MOUNTAIN LIFE - Ontario | Winter 2016 - page 57

In that section, late in the race, you don’t know if
your legs will give out or not. You’re thinking, “If I go faster,
will I wipe out?”
Climbing is terrible mentally. Every time you round a
corner and you see more climbing, it just crushes your spirit.
But going downhill is terrifying. You’re thinking, “If I stumble
now, not only will I not finish the race, but I might be in a
cast for the next six weeks.”Whereas if you fall uphill, you’ll
probably just get bruised.
I did not knowmy placing until after I crossed the
finish line. AndMatt didn’t know until after he finished that
he was an hour ahead of the second-place male.
Howdoyouapproach themindgameof competitive
endurance running?
WhenMindy and I go for a run, it’s really enjoyable,
we’re just chatting. In a workout, I focus internally
how fast I’m running, whether I’m comfortable at that speed.
But in a race I’m far more focused onwhat’s happening
externally. It’smore, “Can I pass this guy on this hill?”
It’s crushing when you’re happy with your
performance and how you’re racing, and then you get
passed. And then passed again. So you have to be strong
mentally to stick with it, because even though those people
are passing you in the early stages, later on
two or three
hours into it
you can reel them in and take over. These are
long races, and a lot can happen over that distance.
ForupdatesonTheNorthFaceEnduranceChallenge2016, check:
Freeze Frame
“Last winter we picked a date to shoot some stills and video of my friendMindy
Fleming and her boyfriendMatt Leduc, running outside Collingwood for a longer-
term project I’mworking on. They are sponsored competitive runners and were
up for a challenging and early day. We had settled on a date weeks in advance
which ended up being the coldest day of the winter in Ontario. My cameraman,
Brian, and I left my studio in Toronto at an ungodly hour to reach the top of the
Escarpment for sunrise. That’s normal for us. What was abnormal was the blast of
Arctic air which welcomed us as we stepped outside the van. We do a lot of work
in the Arctic, and this was cold even by those standards. The mercury was below
-40C with the windchill at the top of an exposed and very windy precipice. We
tried to power up our gyro-stabilized gimbal and it wouldn’t start. Our main video
camera stopped working after a fewminutes. My iPhone shut itself off from the
cold. Through all this we had layers of down and insulation to keep our hands and
bodies warm. Our talent did not; they showed up ready to run, wearing running
shoes, tights, and flimsy (barely windproof) tops. I offered up some hand and
foot warmers, small comfort that it was. It was punishing, especially at first, but
Mindy andMatt stoically did what was asked of them, again and again. They took
turns running through knee-deep snow at the top of Blue Mountain for an hour
at a time, taking quick warm-up breaks in the van. In the end it all worked out.
We got our shots and the day warmed up a little. The thing we all remember is
that we got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and spend a memorable day together in a
spectacular spot.”
Mindy Fleming atMetcalfeRock.
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