Held at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre in Mansfield, Ontario, the Tread Epic 6-Hour Trail Race
for solo runners like myself consisted of a 6.5K loop that I got to run over and over and over again.
My big goal was to hit 50K in six hours and at a minimum, 43K. Why 50K or 43K? 50K is generally the distance of a true ultra (versus a timed event like I competed in) and 43K is longer than a full marathon. But on race day I faced a hilly course with lots of loose sand, the heat and then a visit by Aunt Flo meant I knew that 50K wasn't likely to happen.
(A whole other post on running and periods will follow shortly — feel free to tweet me your tips and questions to @jenpinarski
to be included).
The course didn't look hilly, but the first 2K was a steady uphill that was deceptively tough. Two steep hills in the middle and the last 1K was a fast downhill. I wouldn't call the course technical, but there were enough exposed roots that I never really looked up often, which was a shame, because it is a gorgeous location. Another local blogger
who also ran Tread on Sunday remarked that there were many uphills and never enough corresponding downhills. I followed my race plan perfectly: The first two laps I went out fast-ish and ran most of it. The middle three laps I ran the flat section, walked the hills and tried to stave off boredom. My sixth lap was a struggle mentally. I was bored out of my mind and walked most of the time and my lap mantra became "walk like you mean it".
Surprisingly, the six hours went fast. The cut-off for starting a final lap was 3:51 p.m., and I was easily under that, starting my seventh and final lap at 3:20 p.m. There was one other solo woman I chatted with who despite having a tough run, was hard to stay ahead of. She was wonderful to chat with and placed third last year. We took turns passing each other when in the final lap I was able to pull ahead of her.