|I still have no idea why it's called the Run for the Toad.|
|Not even lying, I packed everything. Even towels in case it poured rain. Be prepared.|
|Get off the road! I'm a motorist! Stupid runners.|
|Welcome to tent city! The huge tent with vendors and lots of seating is just one of the ways this is a top quality race.|
Kim and I waited for Sam, cheering for other runners as they came through. The Toad is a 12.5k loop, so the 25k runners do it twice, the 50k runners do it 4 times, and the relay runners (teams of 4) each run one loop. We weren't waiting too long (Kim might dispute that, she was freeeezing) before Sam came through and Kim was off on her loop of the course.
|Swapping the timing chip. I'm being helpful by taking pictures.|
|After all that blather, the least I can do is show a pic of the new kicks. That's what the kids these days call them, right? Oh god I'm old.|
|Very nice swag - I will make good use of the gym bag, and the little baggy of epsom salts for a post race soak is brilliant.|
Sam recommended a tank top for the run, so I had changed back at the car and got myself organized to run my loop of the race. We hung out chatting at the exchange area and managed to completely miss Kim coming across the finish line (TEAM FAIL). Glad Mari, who we were chatting with, spotted her. I tossed my jacket at Sam, got the chip safely onto my ankle and headed out.
|View of the lake by the start. Pretty!|
I quickly realized that getting lost wasn't going to be an issue; probably the most well marked course I've ever run. There was never a moment where I had any doubt or hesitation about which direction I was supposed to go. Kudos to the race organizers for that.
|No, I didn't take this during the race - had to walk on some of the race trail to get to the parking lot. They had a million of the little flags marking the route, you could always see the next flag, so it was very easy to tell where to go.|
The actual run itself had a lot of hills - nothing particularly long, but definitely steeper than this road runner is used to dealing with. I quickly realized that running up some of those inclines wasn't going to get me to the top any faster than a brisk walk would, so settled for walking the steep uphills and then running again as soon I crested the top. That worked really well, and I settled into a nice rhythm. The kilometers seemed to fly by, and I was just loving it! Nothing particularly technical (one section had some tree roots, but they were easy to avoid), and nothing particularly muddy. There were some gorgeous views, too, where I really really really wanted to stop and take pictures, but figured my teammates might be a bit WTF if they realized I'd stopped for photo ops.
|Of course I did double thumbs up. Like I ever do anything else. Sigh.|
|Tank top runner is 3/4 of the way up. OK, so I stopped for ONE picture. I swear it only took a second, guys! I had to get a picture of that hill!|
Tank top runner RAN up the hill. HA HA HA. At that point I let it go - no way was I going to attempt to run up that! So I said a silent farewell to her, climbed the hill, and headed for the finish.
|Air! I need air! And my teammate to take this damn ankle chip off!|
Phil headed out for his 12.5k, and I was STARVING (all caps totally warranted). I got my lunch, which was delicious. Another thing this race does completely right, excellent post race food.
|It was too much food, in fact, I couldn't eat it all.|
After some sitting and chatting, we all headed back to the finish to wait for Phil (figured it would be kind of rude to miss him finishing, especially since he would be getting all our medals). Phil flew through the course with our fastest time of the day, collected our medals, and we celebrated a great relay race and super fun experience!
|Way to go team! Shamelessly stole this pic from Kim because she did a way better job at colour correcting than I did with mine, in that I didn't even bother to try.|
|I look a bit suspicious of my new friend the toad there.|
I find myself really really tempted by the idea of the 25k race next year. It was really fun and I felt like one loop just wasn't quite enough. Stay tuned, I may turn into a trail runner yet.
|Plus how cute is this medal? So cute!|