At first if you don't succeed, you try again 12 days later!! :)
When the math no longer added up on my first attempt, I pulled the plug and called for a ride at the 60km mile marker (9.5hrs in). The trail conditions were treacherous! It had freezing rained a few days before and the trail was full on frozen footsteps. It was slow and a real ankle buster.
Because I live 2 hrs away, it was really hard to get updates on the conditions of the trail. I figured the weather has been a bit warmer. There hasn't been any more freezing rain and the popularity of the trail would be mean more foot travel. Right?!
I saw a few photos on Facebook and kept in contact with a friend (more like hounding him for info lol) who lived near by the trail. I made the decision that I would give it another go!
Normally, I would wait until the snow is completely gone before I ran an FKT, but I have a agressive 2023 goal, that requires me to start early in the year, in order to give me the best shot to be successful. More on that later!
I started my run at 6:16AM. Jamieson ❤️ dropped me off at the start, wishing me the best of luck. I carried all of the supplies, food, & water (and a few treats), that I would need for the day.
I quickly realized the trail was still in rough conditions. I basically ran it as a Fartlek. Everytime there trail was clear, or I came to a road section, I would increase my pace as fast as I could maintain, with the hopes of not blowing up at the end of the day. There was plenty of snow and ice along the way!! I focused on each step, and tried my hardest not to hurt an ankle.
There was a reprieve from the snow and ice in Short Hills however. The trail was very muddy here!! Not sure where all of the water comes from, but it was nice to take a break from the snow :)
As the effort went on, my intensity and stress level increased! With about 2hrs to the end, I knew it was going to be close. I didn't want to come back a 3rd time!! That would really put me behind in my project goal timelines. With approx 10km to go, my map app stopped loading!! What??!! Now I really didn't know how close I was going to be to the end... with not knowing exactly where the finish was, I just gave it my all! I ran every hill, and focused on not making any errors. With 35 min left to the record time...I got a little panicky! Push push push!! I didn't give up! At this time, I didn't know if I was going to get the record by seconds, minutes or miss it by the same margin! Run run run!!! When I finally saw the road, I dangerously sprinted down the steep hill to get to it! I saw Jamieson at the bridge and watched him sprint away (to the sign). Ok, i was close! Time to sprint!! I put all of my heart into it and let the tears go when I stopped my watch at the end. I repeated a few times, "I'm not sure if I got it" and Jamieson kept asking me what my time was. I told him and we checked the FKT website to confirm the previous record's time! In disbelief, it was confirmed. I broke the record by just over 90seconds...way too close to comfort! What a relief!! That was the most dramatic finish I've ever had the pleasure to experience and I hope to never be in that situation again!!! Also, I will not be attempting another FKT in the snow haha
Project 9: I've always wanted to do the Bruce Trail again, since my supported effort in 2017. Unfortunately, at this time, circumstances will not allow this to occur. This is the absolute best next thing. My goal is earn unsupported FKTs on all 9 Bruce Trail sections in 2023. Distances range from 50km-106 miles. It won't be easy, but I'm super motivated to give it my all!!
section 1: Niagara ✅