Hi! Last weekend I ran my first trail race at the 5 Peaks Terra Cotta trail. This is part of my “try new things” mantra. Since my big injury last year ( almost a year ago exactly!) I wanted to stray from my rigid ways and explore other athletic pursuits. I did a bit of trail running before the winter but nothing like this course! Here’s my recap.
I left pretty early as I didn’t know what parking would be like and that always stresses me :). I arrived at about 8:40 for a 10:30 start. I wasn’t the first one there…..but I was early. Now I know. I got a nice close spot so going back and forth to my car to undress, store extra clothes and snacks, and sit in the car to keep warm as the day started out chilly. I went to register and picked up an awesome Buff Canada head band. I already have a neck and head warmer thing so I chose the headband option. I then went back to my car to keep warm. With about an hour to go before the race I left the car and met up with a few friends that were also doing the race. Then I headed back to the car and then a short warm up on the first part of the course. They warned of big mud but on my warm up I had dry trail with no real technical sections. I thought hmmm, this will not be as hard as I thought.
I stripped down to shorts, t-shirt and arm warmers and of course my gloves as glove weather for me is anything under 13C! My hands get so cold. I seeded myself in the second wave . I had no idea what to expect other than time really doesn’t matter on the trails. I liked that approach. My main goal in this race was not to sprain my ankle. And of course to have fun!!
The wave went off and the first 500 m was flat terrain with no major technical footing. A guy running next to me complimented me on my quick cadence and just as I was replying that this is actually a slower cadence than I used to run ( I was told my almost 200 steps per minute could be slowed slightly and still be efficient), and then bam we hit the roots and my ankle rolled ! I felt the pain shoot through it but was okay to keep running and after ten minutes I felt nothing. However It was just so much different than a road run obviously and I didn’t expect every step to require so much concentration! I did slow down a bit more through all the roots and rocks and steep downhills with the log like steps so I wouldn’t further injure anything else by taking a missed step. The uphills were challenging but I surprised myself by passing a few people and felt fairly strong going up. As I ran the technical bits in the first 2-3 km I was so pleased to be doing the sport course and not the two loop Enduro course! My effort was high even though I wasn’t running as quickly as I would on the roads. The best part was not looking at a pace on my watch and just focusing on making the footing . They had warned of big muddy patches ….. They were not wrong! On the first one I tried to piddle through and then gave that up and just soldiered through trying hard to hold onto my shoes!
The final km was not as technical and I did glance down once at my watch and saw I was running 4:15/km so I was surprised sort of to still be able to hold effort after the work I did on the trail. I managed to come 3rd in my category having first and second all within a minute of me. I stayed for the awards and some of the draw prizing which is probably one of the best of any races I have done. Cuz really it’s all about the swag! Oh and the finish line food had both peanut butter and almond butter….heaven!
After the race was worried about my ankle but knew it wasn’t too bad as I could trot to my car and back and walk around as if it was normal. It didn’t swell or get colourful . Me being the physio, I grabbed ice right away and then used arnica cream and tablets and ultra sounded and kept icing and KT taped it. The end result was a run two days later with zero pain. It’s been fine all week. Phew! I’ve rolled this ankle many times on flat ground and never that badly but this time it hurt when I did it. Having spent last spring and summer on the shelf with my stress fractures , the last thing I want is another lay off. I want to enjoy nice weather activity after another brutal winter.
Hopefully I will be able to fit in another 5 Peaks in July at Albion Hills. The others don’t fit with my free weekends .
It was a fun start to the spring after ATB. Next up is the Toronto Womens 5km on May 24th. I’m feeling confident that I can push it slightly harder than ATB but I think I’ll save one more gear still. I have less fear but it’s not totally gone. I’m looking forwards to this race as last year I was on crutches and really wanted to represent Mizuno in my first year as an ambassador. So this year if all goes well I’ll be able to do just that. My daughter will also run the 5km but not with me. After the last one in October I told her it wasn’t fun hearing her whine the whole time 🙂 and the one time she ran solo she did her best and had the most fun! So I do think it’s mutual!!!