I do not normally put anything other than race or event entries, however, this run would be a memorable one. While visiting with my sister in Penticton, she invited me to do a portion of the Kettle Valley Railroad. She is currently training for her cycling, so it was a great fit for her to be on the bike, and me to be in my runners.
After making our way up to Summerland, we then went inland until we were in the mountains. The area was extremely dry: only pine trees and grass seemed to grow. Dust and sand was the predominating feature on the ground.
After we got out of the car and my sister assembled her bike, we were off. The intent was to cover 20k, and I was of the mindset that the trail was going to be heavily-travelled, and similar to that of the Elk-Beaver Lake Trail.
Well, it didn't take me any time at all to figure out that this was no walk in the park. The ground was extremely soft, and for the most part was like running in 4-6 inches of sand. It felt very similar to some of my beach run adventures. Needless to say, this was going to be way harder than I thought.
We also could have picked better conditions. The temperature was 27 degrees, the humidity was 40 percent, and we began our trek at 1 pm. Rather dumb, in hindsight. However, I managed to spin my way to about 5 min kilometers for the first 3k. This took way too much energy. Ineffective to say the least.
My idea of having a support biker with me was also out of the picture. My sister was behind me considerably, and I figured she was saving her energy for some interval work that may lie ahead. I would soon find out that she was struggling worse than me, and she had by this point crashed twice.
At the 6k mark, my sister had now caught up, and the trail showed minor signs of improvement. We were travelling through Trout Creek Canyon, and it was a slow uphill the way out. At about this time, I decided that my 20k run would be a 16k run, by doing a 8k out-and-back.
At the 8k mark, I checked my watch: 41 minutes. I smiled, and then turned around to begin the second half.
The second half was much easier, now going downhill slightly. The heat was still an issue, but I stuck to the shade wherever possible.
Upon return, it was a 1:20 sand training run.
Afterward, I looked at this run in a positive way and chalk up two things for experience.
1. Provided you have great family support (and I do), being on vacation does not mean you have to stop training. You can train
2. This run gave me a little insight to how some of those hot, long ultras work. Low humidity, high heat, flat, dusty and sand all made this someone similar to ultras like the Scorched Sole, Death Race, etc. I am certainly impressed with anyone who finishes those events, regardless of their time.