I came up with the bold idea back in July to follow my first ride up Cypress with my first trail race. That dream died when my chain snapped near the top and I didn’t make the race in time. The silver lining was that the awesome folks at 5 Peaks allowed me to switch my registration to the Whistler Blackcomb race in August and from what I’d heard, it was a pretty spectacular setting.
I had been resisting the trails for a while but something (a lot of fellow runners) told me it was time to give them a try. I woke up before sunrise on a beautiful morning to take the first bus to Whistler. After I picked up my race package, I ran into some fellow Fraser Street and Broadway runners and we took the scenic ride on the two gondolas to Blackcomb.
Everything about the race was chill, and I loved that. Everyone I met was friendly and in a good mood even though the race start was delayed. There was loads of coffee and food. I even got to demo some trail shoes for the run. As the racers made their way to the start area, I found myself a spot near the middle of the pack and waited for our mini wave to get the go ahead.
I should say that everything about the race except the actual race was chill. There was a tough, steep climb at the beginning and another equally tough one near the end. At the first summit runners were greeted by the one and only Scott Jurek, who was in town to deliver a weekend workshop. He was giving words of encouragement to the runners and we were spread out enough that I even got in a quick chat with him. He’s as genuine and cool as I’d read about.
In the early stages I was cruising and building confidence on the unfamiliar terrain when soon after passing by Scott I took a tumble but managed to escape with just a few scrapes. I recognized it as a sign to reign it in; it was a humble reminder that I’m totally new to trail running and have a lot to learn.
The race seemed to go by much faster than the hour and twenty or minutes or so I spent on course. It was especially interesting to watch some of the experienced guys and girls weave their way through the single track, especially on the downhills. The final downhill into the finish area felt good but I was humbled again to see that my final time put me in the bottom half of my category. These guys don’t mess around!
Chip Time – 1:21:29
Overall – 50/190
M – 44/109
M30-39 – 17/32
When Fraser Street Run Club (FSRC) let folks know that they wanted to get a big group out for the Eastside 10k I knew it was gonna be a fun race. I was also missing a good speed check leading up to the NYC Marathon and this was scheduled at the perfect time to gauge where I was at in my training. I also really wanted to get a sub-40 10k under my belt.
Another benefit to this one was that just like the only other 10k race I’ve run in Vancouver, the Sun Run, the start line is just a hop, skip and a run from my apartment door. After waking up and grabbing breakfast I did a light run down to the start and saw a bunch of familiar faces. It was another sunny day and even though there were over 1,500 entrants the race had a fun, relaxed vibe.
I made my way to a few rows back from the front, just to the left of the 40 minute pacer. Even though I usually don’t pay much attention to pacers I knew that without a watch this guy could come in handy. Although the first kilometre was downhill I felt like I settled into a solid rhythm right away as I tried to keep some of the faster guys I knew in view. By about the halfway mark the pain and doubt started to set in and as we began the second last climb with about 1.5km to go I could hear the 40 minute pacer behind me. On the final stretch up the viaduct he let us know that we were 30 seconds under pace and gave me a few words of encouragement, which I really appreciated. After a tough final uphill section, coming into the finish and seeing the 39 still on the clock was a pretty great feeling. When I ran my first sub-50 10k a year and a half ago I never would have thought this kind of time was within my range so needless to say I was quite pleased. I was also quite pleased with the decision to have a boozy brunch at Alibi Room after the race featuring a big group from FSRC and Broadway. A very fun day all around.
Chip Time – 39:29
Overall – 72/1461
M – 62/694
M30-34 – 16/109