This was my first ever Ontario Ultra Series race! Since I ran 50k three weeks ago and my 50M training is about to start, my plan was to run this as a training race. The race started at 8am with race pickup until 7:30am. The race start was about half an hour (without traffic) from my house so I decided I should leave around 6:30 to get there in time and leave a little bit of extra time so I wasn’t stressing about being late.
I pulled out of the driveway at 6:30, right on schedule! Until I was almost at the highway entrance and realized that I forgot to bring an extra pair of shoes and I knew there would be a water crossing near the finish and I wouldn’t want to drive home in wet shoes, so back home I went. After this slight detour, my GPS had me arriving at the race at 7:10am, still pretty on time. Everything from then on went according to plan and I got there just when the GPS predicted. There was tons of parking and the start/finish line was a school where we could use the change rooms and washrooms, which was really convenient!
I picked up my race kit, fiddled around and went to the washroom and then I still have a lot of time so I ate a banana, went to look at the start line and went to the washroom again. Then 10 minutes before the race, I went and lined up and at 8am, we were off!
The race starts on gravel paths and then goes briefly on to a road before getting into single track trail. The trail conditions were great but it was a cloudy and humid day. And about an hour in it poured rain for a few minutes but then stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. The first half of the race was uneventful except that the trail had lots of roots and I kept tripping but catching myself before I fell.
Because it was an out and back when you approached the turn around, you could see the people in front coming towards you. I also like that you know exactly what the trail will be like on the way back. I stopped to refill my water bottle and then went right back to it. It was super hot and humid by this point.
I knew that the water crossing was 2k from the finish line but when I was almost at there, one of the roots finally got me and I tripped on it. Good thing I fell last week too because now I’m a pro at it!
Going into the cold water was great, I’m sure I would not have felt so positively about it if the weather hadn’t been so hot or if I was running 50k and would be running the next 25k+ with wet feet! After I got across, I was told that it was 2k to the finish. I had been following another woman on and off for the whole race. She would race off ahead and then somehow she always ended up back right in front of me. After the water crossing, she sped up and I decided to follow. I was running much faster than I ever run on the trails but I figured with 2k left, I wouldn’t be a big deal. Then we hit 2k and we weren’t at the finish line, it turns out it is closer to 3k. That isn’t a big difference but I hate thinking that I’m close enough to use all my energy and then it turns out to be farther.
Anyway, we made it to the finish and got a medal and a flower (the one on the right). I really like that flowers were being handed out, mine is even still alive a week later. Overall, I think it was a great race. It was well marked, the aid stations were well stocked (and even had watermelon) and it was close enough to the city to be just a quick drive in the morning.
Next up is Sulphur Springs, I am running 20k as part of 100 mile relay.
Happy running until then!