After a couple of years of road running I decided in the spring of this year it was time to hit the trails here on the shore. I needed a new challenge, I wanted to add strength training and coordination to my workouts, and, most importantly, I wanted to up the fun factor. I hit a couple of road blocks along the way trying to do it on my own. The major one being I never really felt comfortable alone on the trails. I loved being there alone but sort of felt vulnerable. The second factor was that I am not always as motivated doing activities by myself. Social fitness activities are the easiest to commit to and stick with and I knew that other people expecting me to be there and encouraging me along the way would make all of the difference.
Oh yeah I also really like goals and didn’t have one.
Enter Mountain Madness and the Tender Knee Race.
Mountain Madness was created by Heather MacDonald to offer trail runners on the North Shore a skills-based training program based on fun and support. She organizes and leads trail clinics, trains leaders, organizes races, documents and photographs local trails, and encourages runners of all levels to take up the sport. All of the clinics meet the first day at North Shore Athletics on Lonsdale for a de-briefing and information session before embarking on the first run. You also get a sweet discount at North Shore Athletics with clinic and race registration. Bonus.
The clinics are training sessions covering technique, gear, hydration, safety, navigation, trail food, goal-setting, avoiding injury and race preparation plus race strategy and trail maintenance. There are short course clinics (10-12km), intermediate clinics (12-25kms), advanced clinics (25+), and fanatic clinics (50km goal!). If you decide on the first day of the clinic it’s not for you they’ll give you a full refund. I have a feeling you’ll be hooked though!
I trained every Saturday morning for 10 weeks at 8:30am with Heather, her run leaders, plus clinic participants for the 12km trail race from Seymour Forest to Deep Cove on May 30th. This race ran simultaneously with the 24km Iron Knee Race from Grouse to Deep Cove. That’s next years goal!
Heather’s the real deal for sure. Encouraging, passionate about trail running and the community, fun, and a hard worker to boot. She and volunteers had placed motivational signs lining the trail all the way up one of the toughest hill sections of the Tender and Iron Knee races plus had chocolate cake and music waiting for you at the top! That’s dedication!
Check out mountainmadness.ca for upcoming clinics, races, trail conditions, articles on training and fitness plus injury prevention.