Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Master of the Farmer's Blow

June's TrailRunner blog topic is: Tell us about someone awesome you've met through trail running.
The first person that comes to my mind is Gordon Warnicka, who I met during my first 50 km trail ultra. I had just finished the first 6 km loop and was in the process of peeling off my arm warmers when he came running past saying "Let's get going Sarah-time to run!" I grabbed my fuel from my husband and caught up to Gordon and his awesome dog Tess as they climbed the first significant hill of the 9 km loop.
Gordon told me he was in his sixties and had gotten into running a bit later in life. He told me stories of how he through-trekked the AT with another guy, how they had met up with a young woman doing the trek by herself and how they had trekked together for a few days before she went her own way. He told me about being the only Canadian kayak team to do the 100+ mile Alaskan race two years in a row and the amazing scenery up north, how he had helped start-and still helps organize-the Rum Runner's relay on the province's south shore...all after the age of 55! Aside from his entertaining stories and solid pacing he also gave me some very helpful advice when it comes to tackling trail ultras:
1. Always do a quick shoulder check prior to performing the "Farmer's Blow," slightly bend your head, turn to one side-hopefully away from any other runners you are with-and with one finger on one nostril, blow hard. Repeat on the other side.
2. If you can't see the top of a hill-walk. Running the really steep hills will only tire your legs and make you slower overall.
3. Pick up your feet! He recommended this one after I did a face plant as we ran through some tall grass...all good advice.
The most important lesson I learned from Gordon though was that just because you hit retirement age doesn't mean you can't still get out on the trails and have an awesome time. Here he was, at age 65, still rockin' the trail and having a blast. I found Gordon to be quite the inspiration and realized that I want to still be out here when I'm his age, and heck, through-trekking sounds pretty fun too.

Gordon and me at the 21 km mark - WWTR2012

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