Friday, November 25, 2016


I did a lot of thinking after the Horror Trail 6-hour this year. Having come ever-so-close to reaching my 50km goal only to fall short by a matter of minutes stung, but rather than dwelling on what might have been or beating myself up for failing, I'm choosing to use it as an affirmation.

Pardon me while I get a bit abstract for a moment..

You see, if you're setting the right goals, they should be hard to reach. Not completely out of the realm of possibility - I'll never set my sights on a sub-3hr marathon, because I know that's never going to happen no matter how I train - but achieving a properly-set goal is difficult. Unless you're sandbagging and selling yourself short, you're likely going to fail sometimes.

I'll say that again:

You are probably going to fail sometimes.

Even if you wish really hard.

Your goals should even go so far as to scare you a little - maybe even a lot. I was petrified before I raced the Dirty Girls 12-hour back in July; unsure that I'd even last the full 12 hours, let alone manage the full 72km that I desired to accomplish. I doubted it would happen as the race progressed, but managed to pull it off in the end.

I even felt like I had another lap in me if I'd had the time, which would have been 80km (or 50 miles).

Knowing that, I started to lay some plans for the Sulphur Springs Trail Run's 25th anniversary in 2017. Having realised that triathlon is utterly failing to float my boat anymore because I'd rather just go frolic in the woods, and having raced my best ever 50k (not to mention one of my best races of all time) at Sulphur Springs in 2015, I resolved that I'd run my first 50 miler there next spring.

Achievable but tough goal: set.

Cue chorus of angels

Then all hell broke loose.


I knew I had no choice. If I had another loop in me at the hilly, technical and insanely hot Dirty Girls 12-hour, then a 50 miler on the beautifully uncomplicated trails at Dundas Valley Conservation Area as my "big goal" for 2017 was definitely sandbagging. It was only another 8km beyond what I'd already done, and on an easier course! But 28km more? That was a challenge.

So, while still in agony from the mere 45.5km I ran at the Fat Ass Trail Run BadAss 6-hour three days beforehand, I registered to run a hundred freakin' kilometers 6 months and 2 days from now.

But who's counting?

Goal that scares me: set. Oh my, yes.

But, I figured I shouldn't freak out too much. I'd done 3 trips up Martin Road during the 50k I ran at Sulphur in 2015. The 100k would only entail 2 more on top of that (as the course is a 20km loop), and I could always use my poles for the last lap or two if I needed. I knew how much of a help they'd been with the climbs at Dirty Girls and (much more recently) the Fat Ass, so no worries, right?

Then, just 6 days after I registered and one day after my first post-Fat Ass run, this happened:


No poles. Nothing but my poor, quivering legs to drag my butt up the monster that is Martin Road after 99.5km (not to mention the other 4 times) to reach the finish.

This is only a third of it.

Between that and the fact I'll have to put in a huge amount of mileage over what is predicted to be a much harder winter than last year, I think I need to spend some time getting comfortable with the idea that failure to achieve just means that the goal you set was the correct one.

In the meantime, if anyone needs me, I'll be here:

Considering my life choices.


  1. This may be heresy, but what about challenging yourself to race SHORTER distances (but faster & more intense)?

    I respect all events, but it makes me a little sad that people seem to glorify only the longest events and look down on the short stuff. everyone wants to "run" 100 miles; few of those people will ever test themselves with an all-out 1 mile.

    Food for thought.

    1. I don't know why you think I'd look down on anyone who is pursuing their passion, as long as it's not hurting anyone. I dedicated 2014 to trying to get faster at shorter distances(1), though that was somewhat derailed by getting hit by a car in May(2), and my 10k PR bid in November(3) was affected by lack of recovery from that year's Horror Trail(4). I have raced an all-out mile(5), and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done; I was practically coughing up blood afterward. I understand the difference between the "been shot in the chest and my legs have turned to lactic acid flavoured jello" of a short, intense race and the "death by a thousand cuts" of long-course racing, both in running and triathlon (and cycling: ever raced a criterium? I did one in 2011(5): 45mins of my lungs forcibly trying to exit my body) - both are difficult and admirable tests of human fitness and determination. I proved that once again by racing a very short course triathlon just 2.5 months ago(6) and running faster than I have in years! Really, though, the tone of your comment suggests that my passion of going on long adventures through beautiful forests that take my mind and body to difficult places is one that you look down on. That's fine - I don't really need anyone's approval for what makes my heart tremble - but it suggests that maybe I'm not the one with the bias. Thanks for stopping by to read, and best of luck with your endeavours - whatever they may be!


  2. Do whatever the fuck you want :-) Sheryl Crow said it best "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad"


Go on, have at me!