Parenting

Pick Your Poison 25K: Race preview

To break up the monotony of training for an ultramarathon, Jennifer registers for a “tough, but fair” trail race.

My first race with a skull and crossbones as the logo. Should I be alarmed?

I expected training for my first ultramarathon to be all consuming, and that the training would be enough to keep me busy. But the Achilles 5K that I raced last month sparked my competitive edge. I started to find training runs to be monotonous and I realized I missed toeing the start line. Unfortunately, most of the races close by are short distance road races, which are fun, but wouldn’t add to my training. I need longer races run on trails.
 
Enter the Ontario Ultra Series race calendar.
 
I’d been obsessing over this trail running race calendar since it went live last year. All of the races are affordable, well within driving distance and each have a certain element of crazy that appeal to me. With the Creemore Vertical Challenge 25K already on the calendar (a Christmas gift from my husband), the Pick Your Poison 25K is perfect because a) it gets me out of running another 20 miler and b) tempers my trail race fever. 
 
This year, Pick Your Poison is Saturday, April 28 at 9:00 a.m. There are 12.5K, 25K and 50K options (for the 25K, I’ll be doing two laps of the 12.5K course). Held in Orillia at Horseshoe Highlands, race director Adam Hill describes the Pick Your Poison trail race course to be “tough, but fair”. It is his fourth year as race director and each year his team works to make the race better for runners. T-shirts, finisher’s socks, locally produced honey and a post-race BBQ are all part of your registration fee ($55 for my late registration). Following Adam’s blog on the Pick Your Poison website, he’s been busy clearing and marking the course since March, promising it will be less confusing than in previous years and that the first 3K of the 12.5K loop will be flat. It takes place on a ski hill, after all. Adam also says that the course will be tame, since it’s the first one on the Ontario Ultra Series calendar, but after seeing the words hill, downhill, half pipe and hill (again), I’m just hoping that the hill scrambling I’m doing on my own will be enough. That said, after reading Trail Mom’s 2011 race report of Pick Your Poison, I’m starting to think I need to spend the week doing hill repeats!
 
Want to join me on race day? Online registration is open until April 25, no race day registration. No guarantee on a t-shirt, but I’d say free coffee, muffins and pastries before the race (seriously, how can you not want to become a trail runner?) is worth the price of admission.