My Therapy.....18.5km of true bliss - Marathon Running ...

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My Therapy.....18.5km of true bliss

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon
β€’19 Replies

After a very exhausting, trying week culminating in me being a weepy mess in my office yesterday afternoon, I knew I had something wonderful to look forward to today - a trail hike/run with my dearest training partner. Despite very little sleep the last 2 nights and even less food and water in my system over the last 2 days, I picked up breakfast on my way home from work at 6 this morning, got my running gear sorted out, dropped kiddo off at school and drove out to the lake to pick up my friend and hit the trails. The plan was a 12-14k loop that is part of the 20k race I'm doing next fall that we haven't explored yet. But first, we had to remove flags from a different loop that were still up from the race a couple weeks ago. It was supposed to be a quick little jaunt in, up to the hill, pick up the flags and head over to the other trail head. We hit the first hill.... there are still flags there.....keep going.....still see more flags.....keep going (more hills! This was supposed to be our "warm-up"?!?). By 3 k of the 7k loop, we decided to turn around and leave the last 4K for next week if somebody else doesn't get to it first. So our couple k "easy" warm up turned into a 6k hilly trek.

We head over to the trail head....something is that 2 pit toilets, I see? Where did the structure go that used to surround them? They were in rough shape, I guess it was time to rebuild them...hope you weren't planning on using them before our trek. My bladder always seems to know when I'm near these pit toilets on any of my past training runs that went by them, but fortunately today my bladder took a pass πŸ˜….

I was the Queen of Faffage this morning on this portion of our run. It was only a couple degrees; since were planning on hiking most and running the easier bits, I knew it would be a longer adventure than usual. So I found an old backpack I had with a hydration bladder, brought water, snacks, and extra socks, just in case. After what seemed like an eternity, I got my stuff together and off we go. About 2 k in, once I got used to the feeling of running with a backpack, I realized I didn't lock the car. Oops. We're not going back, it is "off" season so hopefully nobody will even realize there is a car there.

The foliage was absolutely gorgeous today, a mix of reds, orange, and yellow. This is one of my favourite times of the year, but if you blink... it's gone, replaced by a blanket of snow. We kept things pretty relaxed today, aiming for an exploration expedition with hills, hills, and more hills, but not worrying about how much are we running vs hiking. The plan was to stop lots, take pictures, and make it about the adventure.

What a varied terrain we explored today. There were several bits crossing meadows, some undulating, some steady uphill, some flat. We had numerous water crossings: one with a sketchy rickety bridge, one with rocks to hop over and a third that was a smelly, slippery uphill mudfest adjacent to this beautiful pond up on a ledge. That one was tricky, but we managed to get through all crossings, dry with mud only on the feet. There were crazy steep hills with washout areas you climb up, hills that just seemed to go on and on, deer trails to traverse, junipers and roots underfoot, but with each hill that goes up, we must go down. I brought along my trekking poles today, and am so glad I did. Not only were they a godsend when climbing the hills, they also helped me keep my balance on the descent and more than once, saved me from falling sideways off the trail.

With trying to sidestep down a lot of the steeper descents, my training partner felt a ping in her knee about 10k into this loop (16k overall). We stopped and stretched, and slowed the pace down further. She was struggling a bit with the downhill portions jarring an old injury where her kneecap was shattered from being kicked by a horse 20 years ago so she took over the lead again and we strolled in for the last few km. She's going to rest it, ice it, roll her ITB and hopefully will be right as rain for a shorter trail run next week before our girl's trip in 2 weeks for our 12.5k trail race 🀞. We might've missed/forgotten/ignored the adage about only increasing mileage by 10% each week. Oops, rookie mistake. We're going to lose access to this trail pretty quick once they close the road, so we may have made the decision with our hearts instead of our heads today.

Overall we covered 18.5k, with 558m of elevation change. We weren't quick, taking 3 3/4 hours, but LOVED soaking in the beauty of our surroundings, taking many pictures, and just enjoying spending the morning with some quality friend time. I now know my poles will be a MUST for race day next year, as will full length tights to protect my legs and my lovely new compression socks which felt like a hug on my legs all day. I will also definitely be buying the Salomon s/lab Advance Skin 5l hydration vest I've had my eye on at some point in the next 6 months. My legs are feeling a little stiff already so will be using my recovery roller lots this weekend and boy oh boy, this lady is rungry. Given I burned 1375 calories on our trek today and was likely running a deficit over the last few days, why am I surprised πŸ˜†

19 Replies

Goodness Allie, that sounds exhausting but totally exhilarating too!

Kudos to you both on that adventure on a stunning but challenging trail.. ( is it marked well, or is it possible to get lost?)

Sorry to hear you have had a difficult and upsetting week at work...some time out with your lovely friend will have cheered you, but you must be exhausted. Look after yourself with some good food and rest up as much as you can...xx

You will need all of your strength for that race in 2 weeks time!

Hope you recover well and that your friend's knee is ok. (Denise?)

Great adventure Allie! 😊xxx

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Bluebirdrunner

I'm still up in cloud nine after our adventure yesterday. I slept like a baby and although I'm a little stiff today, I feel completely rejuvenated. It was Denise who was with me, she's my only friend crazy enough to do this stuff with me πŸ˜‚. Last night she told me her knee was still sore but after our adventure, she had to head to town to watch a volleyball tournament, so she was up and down bleachers all night. Hopefully she's had a chance to ice it and perform some stretches this morning.

Fortunately the trail is fairly well marked this year. It is in a provincial park and this spring they put up permanent markers on all the trails. It some spots they are a little spread out and there may be other trails crossing over since the majority are game trails. They've put large clusters of rocks in many of those spots to block the wrong trail so once you know how they've marked it, you can usually figure out where to go. On race day they have little pin markers with flags every few feet so it is very clearly marked. These trails are used by equestrian riders as well and they feel the pins are a hazard to the horses, so they all need to be pulled shortly after the race is done. The weather was really bad on the usual deflagging day, so there are still a few to be pulled. I would never do these trails alone because although I don't think you could get lost, as long as you could get to a ridge and see the direction of the lake to know what direction to head, you sure could be stuck in them a long time trying to find your way out. The trail extends right to the park boundaries, which always seemed so far when you're boating on the lake looking at it πŸ˜…. Of all the different trail loops we've explored this summer, this one is easily my favourite. It has such a variety in terrain and isn't just all big hills.

It looks stunning in the photos Allie, and the pics of you two will be treasured I'm sure 😊xx

What lovely scenery! You’ve had a horrible work week so trekking in the great outdoors is a tonic. I hope you feel more relaxed, eating better too. Sleep will follow πŸ‘

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Maybe58

It truly is. I could feel the stress oozing out of me the moment I hit the trails. This time of year is so gorgeous, it's hard to not feel at peace when you're completely surrounded by it. I slept so well last night, and even managed to sleep in until 8 am which is very unusual for me. All week I was waking up between 4 and 5 am. I feel like a new (more stable) person today.

linda9389Administrator in reply to SaskAlliecat

Sounds like perfect therapy for you after a rotten week. Hope you have a good day planned today. Is that burn in the first photo? or is it just black rock/earth?

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to linda9389

Depends on your idea of a good day - it's all about housework today but at least it isn't stressful πŸ˜†. It was an overcast day so the darkness in the picture is shadowing and low lying junipers. We're fortunate we didn't suffer from any of the forest fires this year like our neighbouring provinces.

linda9389Administrator in reply to SaskAlliecat

Hmm. Not my idea of a good day :) I saw so many burned areas in BC that that's what I automatically think when I see black ground. Nice to know it's naturally that way. Amazing running terrain :)

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to linda9389

BC won't look the same for awhile; at least not for a few years until the regrowth comes in


Sounds like an awesome adventure Sask! You can’t beat the fall foliage. And your take on the poles is interesting. I guess it is a must for that kind of terrain. Glad to hear it softened the life stress a bit too. I wish I knew about this running 20 years ago πŸ™‚

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Decker

I can't believe what a difference the poles make given the technical terrain. When it is a really steep uphill, it allows you to plant the poles in front of you, keeping your chest open and upright to allow for easier breathing instead of planting your hands on your thighs, bending at the waist and shrinking the chest cavity. It feels like it also helps to distribute the weight a bit so the legs feel less heavy on the climbs. And probably most important for this klutz, it also gives you 3 points of contact with the ground at all times which helps with this klutz' balance πŸ˜‚. It also helped to prevent sliding down on some of the steeper downhills. I know there is some controversy in the trail race community about using them and some races do not allow them. Fortunately for our race, they allow it and many of the 50k racers use them. I don't think the terrain on our next race is as rugged so will likely not use them then.

Running has helped me so much this last year and a half on my stress management. My husband has seen the difference it has made and has been quite supportive of the time and money I've been investing in it.

DeckerModerator in reply to SaskAlliecat

I might have to invest in the poles if I manage to get into the serious trails at some point. They really sound like a must.

That is awesome to hear. Stress operates in the back of our heads so we don’t always notice it until we feel something better. That’s what running does for me too. Life feels much simpler when you are in motion :). Probably because a good chunk of our brain is busy trying to keep us from face-planting 😁

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Decker

I think that is why I've really fallen in love with trail running. I have to clear my mind completely and focus on what I'm doing, I can't dwell on my life stress. If I let my mind wander at all, I end up flat on my face. It has become a real get away for me.

These are the poles I ordered. They're super light, fold up quickly to a very small package that is easy to hold and run if you're on a longer stretch where you don't need them, but have some adjustment to allow for differing lengths depending on what your need is. The price was ok, well they were cheaper than the hydration vest I'm looking at πŸ™„. I thought running was supposed to be cheap 🀣

Cheaper than therapy and way more fun! I often call my running my sanity time.

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Goforitmama

I can definitely tell when I'm not running regularly (as can my family). Although it is tougher getting out this time of year with the shorter days and lack of holidays, I'm trying to make it a priority. It is so worth the 30 minute drive to the lake when I can eke out enough time for a trail run with my bestie.


Goodness... what a run!!! Hope you are feeling recovered from your weekly trials and tribulations... What better way to recover...!

All good stuff to get you geared up for your next outing... well done you and what beautiful photographs too :) x

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Oldfloss

I'm feeling like a new person today! It was exactly what I needed. And we have plans to hit a 9k loop next week (which is Denise's favourite) so that should help me get through the next week. We'll see how much extra mileage we get in de-flagging some more πŸ˜†- it could turn into 16+km again.

You are both epic! What a run - getting rid of life's crap; time with a friend; enjoying that fantastic scenery. Therapeutic on every level. 18.5K!!! Awesome :) xx

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon in reply to Fishypieface

Thanks FPF. We're both feeling pretty good today. Can't wait to do it again (albeit shorter) next week!

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