i2P Fun Run

Last year i2P’s fearless leaders Bob and Ray decided to run 200km from Montreal to Ottawa. For fun. No times or shirts or medals. Just friends, the road and some running shoes. This year they decided to replicate the idea and thus the annual i2P fun run was born. This year’s run would be 130km through Ottawa’s rolling countryside and Gatineau Park.

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I was incredibly privileged to stay with Ray’s big brother John and his family. John and his wife were the best hosts and went above and beyond to make me feel so very comfortable. John is wildly modest but he is an incredible strength and conditioning coach, having saved the careers of Olympians and professional athletes. I was so thankful that he was willing to do an assessment with me to determine my weaknesses and develop a plan to correct them.  John spent a full hour and a half with me testing my balance, strength and flexibility and was so comprehensive. This week he is going to write up a plan for me and he thinks that he’ll be able to design exercises that will target my weak areas while continuing to rehab for my back. I am so thankful and so blessed that he was willing to share his knowledge and expertise with me. If you need a strength assessment and are within 10 hours of Ottawa, it will be so worth it to go to John.

On Saturday we met up with the other runners and crew and with a short pep talk from Ray we were ready to start the day.

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Everyone at the start

I was paired with Ken who, in addition to being one of the masterminds behind the run, was an exceedingly nice person. He frequently runs with Ray and knew the area we were running so when I told him that I liked to run trails and had about 20 miles worth of running in me he told me to hang in to the end when the crew slowed down a bit and we hit trails. I crewed for the first 12 hours and I had a blast getting to know everyone while the team ran rolling gravel roads.

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The crew planning the day

Big boss Bob bonked hard and while I would never wish that on anyone, it allowed me some time to get to talk to him and get to know him a bit better. I knew that I was psyched about i2P and the organization’s mission but after talking to Bob I am even more excited about this organization, not only because the mission is so important but because it’s run by such good people with such amazing values.  Yay great people doing great things the right way. Too bad I think they’re trying to oust me from the organization by sending me to the Amazon (everyone kept telling me how horrible it was going to be!)

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Relaxing at a pit stop. Notice Ray and Bob on the left drinking coffee. I think Ray drank 3 double espressos in 6 hours.

I started running around 7:30 pm and by then it was a pretty elite crew of runners. Even though I have a fairly complete running resume I was by far the least experienced athlete. I was running with Ray who has world records and ran across the Sahara, Sandi who, at the age of 21 just finished (and won) her first 100 miler, Pat who ran Trans555, Mike who just got back from honeymooning (by spending a year biking across Asia), and the list goes on. The first 8 miles were a good pace (note that it was good for me and they’d already run ~60 miles!) and then it got dark and we hit the trails. The trails weren’t as technical as I’m used to running but they had different challenges. For example, there was grass that at times was as tall as I am covering horse tracks which made for uneven footing. And it was my second time running at night. And I was running with super accomplished runners who pretty much left me in the dust. When we popped back onto the road the guys were clocking 8-8:30 min/mile pace which is around my 10K race pace. I quit running around midnight with a solid long run in my belt under a full night of stars with some really amazing people.

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The trail during the twilight before we reached it

This weekend was pretty amazing. I was inspired by my teammates and I’m so pumped about the organization in which I’ve chosen to invest. There were times when I stopped and I looked at the smiling, healthy, happy people around me and wondered how on earth I managed to get in with such an incredible crew. I’m only looking forward to giving back and having more awesome experiences with the i2P team.

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