SOLO The Obstacle Racer Next Door

Blog

how to run 800+km 10 minutes at a time

Posted on July 30, 2014

Another article by yours truly sees the light of day in a recent issue of Trail Running Canada (p.24-25). If you have ever had a goal that scared you a little (or a lot), you’ll appreciate the sheer size of the undertaking by my friend Rhonda.

Click on below image to see the article:
Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 2.01.34 PM

Full text below:

Have you ever had a goal? A goal so big it made your heart hurt, and your soul tremble? A BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)?

Well, Rhonda-Marie Avery has such a goal – she wants to run the entire length of The Bruce Trail, spanning over 890km, in 20 days.

I first met Rhonda at the Salomon Toronto store get together, where sponsored athletes come together to chat over a plate of nachos, or possibly a pint of beer. It may be the only time we see each other in clean outfits. The rest of the time, the hair is back, the running tights are on, and bright Salomon trail shoes are laced up tight.

Rhonda looks up and smiles, as we are introduced. Then she proceeds to almost spill her beer, and laughs at her own awkwardness lightly, just like I have done many times in the past. Yet, as we all get up to walk across the street, she takes out a pair of dark glasses, and holds on to someone’s elbow. And it dawns on me. “Is she… is she blind?”, I ask a fellow runner right next to me.

While the retina of most people contains two types of photoreceptor cells – rods and cones, Rhonda’s retina only has rods. Rods are responsible for night and peripheral vision, as well as motion detection, while cones are responsible for eye’s color sensitivity and visual acuity. As a result, Rhonda only has 8% vision, cannot see colour, and must rely on her night vision to get around.

Rhonda is also an ultra runner. A mother. A friend. A sister. Optimistic. Smiley. And stubborn. Incredibly stubborn. And a sure way to get her to do something is to tell her she can’t do it. Yet, what she is attempting to do in August of this year, will be a challenge even for her.

10435789_10154242171230026_5295425125143270931_n

The Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath, runs along the Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory. The trail is protected and maintained by The Bruce Trail Conservancy – a charitable organization, and one of Ontario’s largest land trusts, preserving over 8,000 acres of land. This year, Rhonda will become the first disabled runner to run the entire 890km.

HOW?
Ten minutes at a time. You can do anything for ten minutes. “Ten minutes until I will let myself walk again. Ten minutes until I have to start running again. Ten minutes until the race starts. Ten minutes off my last PB time on this course. Ten minutes for the next mile.Ten minutes to the next aid station.”, Rhonda muses on her blog. “Ten minutes until I see my tent again, my crew again, civilization again. Ten minutes I might lose my mind in. Ten minutes to change the world. Longest ten minutes ever. Don’t give up.”

This adventure will take many minutes. Minutes of training, minutes of thinking, minutes of planning, minutes of doubting, and, most importantly, minutes and hours and days and weeks and months of outpouring of support. From relatives and loved ones, from friends and strangers.

WHY?
The biggest question behind any crazy goal is why. Why do this? Why plan, strategize and obsess for months? Why recruit friends and strangers for help? Why canvass and fundraise? Why run, and run, and run, and then, run some more, for days?

In conjunction with Achilles Canada, Rhonda wants to bring awareness to persons with disability, the world’s largest minority group, focusing on athletes with disabilities.

Achilles Canada is a non-profit organization that encourages people with various disabilities to participate in running and other athletics.

Their mission statement is to “empower you, through running or walking, to take control of your health, to increase your self-confidence, to become more involved in the mainstream world, and to reach your full potential”.

Starting on August 4th, Rhonda, accompanied by two guide runners, will travel at least the distance of a full marathon (42.2km) per day along the Bruce Trail, with the goal of completing the distance in 20 days.

On August 23rd, Rhonda hopes to cover the last 5km of the trail as part of a public walk, where all are welcome to join in and help her complete this adventure. [Can you make it? We will all walk together, starting at 12pm at Queenston Heights Park, Niagara Pkwy, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario)

“Each day is bringing us closer to the end”, says Rhonda in her blog. “Each day we are setting out to show the world that disabled athletes are out there, trying, investing, training, focusing, and looking forward to the next ten minutes.

Every minute is a gift. Whether or not it was wrapped in beautiful paper and bows, or mud and twigs – it’s still a gift.”

Ability to run, ability to walk is a privilege. We hope to see you there. On the Bruce Trail. Walking. Running. Ten minutes at a time.

You can learn more about this project here.

***********************************************************
*Have you heard? On August 16th, 2014, I  will be running Tough Mudder Toronto blindfolded (yes, blindfolded!) in order to raise awareness for visually impaired athletes and to become a better guide runner. In October, I will be guiding Rhonda, a dear friend, an ultra runner and a visually impaired athlete through her very first Tough Mudder. Please read more and donate to the cause!

Hugs,
Solo

Share

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.58.57 AM

go, get your medal

Posted on July 28, 2014
*This blog post was written few months ago in response to the announcement about the new Spartan Race medal design. There is something special about the medal. Crossing the finish line, as you barely feel your legs. That slight bowing of the head at the finish line, so someone...
Read Full Post

Karen Simpson at 9:33 pm Jul 28
Hi Solo, I recently completed Spartan Sprint (June) and didn't get the fractional medal, just the full one. Trifecta is a goal for me regardless, I just have so many flipping goals in the works right now I don't think it'll happen in the required 12 months. We have a special story about medals in my clan. Jeff, my sometimes better half, will not do a race without a medal. I know for sure now, cause I put him in a race where they gave out Santa costumes to each participant instead of a finisher medal. It resulted in a 50 yr old man having a temper tantrum at the end of the race since only the 1st, 2nd, 3rds got medals. His reaction so inspired me to call the race organizer who I offered to bribe, pay, beg, rob her to send me a medal so I could wrap it for Christmas. I thought it would be a funny gift. Instead, his eyes welled up. He tells people that is his favourite Christmas gift EVER. It's even an ugly one LOL I actually think his reaction has had an impact on my sister's goal setting. She's run 39 Full marathon so far but throws all the medals in a shoe box. She's even thrown out lesser medals in the past. Now her goal is all about medals - 50 by 50. Since the Sahara run only gives out 1 medal (for running 6 marathons) that only counts as one. Geez! "It doesn't matter what motivates someone, it just matters that they are motivated" ~ ME :-) Love your blog!!
Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 12.56.36 PM

why Warrior Dash Toronto 2014 left me disappointed

Posted on July 19, 2014
Warrior Dash Toronto was very much a last minute decision – I did not register until Wednesday of last week. I have not done a Warrior Dash since my very first obstacle race in 2010 – Warrior Dash in Illinois. We drove out with my brother and my dad,...
Read Full Post

SOLO at 2:38 pm Jul 28
HA!
soylent

the end of food = possible solution to weight loss, and binge eating?

Posted on July 17, 2014
“The End of Food” – that’s the name of the essay in May issue of New Yorker, describing Soylent, a food replacement beverage. Rob Rhinehart created Soylent, while working on another project, after getting frustrated with spending way too much money on food. Solution? Order the basic macronutrients off...
Read Full Post

Subscribe

Categories

SOLO on Facebook