Sadly this is my first blog regarding the MEC trail series. I signed up to run each race in this series as they offered an incredible deal in 2016 for the whole series that I couldn't pass up. I always wanted to run a MEC race and this deal gave me the boot to the keister that I needed. Sadly, I missed the 1st race in the series at Point Pleaant Park due to illness but no way was I going to miss this one!
If you've never been to Citadel Hill in Halifax, for 2017 Parks Canada is offering up FREE ADMISSION to everyone to celebrate Canada's 150! You HAVE to go!
On to the race;
What can I say? AMAZING!! One of my favourites for sure! I might be a tad biased because I'm definitely a trail runner at heart. We began in the parade square, from there we ran across a cobblestone path to the outskirts of the Citadel. We then picked up speed as we raced down the hill. We didn't enjoy that feeling of gazelle like grace for long as we quickly did a U-Turn to traverse up that lovely long steep luxiourious downhill that gave us so much flight to our feet. At about a quarter of the way up, my gazelle like greatness turned into a sloth like sluggishness! Once we crested what felt like the tip of Everest we continued along the perimeter of Citadel to another long yet much less steep hill down to the base of the great Citadel. We traversed along the base for 1/4 trek, this was a welcome break to catch our wind and hit our stride again before we headed up the much longer though steadier and more manageable incline to the top. Once we crested we finished off the remainder of the outside perimeter and went inside the ditches portion of the run. This was FANTASTIC! I have visited Citadel Hill many times but never went inside the ditches! I was in awe! We traveled through cobble stone tunnels, over grassy terrain and back though again! Honestly by the time I finished this short 5k I really wished I signed up for the 10 because I badly wanted to do it all again! It was fabulous!!
Of course every review must endure a few cons. I tell you, it's very hard to find any cons about this run, but in all fairness I will give some downers.
The run around 1/4 of the base. It was all sidewalk. I'm a horrible runner, my form is something that definitely needs work; running on concrete kills me. When we had made it to the base it was all pretty much single file running. We had to leave adequate room for the rockstars to come back. That played havok on my pace as well as my form. It was hard to find a new normal for my pace and the concrete killed my lower back. If you're looking to PR on this one, I'd say save it for another. This is not a PR kind of event. You will find yourself walking through tunnels and slowing down considerably while running single file. Not to mention taking in the scenery all around you. Seriously, who can speed through all that? Enjoy it! When will you ever get the chance to run through the gulleys of Citadel Hill if not with the MEC Citadel Highlander?!
Do you believe in God? I do. This is my story.
September. 2011. I was broken. Tired. My personal life had sunk to a place of misery in a way where I could see no resolution. I was trapped in a life I no longer wanted. I couldn't get out. I needed help and couldn't find any. The level of hopelessness and despair was unbearable.
After another fight with my husband I got in my car. I drove. I drove to Lawrencetown beach. I drove down to the water and parked at the waters edge. I stared out at the water and screamed and cried and beat my fists on the steering wheel. I gripped that stearin wheel with all my might and I screamed GOD!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!! You need to know that at this point in my life I had no relationship with God. I hadn't been to Church but a handful of times since grade 8. I didn't believe in the giant man in the sky and I thought all religious people were weird, crazy and completely brainwashed. I thought they hated people who were different than them and they wanted only those that had the same values in their club. I thought they were hypocrites and I had no use for any religious person or any religious talk. I wouldn't shun anyone who spoke of religion but I surely wouldn't listen to them either. I regarded them with pity because I knew they were crazy.
Just 3 days after my incident at the beach my son came home from school and asked me if he could go to youth. I asked him what it was. He told me that it was a church group at a church on Ritcey cres. I was very skeptical. I didn't want my son getting in a group where they started praying and teaching about God. I didn't want him to get roped into all that garbage. He was impressionable and young and easy prey. I let him go. I had weird images about what this group was all about and when he came home I asked him about it. He told me it was cool. They had a band and played games and he had a lot of fun. I thought, yah, sure, until the brainwashing began, but whatever... ok... you're having fun and that's all that matters.
The next week, after youth, my son asked me if he could go away on a trip to Kingswood University with his youth group for the weekend. BELLS AND WHISTLES galore rang out in my head. NO WAY!! You aren't going ANYWHERE with THESE PEOPLE!! No way! I don't trust any of them! I didn't say that. I said "I want to meet them". He told me they were having a bottle drive the Saturday to raise money for the trip. I decided I would meet them at the recycle place where they were collecting bottles.
The first person I met was Pastor Tim the
Youth Pastor. I shook his hand. Before I even introduced myself and stated my business, this man welcomed me into his personal space. I was full of judgement and questions where he was full of curiosity and love. I could just see it in his eyes. I immediately relaxed my stance just by being near him. I explained who I was and why we were there. We chatted a bit. I was feeling more comfortable about letting my son go but still not 100%. Then I met Pastor Jay.
Pastor Jay is not special on his own. He is just like the rest of us. He is not someone you would pick out in a line up and say Yup! He's a man of God. He is not someone you would immediately see and say he's a Pastor. He's absolutely just a human like me and you. That day however, he was God to me. Ok, as I wrote that last sentence, the feeling on meeting him that first time is stirring in my gut and tears are starting to well up in my eyes all over again. I shook his hand and I felt the power of the Holy Spirit leave him and enter me. I knew at that moment there was a God. He was real. He was here, he was going to help me, he was going to heal my family and he came simply because I called. I didn't even believe in Him and I rebuked him and he still came. Simply because I called.
That following Sunday I went to Hillside Wesleyan Church and I've gone ever since. I became involved in the Church. I wanted to show God how thankful I was. God came into my home. He walked through it and took out all the sadness, misery, hopelessness and replaced it with love. Simply because I called.
Do we still fight as a family? Yes! Of course! Do I still have moments where I wonder if it's all worth it? Yes! Do I still leave and wonder how I'll ever get back? No. Why? Because I know I have God in my corner and I know he will always be there to help me through the storms.
If you've made it this far through my story, I thank you. I'm glad to know you know my story. Today, on this Good Friday, the day when Jesus made it possible for me to tell God personally that I needed him and the day he made it possible for God to personally answer me, I felt compelled to share my story with all of you. I felt compelled to publicly confess my adoration, love and complete thankfulness for a God who loves me so much that even though I rebuked him, when I called, he answered.
Praise be to God in the highest. I'm not ashamed or afraid.
Do you believe?
I began my running journey in March of 2009. I began my journey of faith in September of 2012. Running releases stress from my body while my new found faith releases stress from my mind.