A few months ago I was invited to participate in a trail relay to try for a FKT. Despite all my running experience, I did not know that FKT stood for Fastest Known Time. This seems to be a very popular way of competing without having any competition there. Unfortunately I was injured and unfortunately so were many other of the runners who were to take part. Fortunately we all healed up around the same time and yesterday we took on the Bruce trail for a FKT over 121 K. Jonathan organized the whole thing which meant coordinating 10 or so runners at 10 different points on the Bruce Trail along with moving a equal number of cars so they ended up where their drivers were at the end. Thanks so much to Stu and Jon. Jon also ran the first 22 K leg which he started in the dark with a headlamp.
I haven’t done much team running since cross-country in High School. The idea of a relay with a few friends, and new friends, was very appealing. At times it just poured, and at one point a magnificent deer stood brilliantly on the trail in front of me and I even found $5. The finest moment of day happened while I was out scouting the course before my first leg. A young couple, late 20s and thus young to me, were out on the trail with blanket and a twinkle in their eyes. I smiled as I passed, they called me back and asked if I could take a picture of them. I, of course was happy to help out. The young man volunteered that he had just asked the young lady to marry him. A few photos and a lot of smiles by everyone. I felt privileged to share in their first few moments engaged. I was just married 2 weeks ago to the most wonderful partner so I was still smiling from that day and now I smiled with them on their day. I was the first person to talk to them after she said “Yes” and that’s very cool.
Back to the wet leaves and the black slick rocks and oh so many roots. This blog post would really benefit from some photos. So my thought on the whole experience are this. Well actually, my thoughts during the whole experience were like this. Before beginning – “I hope I don’t let everyone down, I hope the rain doesn’t get much harder (which it certainly did), I have no idea where my second leg begins and ends (no worries Jon did) and 10.5 K(first leg) isn’t that far I won’t need anywhere near the 50 mins budget for this leg ( Jon: “Lawrence, it is mostly uphill”, Me “oh,no worries”)”. During the first leg – “Rock, rock, root, wet rock, wet root, this hill isn’t bad, this is going very well, oops I must have made a wrong turn there are no more white blazes, shoot shoot go back, ok I am back on the right trail, slow down this downhill is very wet, Wow is it ever raining hard, wow is it ever raining really hard, don’t fall, Shouldn’t I be near the end?, wow this hill is huge and the wooden steps are super slick, Jon was right man there is a ton of uphill, don’t fall, I said don’t fall, whoa that was flipping close, Hey Mr. Hiker dude How far is it to Kerns Rd?, still 2 K – no way, I hope that dude is wrong and can’t estimate distance, where is the trail?, don’t panic just find the trail, more huge uphill, I am over my time, I am soaked to the skin, I have let the team down, ok there is everyone and the next runner, sorry guys”.
I did another leg of 7 K about 2 hours later and felt much much stronger. Dry clothes helped (except for my shorts) and only a light sprinkle was falling definitely helped but some of the reason it went much better was because I felt I had let the team down on the first leg, so I wanted to make up time. I felt connected to the other runners on the team. Again some were friends and some I had only met that day. Thanks so much to Jon and Stu for putting this all together. It was fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat, if they will have me.