Short version: I ran down, I ran up, I came in last. Oh and I drank my very first cup of coffee. But I still had a great time…
|Proof you can still enjoy yourself even when you’re in last place!
(Thank you Jay Klassen for the great pics!)
Now, for the long version:
I wasn’t actually planning on running the Cap Crusher 8k. After hearing about it I asked a few friends and the consensus was that it’s a pretty tough race with a pretty experienced field of runners. You know, two things I don’t really ‘fit in’ with!
However, this year I’m really trying to toughen up and strengthen up and well, neither of those two things will happen if I don’t throw myself in and try. And so that’s why I let myself be entered into a contest with Sole Girls (an amazing local organization who runs these cool, confidence-building running clinics for teen girls) to win an entry to the race.
And with one very complimentary Facebook comment about why I’m a ‘Sole Role Model’, I ended up winning an entry. Gulp. If you recall, I had just run the Squamish 23 orientation run the day before and my legs were pretty stiff and tired come Sunday morning. I’d spent the night sleeping in compression socks and my feet were thanking me for wearing my Barefooters to the race!
|Some quality Barefooters time pre-race!|
In contrast to Saturday’s snow however, it was bright and sunny on Sunday and I figured that would be enough to perk me up. But I was wrong. It was actually FREEZING cold. So cold in fact, that I actually gave in and drank my very first cup of coffee ever. I’m just not a coffee drinker but that warm liquid sure felt good in that sunshiny cold!
As we listened to pre-race instructions, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a beautiful morning we’d been given for this race. The mountains were so pretty with their snow on top and the sky was so clear.
The 13k runners went out first and there was lots of talk about the reigning 50k champion who happened to be in town from the US and running that morning. I happily hung back and tried to stay warm for a few more minutes before the 8k started. I still wasn’t feeling great and probably used up half a box of kleenex just while we were waiting!
But eventually it was our turn and off we went. Despite knowing how much elevation we’d have to climb and descend, I was excited to run this race because I’d never really run much through Capilano Canyon. In fact, the only time I’d run there was for the 5 Peaks trail video I got to be a part of.
Right away we climbed and then descended a pretty steep hill. I could feel right away how sore my quads and calves were. But that was okay because I wasn’t exactly out there to ‘race’ and that was fine with me. Alanna and I were keeping a good pace together and just carried on and caught up since we don’t get to see each other very often.
|Cool shot of Alanna and I by Solana’s hubby
and his fish eye (?) lens
I can’t really remember a whole lot about the course other than it was really beautiful and there was indeed lots of climbing! Lots and lots and lots. While I think I might actually be kinda, sorta halfway decent on the downhills, I pretty much suck on the climbs. I’m just not a powerhouse (yet?) and always slow right down to hike up them. There were a few times where other runners just blew past us on the climbs and I just had to admire how strong and quick they could scramble up.
Anyhow, thankfully there were also lots of flat-ish and rolling trails that we easily ran along. And given that Capilano is indeed a canyon, there are some pretty dramatic cliffs and views of the river below. Solana’s husband had himself situated on one of the bridges to catch pics of us as we went by. I may not have been moving fast but I was still enjoying myself!
Turns out one of the other photographers was also right in the same spot and captured me ambling across the bridge too…
The 8k course was a couple of loops but I couldn’t really keep straight in my head where we were. However, soon after crossing this bridge we got back onto some trails that were starting to look familiar again. Just one last climb and I knew were close to being finished. I turned around to try and get a pic showing how steep the climbs were but it never seems to translate properly…
|Trust me, it was steep|
Anyhow, we came up off that last climb and could hear the hubbub of the finish line. We looked at each other and agreed we would cross the finish line together so that neither was last. Alanna’s son even joined us of the last little sprint as we crossed the line.
I knew were the last to finish but I had enjoyed the run so much, it didn’t really matter. And if there’s one thing I’ve gotten good at over the last 6 years of running, it’s not feeling ‘bad’ if I’m last in a race. I’m still so very new to trail running and I know it’s going to take me a long time before I get strong enough to not even compete, but simply keep up with the pack. And I’m okay with that. My main competition is myself anyway and as long as I feel like I’m learning and growing and improving, that’s competition enough for me.
After finishing we grabbed some yummy snacks – the beef and barely soup was so delicious and just what I needed to warm up!
|Thank you to Alanna’s hubby Colin for this cool shot
in the food lineup
We ended up sticking around to visit and watch the awards. Even though I’ll likely never hit that podium myself it’s still pretty cool to see friends I’ve met in the past year accept their awards for first and second place finishes.
In the end, I was super glad I had the chance to run this race. It was definitely a tough one for me but the beautiful course, great event organization and awesome group of people made it so worth it. That’s one thing I like about this trail running community is that even though I’m way behind the pack I never feel left out or judged for it. A huge thank you to Sole Girls and Coast Mountain Trail Series for offering up the free entry!
In the end, our time was 1:26 and change for the 8k. So yes, it was definitely the hardest 8k I’ve ever run. Alanna did in fact cross the finish line together but thanks to my last name starting with ’S’ compared to Alanna’s ‘A’ last name, I got to claim that coveted DFL position for myself. And I’m darn proud of it.
|A sunny, red-nosed selfie|