Ok so this post is well overdue, but better late than never! Here is a quick recap of some running fun I had 2 weekends ago.
Leigh and I decided to charge in different directions the weekend of March 22/23. We both feel it is important to our personal and combined growth if we spend time apart in our chosen pursuits. What we learn separately we can share with each other on our next combined adventures.
Saturday, March 22, I was signed up for the first of 4 Squamish 50 Orientation runs. I will be attempting to run the ultra distance of 50 miles(80km) on August 17th, which is definitely going to be the hardest thing I have ever done to date. Needless to say I do most of my training runs on the trails around Squamish, so I am quite familiar with the course route, but I still love attending the orientation runs. I get to run with friends, make some new friends on the trail and feed off of the general stoke of the day, which is usually very HIGH. It gets me excited to train! With a large group, of usually close to 60 people, there is ALOT of fun to be had on the trails.
Plus these runs are almost like a mini race in themselves. Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford (directors of the Squamish 50 race) make sure to have the route marked pre-run with spray chalk and ribbons, making it almost impossible to get lost. They even have an aid station mid-run stocked with the usual goodies…cookies, salty chips, orange slices – it’s a veritable runners smorgasbord!
So that Saturday, was no exception to the 5-star service all the runners have become accustomed to at these orientation runs. The morning started off chilly and we even had fresh SNOW! It was a large group of smiling, excited runners ready to hit the trails. I was excited to start that morning with 2 of my running buddies – Adam, who will be running his first 50km (so excited for him, he is going to crush it!) and Hailey(check out her page Run Like a Girl), who will be attempting to best her time from last year (I have no doubt that she will). Of course there was a lot of laughter, pre-run, run and post run that morning…runners are a crazy bunch of people…crazy good!
Running through the lightly snow dusted trails was so beautiful. Winding through the forest, over the wooden bridges, rivers and creeks, you couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I was also able to meet two very dedicated runners, Kate and Jackie, who helped pass time on the trail with flowing conversation. Thank you so much ladies…hope to see you both on the trails again soon!
Sunday, March 23rd (bluebird day I might add), would be my first race of the season. I don’t actually partake in a lot of races, but knew that The Cap Crusher 13km race was going to be a good one, because it is the first of a group of races that are part of the Coast Mountain Trail Series, organized by the same directors of the Squamish 50. It is a tough, hilly course that runs along Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver. The course was challenging, but for every up there was a super fun, fast descent. I loved this race!
I started the race and ended up in a group of 4, one being a newly acquired running buddy, Ed Kumar who I know from the online running community (he runs a blog called ultrainspired.blogspot.ca) The four of us unconsciously grouped together running practically the same pace for the first few km’s. However amidst the joy, excitement and intense race focus (lol)the four of us missed a vital right-hand turn and ended up running at least 500-600m off course, which translates to pretty much a 1km detour! It all sorted itself out though, once we realized we had lost the pink flagging tape and no other racers were following us, we high-tailed it back to the junction where we got lost and got back on route.
Running the rest of the race was a mix of hoots, hollers, smiles and cheers from a few familiar faces. Even the volunteer marshals on this course were second to none, always making sure to point you in the right direction and encourage you with a smile and a shout “keep going, you’re doing great”.
One of the highlights for me was an elderly man running the 13km race. I saw him on the course earlier in the morning and made sure to give him a huge “woop woop” when I passed and I received the biggest most genuine smile in return. He finished in just over 2 hours and coming across the finish line he met his lovely wife who was waiting for him with a finish line kiss. It was one of the sweetest moments of the day. I can only hope that I am still racing at that age.
That was my weekend in a nutshell. A wonderful weekend of running,smiles, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. A big THANK YOU to the Coast Mountain Trail Series and Squamish 50 crew for all of the hard work they put in to make such memorable events. Looking forward to the next race/run/adventure!