Our group met at a local golf club for the start/finish; one of our runners works there and scored us a great deal on brunch as well as access to the facilities for a post-run shower. By that point I came this close to jumping into one of the water features on the golf course... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Running from a different location afforded us the opportunity to experience a new route. We enjoyed mostly quiet country roads, which is always a nice change from the hustle and bustle of running in town.
The first 6-7K took us through the hills of Kettleby.
Kettleby is surrounded by the rolling hills of King Township. The hamlet sits predominantly on a rise of land between two valleys of the looping Kettleby Creek. Hills surround the western, southern and the central parts of Kettleby while taller hills ranging as high as about 350 metres (1,150 ft) are to the north and reach close to the highway linking Orangeville and Newmarket.
The morning started out nice and cool, but warmed up promptly as the sun rose. In Kettleby, some of the hills were so drastic that we felt a significant temperature change from bottom to top. It would have been nice to hang out in the valley because it was getting hot.
The majority of the route after this initial section would be relatively flat, but the sun would be relentless.
We were running mostly on wide open stretches of road surrounded by the farm land of Holland Marsh, which offered zero shade. The sun was pounding down and started getting to many of us early on.
One of our runners is tapering for a 100-miler (!!!) and set up a travelling aid station for us, with two pit stops offering an abundance of cold beverages (not the kind we really wanted!), fresh fruit and candy. This helped immensely in breaking up the run and allowed us to tackle it one leg at a time. I was going through fluids like crazy and the fresh, juicy orange wedges tasted like heaven.
After the final pit stop (with about 5K to go), I was really feeling it. I knew my body was run-down from being sick and running a hard 10K the day before. In hindsight, I probably should have called it quits and taken advantage of a ride back. Instead, I filled up on whatever I could, stuffed ice cubes down my top and decided I could stick it out. I knew I would have to slow down and incorporate walking in order to finish, and I was okay with that. Someone else from my pace group was also suffering, so we agreed to stick together and make our way to the end one way or another.
We walked. A lot! Near the end we could barely run 1 kilometre at a time. We would agree to run to a certain tree, where we would then linger in its shade as long as possible. I had to stop at a farm house to beg for a water refill when I had already emptied my bottle after just 20 minutes or so.
The extent of our "conversation" during this final stretch:
me: "It feels like we're running in an oven."
him: "Just let me know when you need to walk."
him: "Do you want to walk?"
me: "I think my Garmin is broken."
me: Everytime I look down, we have only covered 100 metres."
At long last, we reached our target distance and agreed to walk it in to the golf club.
Toward the end, I noticed that I had goosebumps and my skin felt cold to the touch; definite signs of dehydration. I was glad not to be alone out there. Having taken 3 Salt Stick capsules and consumed as much fluid/gels/fruit as I could handle, I knew there wasn't anything I could/should have done differently. My body was likely out of whack from being sick and it was a tough run all-around. The frustrating thing was that my legs felt pretty good; the rest of me didn't.
33.8KM - 21.0mi
5:55/KM - 9:32/mi
5:55/KM - 9:32/mi
This is one "character-building" long run that I'm happy to have behind me.
The cool shower post-run felt fantastic and the extravagant brunch at the club really hit the spot. Suddenly, it all seemed worthwhile.