ENDURrun Stage 7: The Marathon

The runner’s greatest asset, apart from essential fitness of body, is a cool and calculating brain allied to confidence and courage. – Franz Stampfl Today’s stage is the last stage of the ENDURrun. The Marathon is a significantly difficult event in it’s own right, humbling even the most prepared athletes. To attempt to run a marathon in mid-August, after already running 118km in the previous 7 days seems foolhardy. Yet that is what I prepared to do.

ENDURrun Stage 6: 10km Time Trial

Running is a statement to society. It is saying ’no’ to always being on call, to sacrificing our daily runs for others’ needs. When we run we are doing something for ourselves. – Phoebe Jones Today’s stage is, on paper, the easiest of the seven stages. With the exception of a small dip in the road between the 2km and 3km mark, the run is pancake flat, on paved roads, and ends up being a net downhill.

ENDURrun Stage 5: 16 mile Cross Country

Racing is pain, and that’s why you do it, to challenge yourself and the limits of your physical and mental barriers. You don’t experience that in an armchair watching television. – Mark Allen Today’s stage was the last “mountain” stage, and arguably the hardest stage of the series. It was the one I was scared of the most. The “Alpine” run. Various experienced ENDURrunners had warned us rookies of the dangers of the course, that it was steep, that it shredded quads at whim, and that it humbles even the most elite of runners.

ENDURrun Stage 4: 10 Miler

Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to new stresses. The result? You become stronger. – Eamonn Coughlan After the hilly and repetitive Stage 3, we were given a morning off to rest before Stage 4. It started at 6:00pm, the only evening run of the stages. On paper, a 10 mile (16km) run doesn’t sound all that bad after 25km. But the devil is in the details, and the elevation map.

ENDURrun Stage 3: 30km Cross Country

You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or use it to wipe the sweat off your face. – Gatorade Ad I met Lloyd Schmidt, the ENDURrun race director, in early June of this year, at the Mud Run. I’d already signed up for the ENDURrun, and it was cool to actually meet the mastermind behind this event. He was saying to me that the race is tough. The first two days (marathon, 15km time trial) are fairly flat, on roads, and lull many runners into a false sense of familiarity and security.

ENDURrun Stage 2: 15km Time Trial

So much for the hopes that the second stage would be cooler and less humid. At 5:30am when I got up, it already said it was at 100% and 25 degrees. Another hot one, just a bit shorter. This stage took place in Cambridge, ON, about a 15 minute drive from where we were staying a ULW. It’s the only stage that doesn’t take place in Waterloo. The second stage of the ENDURrun consisted of a 15km time trial.

2009 ENDURrun Ultimate Stage 1: Half Marathon

Today was Stage 1 of the ENDURrun, and Mother Nature didn’t opt to make it an easy start. Yesterday in Waterloo, it was cool and rainy, and I was hoping that while the rain would die off, that the temperatures would stay. Well, that was not to be. The weather called for 25 degrees and 91% humidity, with thunderstorms later on in the day. The race was starting at 8:00am, so MAYBE it wouldn’t be that hot at that time.

2009 ENDURrun Ultimate Pre-Race Meeting

The pre race meeting and packet pickup took place at the ENDURrun race director’s house. Lloyd Schmidt is the mastermind behind this unique running event. He and his family are the main volunteers and driving force behind the scenes. Participating in a small home run race does have it’s advantages. Firstly, the race director knows your name! Lloyd walked over and gave me my race kit, which consisted of a reusable Saucony bag, in which was the technical race shirt, a forest green golf shirt (with ENDURrun logo), a Saucony water bottle, a map of Waterloo (only the out of town participants got a map; nice touch!

I've arrived!

I’m here in beautiful Waterloo, ON, settling in to what will be my digs for the week. Everything has been pretty much right on schedule; got here around 1:30pm, checked into the residence, then we all went grocery shopping. The weather here is cool and rainy. Tomorrow is supposed to be hot, with 91% humidity. Great. Nothing like Mother Nature to throw a wrench into things. It’s a little surreal… hard to believe that tomorrow morning I’ll be starting this crazy adventure.

It's HERE....

The ENDURrun starts tomorrow. Am I ready? Ready as I’ll ever be. I’m going through ups and downs; I think I’m ready, then I read something online or look at the course map and start to think “What the $#@% have I gotten myself into?” I realized last night as I was packing my stuff, that I don’t really have a race plan. I mean, I’m doing the event for the experience, but I haven’t really thought about paces for each of the stages.