Waffles on the way (for what,230-250 calories? Big start to the day me, way to fuel! I ate lots Friday night though, and my stomach has been very temperamental lately, so I was a bit nervous about taking in the number of calories I normally would for a run this long. I stopped by Derrick's first - on Friday, I was telling him that I couldn't decide whether to use a bottle or bladder for the run - he suggested a 2L bladder, which I no longer have - but he had extras of some with kinked hoses he couldn't sell - and my 1L bladder has a compatible hose - so I stopped by. Picked up the bladder, got some Clif swag (he is a sponsored athlete) and met the dogs. Nice to see him and Sara.
Then it was off to the park - I got there just before 8:30 when the office opens, perfect, went in and got my pass. Headed off the the big parking lot, did all my stuff, including spraying my legs with DEET as protection against ticks (early season this year - the DEET was running out of course) and set off by about 8:45. Perfect.
The first bit went by quickly - I ran part of the perimeter at the start of April with a fastpack, so it was fresh in my mind. I did the southern section first, at Derrick's suggestion, but I concurred - it is the most technical and it's best to get that out of the way while you are fresh. And damn is it technical in places. It's tiring, not because of the hills (though there are some) but because it's just so technical. As a comparison, if you've run Haliburton - it's not a comparison. Near the junction to campsite cluster 1, the trail gets a bit less technical for awhile, and it was near here I ran into the hiker who asked me if I was in the military. Best. He'd seen two runners out on the trails the day before, so presumably was aware that non-military run, which just made it even more flattering.
I stopped for a needed bathroom break at cluster 1 - thank you, unreliable stomach! - and headed on. I took a couple of pics in the next section, my only ones of the day.
This is a neat part that doesn't really show up here - you are running on a narrow bit of land with lakes on either side. Very cool.
Then I saw a barred owl! COOL! So I took a terrible picture - the zoom on the iPhone isn't very good. The owl is in the bottom left-hand corner.
I had lost the trail a few times, to my chagrin, but shortly after crossing a bridge I just flat out lost it. Spent a while looking for it! It felt like ages but I'm sure wasn't. Still, a waste of time.
I had set a goal for myself, if you know the park, of getting to campsite cluster 5 by around 3 hours - I beat it by a couple of minutes. Pleased with myself, and pleased that I was done the most technical part of the run, I planned on making good time.
Of course, I positive splitted the run. Not that I had thought I'd do anything else, but I was hoping for a little less of a positive split. I got to the old logging road section happy for some faster running, and I'm not sure I did that, but at least it was mostly steady. This was my first indication though that the technical stuff had made me tired enough that walking hills seemed like a great idea.
At least this section wasn't muddy. Derrick figured the Corridor Trail would the worst, but frankly the whole Rideau section was pretty muddy, and bits of the park throughout. I was caked by the end, and I even tried to avoid the worst of it (as if).
I got to the turn off for the northern sections, happy happy happy! But hungry. For this run, I was fueling with Infinit, meaning I was drinking all my fuel. And my stomach REALLY wanted something solid (note to self: when doing unsupported runs, there are not aid stations to grab a quick snack from). Luckily I had taken on of the Shot Blok packs Derrick gave me, so I had half at 3.5 hours and it really hit the spot - had the section half at 4.5 hours.
I was also very thirsty. I think I was taking in enough calories, as I didn't bonk, but experience has also shown me I need to be running a pretty decent calorie deficit to bonk. The Infinit was just not quenching my thirst - I was SO thirsty - I probably wasn't drinking enough, in hindsight, and I'd also forgot my salt caps though the Infinit I have does have some electrolytes. So I started taking my supplemental electrolytes, and when I got to a clear stream, I stopped, washed my face, then drank from my hand the water. SO good. Somewhat refreshed, I pressed on.
The northern section of the park is hillier. Southern Ontario hilly, and even then, it could be hillier, but hilly enough. Especially when you are tired. I started walking the hills, and walking some of the muddy sections, or the technical bits - a sure sign I was flagging, and it meant I was walking too much. A challenge with a solo run like this is motivation - at a race, it's a RACE, and there is people around - here, even though I wanted to do a good (for me) time, when my mind starts saying 'Who cares about time' there aren't people around like at races to get me going again.
Still, I pushed through it, and ran when I could. I started to run into more people - the northern section was busy - also, hikers/backpackers are easily startled. I announce myself, but apparently I run quietly. Actually, more people around did get me running more.
I stopped at campsite cluster 11 for another bathroom break (sigh) and to refuel. I dumped out what remained of my bladder (and while I wasn't doing terribly, I could've been drinking more). Here it was annoying - the bladder wouldn't fill with water enough. I had to take off my shoes and socks, and wade out into the lake (taking advantage to drink some more water) and fill up the bladder that way. I got the purifier in it, and the Infinit, reattached the hose, then washed out my socks (why not, it was a long stop anyways) before heading off again. I left feeling quite refreshed.
I knew at this point I was getting closer and closer to the end. I had been told the perimeter was 50k, but I also knew from reading some blogs that everyone's GPS showed around 46k - and the elevation is not enough to account for a mis-read, and, well, April - not a lot of tree cover. So I was excited, but tempering my excitement because if I got it in my head that it was 46k and it ended up being 50, those last 4k would suck. Stopped to check the map a few times and estimate distance.
Got to the Birch Lake Trail - walked more here, because the leaves were quite deep in places, and I couldn't see what I was stepping on. Let's just say I walked a lot the second half of the run. But, I knew I was closer to the end, and when I got the Arkon Trail, memories of the best backpacking trip ever (4 silly girls) came back and I cheerfully kept on. I was checking the map a lot, and when I got to the Bufflehead Trail intersection, I estimated another 4k left, for about 47k on the day.
Crossing the access road back to the Corridor Trail was amazing. I headed down the Corridor Trail, and got back to the car with 46.92k on the Garmin - go distance estimating skills!
Things that worked well:
-my Sugoi gripper shorts. The grippers mean the legs don't ride up. And the chamois somehow fell out (WTH) so that they are tri shorts isn't annoying.
-the Infinit - I could've drank more, but it kept me from bonking. I think I would've had more energy if I'd drank more though, or more motivation. And been less thirsty.
-S!Caps - the electrolyte tabs, when I started taking them, helped.
-Clif Shot Bloks - I need solid food on runs that long, particularly when I have such a small breakfast. They were amazing. At least, I need something sitting in my stomach.
-bladder - it's harder to figure out how much I'm taking in - enough, but not too much, or too little - but it meant less stops.
Things that could work better:
-my t-shirt - shorter sleeves, and I got some arm chafing.
-Drymax socks - I hate to say this, because these are supposed to be the anti-blister socks - but I had rubbing under my arches that was uncomfortable and annoying. This is the second time in wet conditions this has happened. Perhaps though, in other socks, they would've formed blisters. I don't know, the jury is out on that one.
-psoas - I think, if I have my muscle groups right, this is the cause of my significant lower back pain as the run went on. It was sore last week too. While my hip flexor is fine again (yay!), not loving this. I need to see Andrew. I suspect it is carrying the pack over a longer period of time - all my longer runs lately I've been using bottles for, and just recently switched back to a pack.
-breakfast - I need to eat a proper one. Not too much else to say on that.
Total - 46.92k, moving time 7:08