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100 MILES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSINGI was far less confident about finishing this year’s Haliburton Forest 100 Mile Trail Run than I have ever been. I started out the year with a target to run 51 marathon‐distance runs this year because I turned 51 years old in June and because, like many of my other poor decisions, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. So my weekly running schedule included a marathon almost every weekend, except the weekend I was on vacation in Cuba (gimme a rest, ok?). With this aggressive running schedule, it was a challenge to mould it into a decent training plan for a 100 miler. And living in a city with no rough terrain trails, I had a really hard time fitting in hill training, and time in the gym for core and lower leg strength training. But after connecting with Habitat for Humanity to conduct a fundraiser, and recruiting the world’s most dedicated crew for the run, there was no turning back.
On the road. All of the miles of training runs are done. Packed,energetic, ready to get to the race site and get it started.
I travelled up to the run with a group. Christine and Tim are good friends who would be running the 26km run, then pace running with me through the night. And Carter is my son, the software developer, who hadcommitted to meet me at every aid station and track my time, fluids, calories, electrolytes, etc. If you were at the run, you would recognize him as the 6’‐11” tall guy with the laptop and dress shoes. We arrived early, picked up the race packs, set up our tents, and had time to talk with other runners, volunteers, and to Helen Malmberg, the race director. I showed off my new Haliburton Forest 100 Mile tattoo to Helen, and she showed me hers. I chatted with Jack Judge who was going to make a 7th attempt at this 100 miler; he said he was pretty confident he could finish this year.Christine was still not sure about running on a strained Achilles tendon, and she and Tim were both a little apprehensive about their first trail run.
Setting up camp, not far from the finish line and the washrooms…
Taking care of business. (That’s normal in a campground, right?)
Gatorade, shoes, T.P., electrolytes, Boost, extra socks, check.
The Friday night pasta dinner was mandatory for the 100 mile runners. We were given the rules and guidelines for the run, and each runnerintroduced themselves. There seemed to be more first time 100 milers than ever, and it seemed to me that a lot of the veteran runners were there as volunteers, as if making way for the new “kids”.The weather was great for tenting, with a low of around 10°C, clear and calm, with an amazing almost full moon.I got up at 4am, and was relaxed, dressed, and ready to go at the starting line for the 5:45 roll call, opening prayer, and piper’s walk to the starting line. And we were off at 6am sharp, a 130‐strong group of 100 mile, 50 mile and 50 km runners, most with head lamps on in the dark coolmorning.
Gathering for the opening prayer and piper’s walk to the starting line, 6am.
The first 6km is on an open road, followed by 4km of quick ups and downs on the NormacTrail, full of rocks and roots; kind of a teaser to the rest of the course. After the Normac trail and aid station 2 (one of the two aid stations with an outhouse, by the way), was 4km on Poacher’s Trail with less rocks and roots, but more big hills, followed by Aid Station 4. The next 10 km was the toughest on the course, The Pass, Redstone Vista, Ben’s Trail, and Krista with huge never‐ending hills, tons of rocks and roots and narrow twists and turns, as well as plenty of calf length grass to hide tripping hazards. And there were even a couple of patches of waist deep thorn bushes to add a little blood‐letting to the run, for those of us wearing shorts.
I was glad to get to Aid Station 5 because I knew that from there to aid station 6 then 7 included easier sections of the course. By the time I was done the first quarter, my stomach was very upset, I wasn’t processing very much of what I was consuming. I think it was the milk products in the Boost I was drinking, so I stopped using Boost, and started eating every solid food I could find at the aid stations. There was chicken soup at most of the aid stations, and it worked really well for me, so it became my new favourite food. I also had plain potato chips, boiled potatoes, a variety of sandwiches, rice crispy squares, and the famous burritos from aid station 6 (thanks, Gary). So for the second quarter I was struggling a little with dehydration, but gaining ground, and really loving the chicken soup. I was able to finish the first half faster than ever, but my lack of hill training was really starting to show itself; my quads and the front of my shins were really sore by the half way point. Some added arthritis pain thrown into the mix made this one of those “character building”runs.
Plenty of rocks and roots, bridges and beautiful scenery on the first half of the run.
Plenty of stumbles, one fall, but not to worry, I was carrying my own “crumple zone” tin can.
Half way, 50 miles, still smiling, starting to feel pretty sore.
By sunset I was well into the second half of the run, and was joined by Tim at about 11pm. He ran with me for 15 km, then Christine joined me for 15 km. While running with Christine, I was past the three quarters mark, and getting really tired (on top of the “really sore”). I had the feeling you get when you’re driving and can’t get your eyes to focus; my brain just wanted to sleep. So I thought of what I would do if I was driving. Munching on something would normally help me stay awake, so I started slowly chewing on sesame snaps, those delicious little toasted crunchy sweet wafers, and it helped me fight off “the darkness” that I had experienced last year.Tim joined me again, and we ran/walked through the sunrise. I was getting more and more stiff, and thinking that I really should have done more hill training. I was physically beat, but still able to move forward, and by this time I was just feeling like a machine. Even if I had low confidence going in, a lot of other people seemed to be confident I could do it, so I didn’t even entertain a thought of quitting.
The same rocks and roots, bridges and bogs as the first half, but this time mostly in the dark.
I was on my own for the last 10 km. I knew I was close to a personal best time, so I picked up the pace as I ran around Macdonald Lake on the Normac Trail, and actually passed a couple of runners. But by the time I got to the East Road for the last 6km, I knew I wouldn’t beat my best time, but I could still finish quicker than last year. So I crossed the finish line, running and carrying the Canadian flag, at 29:07:45, 23rd of the 28 runners who finished.
FINISH LINE!! IT’S THE FINISH LINE!! 29hours, 7 minutes.
Jeff Ashizawa was the first across the finish line at 19:49:45, followed by Dale Draastra at 19:58:15 and Ken Moon at 21:10:50. Kinga Miklos and Iris Cooper crossed the finish line together at 22:45:13, and Lisa Van Wolde was the third female finisher at 23:29:15. There were 48 runners who started the 100 mile run, and 28 finished.A few days after the run I’m still sore, and sporting a couple of nasty bruises from a fall on Ben’s trail, but overall uninjured, and looking forward to getting my running shoes back on, and getting into a two‐marathons‐per‐week routine before the end of the year.There is no way that I would have finished this run without all of the help and encouragement I received from Tim, Christine, Carter, and all of my friends who believed in me more than I believed in myself. THANKS!!THE FUNDRAISER: Over $2,000.00 has been donated to Habitat for Humanity, who passes along their thanks for your support!!
My third Haliburton Forest 100 Mile belt buckle.
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