Last weekend the pain cave turned out to be located at Calabogie Ski Hill. Since everyone in Ottawa is trapped in Ontario in the current COVID Lockdown, I drove out to Calabogie ski hill instead of hopping over the bridge to Gatineau Park. The experience there was incredibly different. While Gatineau has some tough elevation in the trails I’ve explored, it doesn’t include so much up and down with roots, rocks and twists and turns, making the suffer score very high at Calabogie. By the time Titan and I reached the thirty-one planned kilometers, I gave my truck a hug and melted down on the ground beside it. My legs, mind and nutrition were not prepared for so many hours on the trails.
Titan, the dog that bathed during our run
20km’s into the run Titan found a nice waterfall pond and plopped himself into it. He lay there for a few minutes while I splashed water on my face to get some of the salt off my skin. One water bottle down and one remaining (technically one for Titan in my pack too) left me a bit concerned when I realized that ten more kilometers would take a long time and I was still thirsty.
Titan didn’t seem too concerned. He hopped out of the water and started whining to get moving again.
There’s something about being hungry and thirsty for hours that teaches you about yourself. I have a lot to learn on longer distances I plan to tackle, but this was a good start. I thought about some Ultra runners that I look up to like Dean Karnazes, Jim Walmsley and Kilian Jornet, and kept telling myself that these guys suffer far more regularly and have gone through much greater distances and higher mountain peaks, in order to become who they are. If they could do a hundred miles in the mountains, I could at least finish what I started.
One step turned into another as I focused on moving forward, rather than the distance I had yet to accomplish. Nearing the truck in the last kilometer, I remember thinking, “This needs to end. This needs to end.” I can tell you water ever tasted so good at the truck and no energy bar ever went down so quickly. I even had a bag of treats for Titan that I let him hammer down on. He truly loves these runs and follows me around the house every morning to find out what I might be up to that he can get involved in.
It took three days for my body to start feeling okay again. I’m thankful that I wasn’t sore or injured, just very tired.