Meet Catherine a spunky young lady who is getting ready to do something that might seem impossible to some of us. Catherine is training for a Primal Quest race, I could try to explain it but I think it’s best if she gives you the rundown.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Racing is not only about the challenge for me but about the adventure and the experience of pushing oneself to the absolute limit – to your breaking point and then to keep going. I was a competitive swimmer as well as a cyclist and competed for years in those sports as well as triathlons but made the switch to adventure racing when one of my friends lost a teammate due to injury and asked if I was interested. First race I did was a 72 hour race and I was hooked. Since then I have competed in over 20+ races, ranging from 1 day to 10 days. I prefer the challenge of the multi-day races as they test not only my body but my mental strength and endurance.
The last long race that I competed in was Primal Quest badlands in 2009 as there have not been any since then – now with its return I am excited and stressed to be able to compete in this adventure yet again. I am a mother of 3, work for Canada Post as a letter carrier as well as a bike shop. On top of that I am in university finishing up my science & psychology degree – so once I was committed to this race I figured I would need some help to get myself in top race form. I contacted Jason Penner from Aspire Fitness and am so glad that they have taken this challenge to whip me into race form! Yes, I am a personal trainer as well as yoga instructor so one would think I could train myself… however, I need to be held accountable and to be pushed. The crew at Aspire have been wonderful at helping me achieve my goals – even though they may be finding far too much pleasure in torturing me as well as finding new ways to make me suffer… Ill still put a smile on my face and accept that its all for the race.
WHAT IS AN ADVENTURE RACE?
Adventure races are non-stop, multi-day, multi-sport competitions involving disciplines such as mountain biking, trekking, canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, mountaineering and horseback riding (i.e. any non-motorized modes of transportation). Races can range from 8 hours to 10 days in duration and from 40 km to 1,000 km in length. Four person, mixed gender teams travel together throughout the race and must finish together in order to be a ranked team. The race course is unmarked, and kept secret until the night before the race when teams are given topographical maps and coordinates of all the checkpoints. Once the race starts, teams are responsible for navigating to each checkpoint, in order, using only a compass and the maps provided. Often participants get in the order of 1 hour of sleep per day, the other 23 hours are spent on the move.
WHY THE PRIMAL QUEST ADVENTURE RACE?
This year, a team with three Americans and one Winnipeg resident are competing in a race called Primal Quest http://primalquest.org/ which is billed as the toughest human endurance race on the planet. It is the Olympics of the sport. The 2015 Primal Quest is being held August 22-29, 2015 in Lake Tahoe, California this August. The estimated distance for the race is 800 km. A long challenge indeed. Just finishing this race will be a monumental challenge.
WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION?
Why do we do this? Most of us started out as competitive athletes in marathons, triathlons and mountain bike races. As the challenge to finish these events wore off, we sought out more difficult events that got us further off the beaten path. For some of us the reasons are deeper than that. Sure, its for the challenge, the thrill, the push, the pain. Not everyone is capable of putting themselves through what we do, it is torture at times but all in all, it is a thrill. We do it, because we can, because we want to prove that we can, but most of all its about the experience, the scenery, the exhilaration, the bonding and both the physical and mental challenge but to most we just get…. You are nuts! Insane! Maybe there is a little of that as well. In short, the motivation is to push ourselves to the limit and do what most people think is not possible.