I really don’t know how to begin to explain how crazy and amazing this week has been but I learned once again how much girls rule. Getting deeper into May, life gets busier and busier and the balance of work and pleasure gets harder to manage. So far I’ve been able to squeeze every single minute out of my day to keep the balance. This week was all about prepping for the up coming FKT in July and with it came a ton of misadventures.
This week marks the anniversary of being asked to join the Wild Bruce Chase team last year. So it was fitting the weekend was spent with my Wild Bruce Chase babes running both the Rideau and Bruce Trail.
The Rideau Trail, on paper seems like a cinch, but once you get on the ground it becomes much more complicated. The distance we need to run is only 1/3 the distance of the Bruce Trail end-to-end, however the logistics are completely different. The Bruce trail is more technical, more beautiful and far more accessible to everyone on the team. So why are we doing the Rideau trail end-to-end? The challenge was far too appealing and we’ll be running from Ottawa to Kingston starting July 1st, the year of the big Canada 150.
There are three defined sections of the Rideau, Ottawa, Frontenac and Kingston and all have their own pros and cons. This group of women devour technical trails for breakfast, and the Rideau is not heavy on technical, making this seem even easier. The trail markings are unique and although directionally easy to follow are visually not easy to spot at times and here is where we run into problems.
This past weekend me and two other team mates went to scope out three legs to make sure we had a good handle of the sections. Denise was recovering from her amazing PB at the Mississauga Marathon and Ashley was recovering from a solid performance at the Kingston half Marathon. So both ladies weren’t exactly running on “fresh” legs. Me, well I’m in my build mode and so every week is a tiny bit harder than the previous week.
Without going deep into the gory details, this weekend was full of surprises. Running 37km of the Rideau trail by accident and missing our exit point to our car was just the beginning of this misadventure. Without headlamps, sufficient supplies and only an iPhone to guide us through a dark and pretty gnarly forest, three girls ran/hiked to safety without a single complaint uttered. We were frustrated, confused and even a little scared at times but we never broke down over it. We laughed through the really bad parts and spent the better parts learning more about each other. It’s situations like this, where you’ll quickly learn someones true character. Ashley and Denise were calm and we all communicated without fear of being judged or thought of as “weak”. This was a key factor to us staying safe and getting help. If I was tired, I simply asked for time out, if Denise was thirty she asked for my water, we were the very definition of a team.
The misadventure didn’t end once we were safely back at our cars, thanks to a lovely woman who thankfully was still awake by the time we reached her house. We still had to eat and decide where to sleep. We had two choices; 1. the car or 2. hike 3km to our camp site. Once again, we collectively decided to pitch our tents off the side of the road and just get some rest, since we still had more running to do the next day.
The sun came up, it was a bright new day and we couldn’t stop laughing about the shenanigans from the night before. Suddenly I had a very sharp pain in my arm. I knew what I was going to find but I was really hoping I was wrong. A F**King tick was burrowing into my arm! Without a single moment of hesitation, Denise took control of the situation. We only got the body off and so we headed straight to the hospital. Once in and out of emerg I was ready to finish our mission. (There will be more about this tick this week so stay tuned). Again, while everything was put on hold for my tick removal surgery, both Ashley and Denise were patient and eased my stress about what was actually happening.
There is so much that happened that just wouldn’t make sense to anyone who wasn’t there with us. It’s now our very own special “Rideau moment” and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Not only did we get a huge reminder to always be prepared for anything (like we normally are), but we learned a lot about each other. We’re competitive women by nature, but we were able to turn that dial to the off position and focus on our task. We never criticized or blamed each other for any of the mishaps. We never yelled, cried or whimpered but instead encouraged, laughed and persevered through some tough moments of uncertainty. Lost on a desert island, I want these girls with me.
We three parted ways, and I was almost sad the weekend had to end. I say almost because I knew I was going home to spend my final day with some other awesome ladies from the Wild Bruce Chase team. Gemma and Erin let me join them for 2 legs of the Caledon heritage trail run and we got to practice our trail poses which was hilarious. I then went straight to dinner with Tanya and Kristin to iron out some details of the Rideau trail FKT planning.
As the end of the weekend crept up on me, I couldn’t help wonder how I got so lucky. I’ve had the best fortune to know the women I know in my life. The last two weeks have shown me how important female friendship is and why it’s so different than male friendship. With the right mix of women, you have a safe place to exactly who you want to be and they will just get you inside and out. So ladies my last words to you today are, if the women in your life make you feel badly about yourself, cause you stress or even just make you uncomfortable, just like we say about men, there are plenty of fish in the sea.