Showing posts with label Canadian Death Race Training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canadian Death Race Training. Show all posts

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012: A Year In Review

I don't even know where to start with this one, it has been quite the year for this lil' ole barefoot runner from Winnipeg, Canada. I started off with some basic goals which included running 1,000 barefoot miles, finish a Half Marathon in under two hours and continue to push myself to further distances, I had wanted to run my first 50 miler (boy did I miss that target).

My biggest intention was to just go out and run, have some fun and hopefully help some other runners along the way. I quickly realized that I am not the fastest runner and will never compete for to many first place finishes. But that being said, my philosophy has become, start with a smile and finish with a smile, if I can do that they I have won.

Here is a quick recap of the year that was 2012:

January:
  1. Polar Bare Run: A 650m dash around the Formal Gardens at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg with a twist. The twist being this is the Polar Bare Run. My running attire for this one was a kilt, hat and gloves. Yes I barefooted it and I am Scottish so you can fill in the blanks. It was a great run until we turned the corner and hit the wind (-30ish with the WC). It was a little nipple-ly for sure. See link here, Polar Bare Run
  2. I started my strength and core training with my personal trainer Carolyn. Basically she kicked my rear end into submission and made me all the more stronger for it. How I was going to need all of that later on in the year.
February:
This was where all the craziness started, and I can either blame my wife or thank her profusely, I am not sure which.
  1. Registration for the Canadian Death Race: I almost fell out of my chair when Nicole asked me if I wanted to put together a relay team for the 2012 race. After I put my jaw back into place, I went into hyperdrive to find a couple of other crazy runners who would want to do this with us. Well I found one, my buddy Dan had wanted to run this as well for years but could not find anybody who was willing to run it. Well that was it, I registered us as a 3 person team and 'Up A Mountain With No Shoes' was born. You could not wipe the smile off of my face for a week. At least until I started trying to figure out how to train for this being flatlanders from Manitoba. See link here CDR Training and CDR 2012
  2. The 120 Day Running Challenge: I started a challenge to run 120 straight days with logging at least a mile. This does not sound like much but it was really not easy to do, there are just some days when you just don't want to run. But that being said I started and I finished. 120 Day Challenge
March / April:
  1. March and April were event free months, just CDR training and logging more daily miles. The real fun began in May.
May:
  1. The Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon: This was suppose to be my first sub 2:00 half mary, well it was and it wasn't. But I am ok with that see link WPS Half Mary
  2. The Manitoba Trail 50km Ultra: This was the long overdue event from the previous year that unfortunately got cancelled due to all the flooding out at Spruce Woods. Dwayne Sandall put on a great event, and one that I will definitely be back to run again. See link here, Spruce Woods 
  3. Med City Marathon: This was a great event, Nicole and I travelled to Rochester, MN to run this one. We met some great people, had a lot of fun. We got to run with some awesome barefoot runners including Christian (Maple Grove Barefoot Guy), Katey and Andrew. This was my first above 90 degree F race, it was so hot, I had to be careful not to burn my barefeet. No PB for this one, it was all about the fun.
June:
  1.  CDR Training Camp: This was our first look at the CDR course. An absolute must for runners who seriously want to run The Death Race. Not only do you get to run or bike the entire course over the weekend, but you get to meet other runners who are also running and those that have run it before. Valuable experience to be tapped. Further to this the camp is ran by Dale Tuck the creator of the Death Race with the help of Tracey Garneau, expert advice for sure. Some great friendships were developed at this weekend. See the following links, CDR Day One ; CDR Day One Part Two and CDR Day 2 .
July:
  1. Where's The Beach? Stead MB: A unique event with a 33km running trail race running the same course and time as a 33, 66 and 100km mountain bike event. Of course I ran the event, because my biking skills suck. It was a blast, and I am definitely looking at doing it again. See the following link, Stead, MB.
August:
  1. The Canadian Death Race: All I can say is this was bloody awesome, Team Up A Mountain With No Shoes' finished the race, and we all did fantastic. Check it out at the following link: CDR, 2012.
  2. Dirty Donkey 5km Obstacle Race: This was a blast, my local Hash House Harriers run group put together a team for this and we ran it hard and had a fun time completing it. Basically a local version of the Tough Mudder series put on by our Adventure Racer extraordinaire John Ford of the Swamp Donkey racing events. I had a blast doing this barefoot and without my glasses (if you know me I am virtually blind without my glasses), so my teammates had to call out all obstacles and other areas of concern to me so I could make it safely through. Somehow I did make it through just in time for the beer.
September:
  1. Lost Soul 100 mile Ultra Marathon: This was my first attempt at a 100 miler in Lethbridge, nothing like picking a hard one first time out right. I ran this race with a good friend Scott Burton who 'convinced' me that I should give it a try by twisting my rubber arm. Anyway, I ended up DNF'ing it but I did complete 100km of the event so I was very happy with that. I am going back this fall if I get in to complete it. Let me say I am determined and my knee is not going to tell me no this time.
  2. Swamp Donkey Adventure Race: The original event put on by John Ford out in the Whiteshell Provincial Park located in eastern Manitoba. This event includes a 10km plus canoe, 30ish km bike through trails and a good quantity of running (about 10km) all mixed together with orienteering. Our team consisted of 3 rookies (myself, Gail E and Peter S), who despite the weather and really not knowing what the heck we were doing finished in the Top 15 for the team event. We had a great time, and yes you will see us back out there again trying to improve on our time. Anybody who likes something a little different, this is a event worth checking out.
October:
  1. Paramedic Fire Fighters Half Marathon: A race that in its first year of existence exceeded all expectations. First of all it sold out not once but twice, as there was such a response the race director, John T had to open up more spots and those quickly sold out as well. Due to this they had to redo the half marathon route to accommodate all the runners. This was a good event from start to finish (just need to make sure they have coffee next year), and I had a great time running with friends and whooping it up with the other runners and volunteers. I also was able to break the 2 hour time I was looking for, well not really just breaking it but shattering it with a 1:53:24 and that includes a good distance of gravel trail.
  2. Following up the WPFS Half Marathon, I ran the Ted's Run For Literacy 10km the following day, where even with tired legs and slightly sore feet I was able to secure another PB with a 52:44. The race directors Mike, Aldo and the rest of the crew put on a great event and lots of money was raised for a great cause. I also got to run with my fellow BRS member Dutchie (Jack) as well, good times.
  3. The Awesome Twosome: A 5 km with a twist, really it a 10 km race with two runners running a 5 km loop in opposite directions. My partner Gail E and I finished 12th in just under 50 minutes combined with me running another PB in the 5 km with a 23:40.
  4. VP of Administration with the Barefoot Runners Society: Still not quite clear why I was chosen for this, but I was honored by them choosing me for this. I just hope that I can live up to their expectations.
  5. 1,000 Barefoot Miles Ran: I surpassed the goal of 1,000 barefoot miles ran and finished the year off with 1,115 miles barefoot and 1,836 miles total.
November:
  1. Selected as The North Face / Canadian Trail Running Ambassador for Manitoba/Sask: This was a great honour to receive as well, I am so looking forward to the upcoming year. See link here
  2. 2012/2013 Winter Barefoot Running Challenge: Participating in this slightly crazy event that I have been involved with for the last three years. I have surpassed 200 km and have completed a 1.5 km run at -31 degrees Celsius. See link BRS Winter Challenge
December:
  1. Canadian Running Magazine Online: I commenced writing a weekly blog for CRM on barefoot running and they are even paying me for it. This is the latest, Moon Joggers.
Basically it has been an exciting year and a lot of firsts, I have been involved in quite a few articles through out the year, either assisting with the article or the focus of the article. It has been a little over whelming at times but fun at the same time. I have also had the opportunity to write a guest post on a great blog called Daily Improvisations, that I am very proud of as well. As I said it has been a fun year.

I am really looking forward to all the adventures that will be taking place over the next year that is 2013, as I continue to grow and push the boundaries that little bit more.





Sunday, July 22, 2012

Canadian Death Race Training Camp Day 2: Mount Hamel


What more can you say other than looking at the above Elevation Profile for the Death Race, do you see that really high up to the right of the white line? That's Mount Hamel, it is a epic 6 mile run up to the top (seriously feels like you are going straight up at times) before you crank out a really long down to the start of Leg 5. This leg is 36 kms long with the largest elevation gain. Of course I would make this leg mine, because I really like to go up and the down is manageable in my mind. But I digress, back to the start of the day.

The day started with little to no sleep, because who can sleep with the a day planned like this, a 13 mile mountain bike ride called Leg 3 to warm the legs up and get them good and tired before tackling my leg, which would be 4, The Hamel Assault. That sounds so cool doesn't it, I think so and that is all that matters. Anyway, as I said sleep was hard to come by the night before, I would be lucky to say Nicole and I got 2 hours between us. What lied ahead and what we just finished did not allow my brain to shut down long enough to drift off. This crazy ass smile just kept drifting onto my face and I could not stop it, I bet I looked like the Joker with that grin, I swear it was from ear to ear.

As Nicole was running Leg 3 race day, she did not want to bike it (and who could blame her, I probably should of ran it too, as I swear I almost filled my shorts a few times during the ride), so she and a few other runners left a little bit earlier and headed out to cover it by running. But figuring I was saving my legs a bit for my Hamel by biking (boy was I wrong), Dan and I stuck around the hotel and had breakfast while we waited for the bike ride from hell to start. Now don't get me wrong I like riding my bike, I like hills (remember I am from Manitoba, land of the Flatlanders) and trails but I was total out of my comfort zone with this. Supposedly this was a easy ride, but for a relatively new mountain biker, I never learned how to use my gears until about a month prior, it was nerve racking as hell. Anyway I am not going to bore you with the details, lets just say I was never so glad to get off my bike and get ready for some running when we arrived at the start of Leg 4. The only thing I remember was what Dale said at the beginning, "When you are going downhill, be alert to the big rocks, holes and trees on the path, but don't look at them as your bike will go where your eyes are looking, always look for the clear path and your bike will follow." That is so true, but damn it was mind numbing constantly worrying about going ass over tea kettle when hitting that one big rock.End of story.

But here are a couple of pictures from Nicole's adventures along Leg 3, I was glad she took some because there was no way I was, I was hanging on for dear life for most of it.
Somewhere along Leg 3, I think I had my eyes shut at this point on the bike

Nicole, my beautiful wife rocking the scenery
One of Nicole's partners in crime, I cannot remember her name though, did I mention how crappy I am at remembering names, well this was another case of it.

A river runs through it.....
This was one of the streams that run across the trail along Leg 3, try not to get your feet wet.

One of the many vistas along the way, again I didn't see this either, crap my eyes must of been closed.

Running along the highway to the end of Leg 3

Yay, the finish of Leg 3, now I can get off my bloody bike
Time for Pizza

As I stated above, when I pulled into the area that served as the transition between Legs 3 and 4, I was relieved to the point of giddiness. I was quick to load my bike onto the trail, rip my helmet off and headed directly over to the pizza boxes that served as our very welcomed lunch. After scarfing down 3 or 4 pieces, guzzling Gatorade and water and looking for my trekking poles because I would be needing those for sure, I started getting ready for the running adventure ahead.

I got my pack back on and prepped myself for the run, as I looked down at my Vibram clad feet, I thought to myself, take them off, keep them on, take them off, hmmm dilemmas what to do, what to do. So I decided, to not to freak out everybody, I would leave them on until I hit the treeline, then I could non-discretely take them off and run free once again. So we were off up the road we went following what we thought was the trail up a ridge and along a narrow path to........... nothing, well a dropoff anyway so that could be called nothing. What the heck, we just started the leg and we were already off course, this did not bode well for the rest of the run, or did it. So we doubled back, down the ridge and back onto the road for a bit more before.... low and behold.... a clearly marked trail right up into trees and straight up the mountain. Right on, here we go, once I hit the treeline, the shoes came off and I felt the dirt track against my feet, the big smile graced me with its presence, then I started running. Piece of advice never run in the woods with a smile on your face, because yes, smack right in the teeth a bug decided to make it home right between my two front teeth, yuck, I swear I was spitting bug parts for at least a mile.

The first couple of km the course winded straight up with nice trail like this....




With a little bit of this.......



And then some of this.......


Which resulted in this........



Oh glorious mud, how you cake my legs and feet

Here is another vista shot along the way up the mountain.



I loved this run up the mountain, there was a bunch of different types of terrain, once we got above the dirt trails we hit rock, lots of rock and stone littering the trail.....


A foot massage for sure, I see you cringing, but damn it this rocked.......


But seriously, I was having the time of my life, my legs felt good, some of the steeper uphills I power hiked, but I ran as much as possible to get the full effect of race day. As we broke out of the thicker tree cover we hit the mine road which was a combination of dirt road with gravel, shale and bits of coal thrown in for good measure. This was really fun to run on as I had to do a lot of deking, insert sound effects here (that would be a chu, chu chu type sound). If you have ever ran with me before you would know what that means, if not well maybe next time. The mining road twisted and winded up the mountain until you got to this......



Which of course you had to follow to reach this sign......

The irony as we went over the edge into the unknown, well at least unknown to me anyway

As we carried on we ended up on some more mining roads that continued the trek up the mountain. It seemed like we had been running for at least 10 miles but in reality it may of been 3 or 4, your perception as you run up hill does funny things to you for sure.


Bits and pieces of the mining road up Hamel


The mining road as it twisted and turned up the side of the mountain
Another one of the signs en route, inspiration comes in the strangest places

Once again the trail changes as we hit a new area and height.......


and again.........
What the hell, why are we going down... oh yeah I turned around to take this picture...never mind.

 
Look over there, way over there, that is Mount Hamel's summit shroud in clouds. Seriously I still have that far to go, shazam..........


 
I think I will look the other way......... yup looks better, oh well back to running.


 
and more trail change........
This was awesome on the feet, running in the mud then running up the stream to clean them off, repeat, repeat.......

 
Gee, you know you are getting up there in elevation when you come across....... SNOW in late June.

I almost went over to put my foot prints in the snow, but figured why ruin a perfect picture
Then we hit above the tree line and the shale switchbacks, these were really interesting to run on barefoot, trying to find the sweet spot to put my foot down and make my way up, the switchbacks seemed to go on for ever as I slowly made my way to the top. With a combination of running and power hiking, utilizing the mossy areas on the side of the switchbacks when I could, I slowly made my way to the top. Just as I reached the last set of switchbacks before the summit I met a hiker who was making his way down the way I came up. I look at him and give him a quick hi, he looks at me and starts to repeat the salutation when he realizes there are no shoes on my feet. His expression changes and he says, 'Wow, barefoot, now that's hardcore man!' I just smiled and said, hardcore no, silly maybe, we will see how my feet are when I get down the other side. With this we parted ways and I continued up to the top.
This was the surface of the switchbacks, lots of shale sheets, rocks, rocks, rocks everywhere....
oh yeah, that is my finger there, just pretend its not there and obscuring part of the shot. Sorry about that......
 
As I crested the top of Mount Hamel, I just stood there and looked around, I was in awe, firstly because I have seen numerous pictures and videos of this on the net as I was doing my Death Race research and could not believe I was actually here. Secondly, because this is the highest I had ever gone on my own two feet (and bare to boot) and that was a great feeling. Thirdly, because the view was absolutely spectacular, well it probably would of been if I was not shrouded in cloud, what a cool feeling that was.
 
The proof is in the pudding or the cloud bank, here is the marker that sits on top of Hamel....
 
 
Notice the white piece of paper taped to the support post, it was a little bit of inspiration for Nicole, well probably not my wife Nicole, but damn it you take the inspiration where you can get it.....
 

and.........


Next time, I want to see a big set of bare foot prints that scream, "Go Death Racers"

Some more misc. shots of the top of Mount Hamel, once again I apologize for the thumb in the picture, I was in awe.....



In the immortal words of Bon Scott of AC/DC, It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll........


love the bagpipes, and yes I am Scottish.......


and one of my favorites, it's a long way down
 
 
So, here I stand on top of Mount Hamel with my barefeet, I honestly thought I was going to be cold, nope I could feel the heat coming off of me as I took in the views. What a feeling, I had just run up a mountain with no shoes on, the week before I was unsure if I could deal with the verticals, now I knew I could do it, and what a feeling that was. Bring on race day, because I am going rock it, and be dubbed the convented 'Death Racer' and hear me roar.
 
The crazy thing is while running up Hamel is a major achievement, I still had to go down, and the up was only 10 km of the run, there was still 23 more to go, totally mind boggling. My feet were feeling great, but after the swale switchbacks to the top I figured I would be running on the same coming down, I really did not like that idea to much and would shred the bottom of my feet and I still had another day to go. So I put my Vibrams on for the way down, it was kind of a strange feeling, knowing what I had just tackled and completed, but I like my feet and I figured they liked me so I wanted to keep them.
 
The run down was very different, the slopes more gentle the trails winded in and out through the trees as we made our way down, I really could of taken my Vibrams back off but for some reason I was a little hesitant, oh well at least I will have a little bit of protection in case I need it. This was the perfect place to keep practicing with the poles, and I was starting to think I was getting the hang of it as my legs were feeling pretty fresh and relaxed. I was able to start just letting go, relax and running with the hill, unlike my usual 'fight the momentum and tense up as I traversed down an incline'. I was having a blast. Dan caught up to me as I hit a flat and made a stop to have a bite to eat and a good drink, it was good to run with him for a time, running trails in solitude is a lot of fun, but running with a friend is just as much fun.
 
We continued on for a while until Dan decided he needed to walk a bit, I on the other hand wanted to pick the pace up a bit and with a quick see ya at the end, I was off. It is such a great feeling to just let go and run, I was having a great time and moving quite quickly along when I heard a funny noise. It was sort of this low rumbling throaty sound that was coming from the treeline, my first thought was crap is that a cougar. I really didn't want to look, but figured it would be smarter to know then not know what I might have to deal with, I really don't like surprises and especially ones like this. So I turned my head and looked into the trees and low and behold there is a black bear about 20 feet from me (felt like it was closer than that) making some really interesting noises and looking right at me. So my woodlands instincts kicked in (I grew up on a airforce base in northern Alberta called Cold Lake and spent most of childhood in the woods) and I started making the same noise back at him (or her) in the throatiest growl I could come up with. It seemed to work, the bear caulked its head and just sat there as I ran by, it did not come any closer but it did continue to talk like it wanted to have a conversation. I obliged with a few more growls and I picked up the pace so I could get as much distance between it and me as possible. I did not slow down till I was at least a km away, and was glad I did not have to clean out my shorts, too close for my comfort that's for sure. Next time I will make sure I have some bear bangers with me, I am just glad the bear speak I used, did not translate into a challenge or something. That would not of been good for someone, and that someone would of been me.
 
I got down into the more flatter areas (relatively speaking of course) and saw someone I was not expecting in the not so far distance. There was Nicole moving along steadily ahead of me, I figured she would of been finished and waiting for us at the end of Leg 4 by this point. Oh well, at least I would be able to run with my wife for a little bit as we were not to far from the gravel road and the start of Ambler's Loop.
 
A few more pictures along the way down Hamel....
 
 
 
 
 
 

and.......


and......... one of the friends we met along the way........


here is a shot of the valley we ran through before we hit Ambler's Loop.....


and another one......


As we broke out of the trail and onto the dirt road we hear all this whooping and hollering from our personal cheering squad, the organizers. What a great sight to see, everybody sitting around waiting for the runners to get to this point, and they had chips and fluids (water, Gatorade and even beer) for those that needed to indulge. Absolutely fantastic, although I was not able to run Ambler Loop, which was a shame, I figured that could wait for race day. I hung around for a few minutes, chatting with everybody and fueling up a little bit before I started out down the gravel road to the end. Of course got some pictures to share as well.

Dan with a well deserved beer..... once a hasher, always a hasher......


The smiling faces of Lori and Dave awaiting us at the Aid Station


Tanis and Eryn grinning from ear to ear.......


Anita keeping track of the runners,


Yes, I am going out again..... look I am putting my gloves back on to prove it.......


Nicole, Dan and I pose for a great picture.... who's thumb is that? Man I am short or Dan is a giant..... yeah I guess I am short.....



I ended up making it about another 2 km before the volunteer trucks came flying down the dirt road to start plucking the runners one by one, to see if we could stuff the cabs as full as possible. I ended up sitting in Nicole's lap, I was hoping my bony ass didn't cause her to much pain as we hit the bumps along the way. I think we ended up with 11 in the crew cab and another 4 in the back for 15 crushed runners. Of course there were the die-hard runners who totally refused to get in and wanted to finish. If I only knew that was a option I would of probably did the same, oh well the ride was good too.

Anyway, a quick recap....

Mountain biking in the mountains is scary business, and I am not sure I like it.

I ran up Hamel barefoot and am damn proud of that.

You can really run faster when you are scared s**tless.

It is surprising what your body is capable of when you think you have nothing left or should have nothing left.

The organizer's for this race are first class, and I would recommend the training camp to everyone who is thinking of doing this race, I had the time of my life.

My thoughts for race day, I will start Leg 4 barefoot, and run up Hamel to the shale level then put the Vibrams on for the summit and take them back off for the way down. This is going to rock.

So if you are running up Hamel or anywhere else along the course and you see some lunatic run by with no shoes, just wave and say hi, because that would be me.

Go Death Racers.

I was going to make a separate post for Day 3, but I think I will forgo that with a quick review of the day.

Day 3 consisted of me running Leg One (not from the start line but from the hotel) out to the trail head and continuing for about 7 km through some 'easy' (relatively speaking of course) trails with lots of mud and water. It was a blast with my bare feet, until we reached the point where we cross the highway, this was where we took up the mountain bikes again to finish the balance of Leg 1. Yes I scared the crap out of myself again with some of the hills, almost went into the lake with the bike and tackled some crazy uphills (one that Dale had to get off his bike and carry it up). Best quote of the day was when we were standing at the hotel before the start and Dale was mentioning not to take any gear with you that you did not need for the run. As he looks straight at me, and says, "If you don't need your gear like shoes for the run, throw them into the back of the truck" Of course everybody looked at me and started laughing. Tension be gone.

Looking forward to tackling this for real, see you in August for Death Race Weekend.......

One last appropriate song for good measure.....


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day One of Training Camp CDR Style Cont.



I can't believe I almost forgot this, to top off the epic two mountain summit run on Friday, Nicole and I also joined about 32 or so other training camp participants for a 5km plus or minus night run of the start of Leg 5. This was one of Nicole's legs and how could we pass up the opportunity to run in the dark on the all important last leg of the race. Even with my slightly rubbery legs, I was not going to miss it, because I was bound and determined to see as much of the course as possible over the three days even if it killed me (and that was a distinct possibility, it is called the Death Race don't you know).

The funny thing about this night run, was at the orientation prior to us starting camp, Dale asked everybody in the room, who was going to partake in this little night time adventure, and about 40 hands went up. At the time Dale chuckled at this, and quickly noted that he expected that by the end of the afternoon that would easily be cut in half. Well Dale, you were not quite right, and I think we surprised him with the amount that did show up. Can we say this camp crew was hardcore, why yes, yes we can.
So at 10:30 pm as the sun was starting to go down we all met at the Hotel entrance to see what Dale and the rest of the team had in store for us. With a little more 'magic' to be performed by the organizers, we shuttled everybody to the end of the 5km run and piled into a vastly smaller quantity of vehicles and headed to the starting point of Leg 5 at the Sulpher Gates Station where we would enter the heavy tree canopy portion of the leg.  So as Dale explained what would take place and how important it was if you were running Leg 5 to see what the conditions of running this portion in the dark would be like first hand. The first portion of Leg 5 you enter the 'Canopy', it gets dark quick and the trail is full of tree roots, so keeping a diligent eye and having a very good head lamp is important, or you will be not on your feet to long.

Map of Leg 5

Dale gave us quite overview of what we were to expect on the trail, from the cat's eye reflectors on the trees to mark the trail (these were neat to see, like a airport landing strip at night), to the tree roots and quick turns, he explained you needed to be aware of your surroundings at all times. He split us up into groups of 4 or 5 runners and sent us on our way, with his catch phrase bellowing, "I Love This Shit!!". Put a smile on my face as we entered the tree line and the pitch black conditions.

I will say, after finishing Leg 2 today and the chore of Leg 4 the next day, I decided to wear my Vibrams for this 5km and I was glad I did. Nicole and I were testing out new headlamps and mine just sucked, it would not stay in position and the light just bounced everywhere. So as you can imagine I would be running along not really seeing where I was going and damn it, I would either land on a tree root or kick one on the leg lift. I just plain could not see the ground properly because of it and I had to slow my pace down just to ensure I was staying on the trail. I really do not like being at the mercy of a light, but I would have to make do I guess. So along the 5 km I ended up going off trail 5 times, almost missed a turn and went off the side of the trail and down an incline (scared the crap out of me), kicked a dozen or so nasty tree roots and stepped on too many to count. That little bit of protection saved me some pretty good gashes and 2 very sore feet for sure. 

With me trying to make sure I didn't die on the trail, Nicole flew ahead and finished way ahead of me (I blame it on the downhills, because Nicole really likes the downhills), I could hear her whooping and hollering through the trees having the time of her life. I knew this was going to be the perfect leg for her, plus she really wanted to do the river crossing on the boat, so how could I deny her that pleasure. I believe I finished about 5 minutes behind her, and was just glad to be back in a area that I could see. But seriously I do like to run at night, because it adds an element of difficulty and a whole new aspect to the challenge of running. But having the correct gear to assist you is very important, and testing out a new light on a trail you don't know is not a good idea. Lesson Learned.

After 'I' finally finished, Nicole and I headed back to the hotel for the night to prepare for the next day and the 'Mountain Bike Ride From Hell' and the 'Rise To The Summit of Hamel'

To be Con't.

But first some more photos from Leg 2:

Somewhere heading up Flood Mountain

One of the many mountain streams that are scattered across the course

A look to the south (at least I think its South, I'm not an orienteer or anything you know) from the trail. Can you see the bee that I caught flying in front of the lens.......

Carolin making her way up Mount Flood showing good climbing technique with the poles

Another view from the trail, don't know what mountain it is but thought it was pretty neat that the clouds were touching the top

The feet were mighty happy to running this terrain. 'Sole'ful bliss I would say.

Round, round we go up the mountain

Enter 'Slugfest' This is looking up at the trail we just came down. This is me kneeling and pointing the camera up the trail, i was trying to show the butt sliding slope of the down. You might even be able to see the grooves of many a previous ass cheek that has slide down this hill

On the floor of Slugfest looking towards Grande Mountain. The muddy trail in the photo is some of the driest down in the valley

The whole trail is full of spectacular views

A view of Grande Cache from Grande Mountain

A storm is a brewing' time to start heading down the mountain

Not even half way down the power line, what fun this descent was

The Smokey River below

Some of my favorite types of trail, dirt that squishes between the toes, ahhh nice soft dirt with the occasional 'proper running form' checking type rock.

All done with all things considered a mild case of mud and dirt coverage


Our Relay Partner Dan coming in after finishing Leg 2. This is his leg  

Dale Tuck, our fearless leader bringing in the last runner to the finish

Nicole and Dan looking quite happy for Leg 2 to be finished. Relaxing in the grass