It is with much surprise that I have actually taken a seat in front of the computer long enough to post a race recap. Generally, as you’ll know if you follow this blog, I write things well after the fact (or not at all). Since I’m feeling lazy my recap is going to be one point per kilometer of the race…
Race: Survival of the Fittest (a Coast Mountain Trail Series race)
Ascent / Descent: 533m / 524m (although the site says 700m for both[?]) measured with my so-fancy-it-should-be-accurate Suunto Ambit2
Weather: Sunny and, at times, HOT (on the Ambit2 was 27.5C at it’s hottest and 22C average)
Finish Time: 2:13:40
This race runs from Quest University in Squamish, BC, and follows much of the first part of the 23km race that I ran last summer as part of the Squamish50 race weekend.
Here are 13 things about my race yesterday in no particular order:
1. Switchbacks suck. Or, rather, I suck at switchbacks. Maybe a little bit of both. The fact that this race is basically uphill right off the bat does not play into my favour. I know that it takes me about 5km to settle into a race so I spent a good long time plodding along. Having a cold this week and being a ball of phlegm didn’t help.
2. I’m slow. My main goal for this race other than finish was to not finish last. Spoiler alert: Goal Achieved!
3. A well-flagged course makes a huge difference. The RD, Gary Robbins, likes his flagging. This much I’ve learned in the races that I’ve done so far (Squamish 23km and Cap Crusher). Some – not me – might think it verges on the excessive, but as a newbie trail runner I can say that the sight of those little pink flags is very comforting. As referenced in point 2 I am not the fastest runner so it’s not unusual that I don’t see people around to follow. Flags are my friends in the forest. If I can see flags I know I’m not traipsing about aimlessly.
4. This course reminds me of Dagobah (rooty) and Endor (mossy). Seriously, I kept expecting Yoda or an Ewok to pop out and run with me.
5. I love downhills. There is an amazing downhill stretch after the aid station where I get that uncontrolled/controlled tumbleweed sensation that I love so much.
6. Having people you know on course makes it fun. Colin was a marshal at the point where the 18km racers rejoined the 13km course. He took our Nuun cowbell and cheered for runners. It was nice to see a friendly face since I wasn’t feeling completely spectacular at that point. A lot of our other trail running friends came out as well to volunteer.
7. I wore my sparkle skirt. What I can’t make up in speed I made up in style. I got a ton of complements on it so I was happy that I didn’t self-consciously chicken out of wearing it. Hopefully the official photo is decent since I didn’t take my camera and Colin left for his spot before I started my race.
8. Drinking tea on the drive up was a poor choice. I thought I had enough time to process it (yeah, pee), but it turns out I did not. I spent much of the first part being sloshy. It was gross. I wanted to drink because I was hot, but not because it would mean more slosh. I’m smart so I hydrated, but definitely could have done without the issue.
9. Speaking of issues, watch this “Marathon Thoughts” video at 1:57. That was me for the last 3.5km. It was unhappy. Mostly because it was all downhill, which made it feel unbearable, but also because I LOVE downhill (see point 5) and I was disappointed/angry that I couldn’t enjoy it. Additionally, I had finally passed someone with a yellow bib (13km racer) and was damned if I was going to let her pass me again. This was a definite character building aspect of the race. And one I do not wish to repeat.
10. My race day nutrition sucked. I didn’t eat properly the night before the race; I had a lemon raspberry loaf slice to go along with my bad-choice tea because it was too early when I left to eat my Picky Bar; I only had 1 gel (mmm, Hammer Apple-Cinnamon) when I should have probably had 2. I know better.
11. Colin and I had really good tacos for lunch at Casa Norte Taqueria in Squamish post-race. I love Mexican food and this was perfect. One chicken, one pork, and one fish (which was my favourite). Not sure if they were the food truck I went to after the 23km last summer…
12. I won a race entry into Buckin’ Hell in June!! All I had to do was explain what the race was about. I’m not a public speaker, but no one else was going and this was already on my race schedule so I was happy to get it. I’ll be doing the 21.1km race – Deep Cove to Seymour Lookout and back.
13. It never ceases to amaze me how welcoming and supportive the trail running community is. For me, it’s nice to be able to meet people I only “know” through social media or who are friends of friends. I don’t think anyone ran by me on the trail that didn’t say hi or comment on my skirt or ask how I was doing. I tried to do the same with them. I’m fairly certain the one runner who was injured was tired of people asking if he was doing okay (he would be) – I wasn’t the first or last person to go by. There is a genuine interest from everyone involved in how you did no matter how fast or slow. The ability to finish is treated as a feat in and of itself as opposed to simply how fast you went. That, and you don’t get a high-five from the RD at any old race. The point is: trail running is different and that’s what makes it special. Pardon the sappiness…
So there you have it. My 4th race of the year in a nutshell. Next up: Buckin’ Hell 21.1 on 21 June 2014. I’m such a sucker for punishment.