Where to start... This was one of the hardest races of my life!! Not because of the distance, but because of the conditions that we had to endure.
Haliburton 100 is a twice out and back course:
Friday September 7th, 2012
Corey and I arrived in the forest at approximately 2:00pm, giving us plenty of time to get set up and settled in. The sun was blazing and the conditions were perfect!! I was nervous, but excited to get thing going. This was going to be Corey's first 100 miler and my first 100 miler in Ontario! Our plan was simple: to run the entire course together and just keep each other moving!!
We picked up our race kits and got our tent set up, then headed out to show the aid stations to my parents, who were our official CREW for the race. My dad, who just turned 70, and my mom run a crew like a NASCAR pit! It's actually unbelievable! (but that's probably a blog post itself)... Just as we hit the last aid station, it started to drizzle slightly, so we quickly headed back to camp to get my parents tent set up. Just as we arrived it started to pour CATS AND DOGS!! Absolute torrential rain! UGH!
"Don't worry" I told myself, "this rain can't last". (boy was I wrong)
Corey and I headed over to the cookhouse for our pre-race meal and race meeting. Now, I normally don't attend the pre-race pasta meals, as the nervous energy in the room makes me even more anxious. This time I was a little better, as I ignored any talk about race strategies etc.
Immediately after dinner Corey and I went to bed, we wanted to get a full 8 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, there was so much noise in the campsites we were lucky to get more than a few hours!
It poured all night long and our tent became somewhat like a pool by 2am! FUN!
We woke up at 4:15am to pouring rain, lightening and thunder! We ate a light breakfast of Stoked Oats (Mmmmmmm) and had some coffee. At about 5:30am our teammate and training partner Jay Richardson (who was running his 1st 50 miler) and his wonderful girlfriend Andrea Scheer-Hennings came over to our site. We slowly made our way over to the startline. At this point I was more excited than anything, my nerves had almost completely disappeared :)
The lovely race director (Helen Malmberg) counted down from 10, and we were off!! We started down the first stretch of road, being sure not to take off too quickly. I was feeling great, legs were really 'there' today. We entered into the first section of trail, the 'Normac Trail'. The rain was absolutely insane at this point and I could barely see where I was going! The trail was a complete mess, nothing but mud, mud and some more MUD!! It was horrible, but I was completely in the zone and nothing could stop me from moving forward.
I could tell by the way that Corey was running that he was in the zone too!! He was so fast and smooth, every step seemed effortless.
We entered into the next section of trails and continued to move smoothly and effortlessly. At times Corey and I would reflect on just how much we love the trails and love being out there together. It was truly amazing! Our pace was steady, holding back slightly to ensure we would finish strong.
THE RAIN WOULD NOT STOP!! The trails began to disintegrate into complete mush! There was nowhere 'good' to step anymore, there was no point in tying to keep our feet dry.
At about the 35k mark Jay told us to go ahead, as he needed to slow down a bit. He had held on so strong and run amazingly up to that point. REALLY IMPRESSIVE.
To be honest, I don't remember much from 40km to 80km!! I know it was tough, I know the trails were a mess, but I can't remember specifics. All I remember are my parents and Corey's parents at each aid station cheering us on and pushing us to keep moving. I also remember Corey telling me to "dig deep" and that I "was doing great".
We hit the 50mile mark in 10:30 and headed back out, at this point we knew we were going to finish! Afterall, the last 50 miles are run with the heart, not with the legs ;)
Now I must say that Corey and I both suffered tremendously over the next 50 miles. EVERYTHING hurt, yet somehow we were able to keep moving forward. We pushed each other the entire way and wouldn't let each other quit!
The uphills had turned into mudslides and it was nearly impossible to gain traction. I almost broke a few times! I just didn't feel like I was getting anywhere, it was extremely frustrating. But Corey just kept pushing me along, believing in me every step of the way.
As we were about to enter into the last 10km stretch of trail, I glanced behind me and saw what I believed to be another female runner!! I had been in the lead for the entire race, and start to think "was I going to lose this in the last 10k?!?!" Doubt started to set in and I truly thought I might lose the lead... So what did we do? WE RAN!! FASTER THEN WE HAD THE ENTIRE DAY! We ran the entire last 12km (10km on the loop, then 2km back to the finish), including all the uphills! I almost gave into my doubt a few times on the trail, but Corey wouldn't let me quit. He kept pushing me. Once we got back on the road, I knew that I had opened up my lead considerably. At one point Corey turned to me and said "this isn't running, this is sprinting!!". But I was a woman on a mission, I wasn't going to give up without a fight! I really wanted this win, more than anything. As we turned the corner back onto the main road, we were flying!! Running with every ounce of energy we could muster. We crossed the finish line together, side-by-side.
A huge smile came over my face as I was told "1st place woman"!!! :) Yippie!!!
After we finished Corey informed me that it was not a woman that I saw coming up behind me before we entered the last Normac Loop, it was a male racer!! I was over 1.5 hours ahead of the 2nd place woman! He just knew that I would push myself harder if I thought I had to fight for the win! (ARGH!!!) Well, it WORKED! (tricky tricky)
I learned a lot about myself during this race (a lot that I probably should've already known). I'm a hell of a lot tougher then I give myself credit for. I can push, even when I feel like I have nothing left AND I am a talented runner (something I often doubt).
Corey finished his first ever 100 miler in 7th place!! He just started running in February of this year, SIMPLY AMAZING! He helped me realize how strong I am and what I am capable of. He also told me he wouldn't put up with me doubting myself anymore! LOL!
AND, I WILL BE A HAPPY GIRL IF I NEVER SEE MUD AGAIN!!!!
HUGE THANKS TO:
My mom and dad
Corey's mom and dad
**My sponsor: Inov-8
and all of the wonderful volunteers!!