Run for the Toad Training Run

This past Saturday I participated in the Run for the Toad training run.  The Run for the Toad race is a trail race that takes place at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area on October 4th and the directors put on this training event for those interested.  I can not say enough good things about this event.  I had such a great time.

For starters, the cost is $17.  I signed up for the 25K.  I was just treating this as a training run and was still sticking to my 10’s and 1’s on plan with my marathon training.  I have never done this race before so I had no idea what to expect.  I knew from the website that the course was based on a 12.5km loop and so I figured if I was tired I could stop after the first loop.  25km was a little higher then my weeks goal LSD of 19km but that is ok.  I asked a guy I know who has done this race before if it was a hilly course.  He said that it was the easiest trail race out there, packed dirt, not technical at all, easy.  He lied.

The trail was not technical though so he was right in that regard.  The trail was a mix of packed dirt, a bunch of grassy portions and a bit of road through the park.  Oh and it was hilly, oh how it was hilly!  I don’t think we were even in 1km before the first hill.  I didn’t keep track of the number of hills but there were many.  I felt pretty strong running this first loop.  Knowing this was just a training run though I had no care for time so turned the pace off my watch and just kept the intervals on and enjoyed the scenery. This park is a campground and there were lots of people camping, some cheering, it was nice.   There were volunteers – marshalling the course, handing out gatorade and water at aid stations, stopping traffic for runners to cross the road (in the park).  There was some great scenery, especially at one of the high look outs – the one where everyone stopped to take pics of the surroundings and of course the selfie.  The second loop, well that was harder, naturally because we had to go and do all those hills again.  At this point, I can not even remember the last time I ran a flat route (I know, hills are good for me).

I want to make special note of the last hill (this one is at about 11-11.5km).  This is THE steepest hill I have ever had to “run” up.  My photos probably do not do this hill justice.  It was tough and I didn’t see anyone run up it.  This hill is called “skeleton hill”. I heard another runner telling his friend that at the actual race they put a skeleton at the top of the hill and the friend asked why?  I spoke up that it is like the Grim Reaper at the top of the ATB hill, because you feel like dying when you get to the top and then you do it again.

The $17 also included a free spread of food afterwards.  There was watermelon, chip, nachos and salsa, muesli pitas, lots of sweets (little cinnamon buns, brownies, cookies…), water, pop, and juice.  Even freezies.  Apparently the actual race has a full catered meal afterward and according to friends who have done this race in the past, it is the best post race food out there.

I was looking for a place to post my thoughts about this event (the beauty of having a blog is I can do that right here) but couldn’t find a Facebook page or any other place to leave feedback so instead I left a review on My Next Race.  I had a great time at this event and I would highly recommend this to anyone.  I will be adding this race to my fall line up for sure.

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