Blah, BLah, BLOG
It has been just over a year since I ran in an organized race, last one was in Salt Lake City (July 2015). I had succumbed to an injury, one that I couldn't ignore any longer, so I thought to myself, 'if you want to continue running, you must stop running and start healing'. So I did, after 10 months hiatus from running I had the 'itch' to start again. In June I started to run...ever so slowly, being extremely cautious and reminding my self that I am starting as a novice runner. Knowing I had ran 14 full marathons, a dozen 1/2 marathons, couple triathlons, and various distances, it wasn't easy to start from the beginning. To celebrate my returning to running, I registered for the 15K Snowden Trail Challenge. Then came June 21, the day I will never forget. My world shattered, Chris had collapsed in the gym, actually he had died for 14 minutes. He was flown to Victoria wihin a couple hours. When I arrived at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Chris was on a ventilator and put into hyperthermic state. Tears just streamed down my cheeks when I saw him. Nurses were in and out of the room taking care of him as I sat there holding his hand, frozen with fear as the doctor said to me, "We hope for the best, and not sure if he will survive this, but because he is fit, we are optomistic." Counsellor was brought in to prepare me for the worst. Running now was on the back burner and I wanted to put all my energies to help Chris to heal. After nearly 2 weeks in the hospital, we came home and every day since, I just look at him in amazement how he had survived such an event. I really truly feel lucky to have him beside me. He is an inspiration. Chris is walking 1-2 times a day (and even doing a bit of jogging) and he is talking about doing events.
Just 3 1/2 weeks ago, I picked up where I left off, running every other day increasing my long runs 3 km each week. Thursday I ran approximately 12 km and decided I was ready for Sunday's Snowden Trail Challenge.
It is a beautiful morning, feeling relaxed and excited to do this run. Jodi (our friend and my guide) picked us up at 8 am and the drive took 1 1/2 hours to Campbell River. I usually have the pre race jitters, but I felt confident and did not put any pressure on myself, my goal was to enjoy the run. We arrived in plenty of time to do all the necessaries, pick up race packages, hydrate, fuel up and the dreaded porta potty stops. Can they NOT invent a better porta potty system? I can not hold my breath that long and I am not blind enough to see all the fecal soup brewing in the hole.
Just minutes before race start, Chris gives me that reassuring 'you can do this' smile as we said our goodbyes. I was feeling good, Jodi was her usual bubbly chatty self, and excited to get running. The gun goes off, our tether springs into life as we start to run. We were running comfortably, passing a few people as we head down the gravel road, after about 2km, we hit the trail. Suddenly the temperature dropped to about 16 degrees (was about 24 degrees celcius), I am thinking, this is going to be an epic run. The trail started out to be about 6 feet wide, and thinking "wow, this would be great if it was like this throughout the whole trail!". We were running a little slower now because of the different environment, dealing with shades, sudden bright sunshine which in itself is difficult for any runner to adjust, never mind being sight impaired. We were bumbling along and then the trail starts to narrow, and now Jodi, being the intuitive good guide she is, let the runners pass us as we step aside. We knew we have to concentrate on footing in the everchanging textures of the trails. We were 5km into the run, enjoying the tranquility, beautiful shades of lush
greens flash past us and we noticed that not a soul to be seen. Everyone is ahead, not sure how far ahead because the forest was thick and trails were winding. I really didn't care if I was last in this race, for me it was about my surroundings, not the clock. At around 8 or 9 km, we were running past this beautiful lake, oh it was so pretty. I took a picture of it so I could show Chris the beauty we had seen. Oh the smells was incredible, I could smell the Bracken ferns, Chanterelle mushrooms, and pine needles as we run. The Salals were over 5 feet tall! Jodi and I looked like tiny morsels for dinosaurs in a prehistoric jungle. The trail got really difficult at this point, we had to slow down, roots were embedded in all directions and it was like we were doing hopstotch along the way...that went on for about 3km, then up the hills, down, switchbacking to and fro...again and again. You would think we were discouraged that we had to walk some of this, but we weren't. It was just too beautiful and it has given us time to absorb all the colours and smells. At 10k we hit the aid station, OH MY GOODNESS! there was pretzels, m&ms, chips, cookies, oranges, jujubes, electrolytes and water. We decided to stop, snack and chat. Then back to our blissful run, still feeling really good as if I have never taken a break from running. We were nearing the end of the run, the last 2km was the dreaded rocky road back to the finish line. As we were turning around the last corner, we put our tether back on. Just as we did that we saw Chris with a camera (our personal paparazzi). There is nothing more what I love is to see Chris's smile as we head past him to the finish line. At the finish line there was our friend (also guides me) Kerry, his wife and kids from Comox and Annie from Campbell River. Our little reunion just add that extra special magic to my day. Jodi and I even got interviewd to do a testimonial for the event's promo video they were filming.
We were so excited to see beer, wine and pizza at the finish line. So after 2 glasses of wine and a bellyful of pizza, chips and cookies, we were ready to head home. What a wonderful, blissful day. I couldn't of picked a better running event to rejuevenate my life as a born again runner.
I. AM. A. RUNNER.