One of the first few races I did where I finally felt like I was starting to know the running community was the Coho Run back in 2012. Sure, I had done plenty of races in the years prior to that but for somer reason, this event really stood out as the one where my friends from my running club in Langley and the friends I was starting to meet through my blog and online all came together.
It was such a cool feeling and it’s only continued and grown since then.
I went back and ran the Coho Run just this past Sunday and aside from meeting up with friends and the beautiful course, it was a great way to calm some pre-race nerves before the Golden Ultra this weekend.
My friend Marijke likes to do Coho every year and over a glass of wine earlier in the week she convinced me to come along with her this year. For old times sake, she said. I’d already missed online registration so I planned to just go a bit early and sign up at the start line. No biggie.
Turns out that Coho would be taking place the morning after good friends of ours were hosting a reception to celebrate their destination wedding that took place last September. No problem, I’ve run plenty of times after a social evening however, I didn’t realize that this particular social evening wouldn’t be shutting down until the wee hours of the morning. Oops.
With barely 3 hours sleep I peeled myself out of bed, got dressed and hopped in the car. When I arrived at the start line, I could barely walk in a straight line because it was so windy. I managed to pay for my registration without my cash blowing away and ran back to hide in the car until Marijke arrived. Once she did we decided to join another friend of ours at the Starbucks across the street where I proceeded to have some breakfast and try to wake up with some coffee.
This was really not how I liked to start a race. Even though we’d had some drinks the night before, I think it was more the 3:00 am nachos we made and the lack of sleep that was making me feel like such a zombie. Thankfully the coffee was helping and as I donned my compression sleeves, pinned on my bib and hoped for the best.
We just about froze waiting for the start because it was still so crazy windy! But after some pictures and a bit of huddling to stay warm, we finally got moving.
The course started at Kitsilano Beach and wound its way along the seawall there towards the Burrard Street bridge. From there we kind of ducked under the bridge and through an alley to pop up on the sidewalk of Burrard Street. In the other races I do that cross Burrard Street bridge, I’m usually dead by this point so it was kind of nice to hit the bridge early in a race for a change.
From Burrard bridge we ran over to the seawall in English Bay and carried on towards Stanley Park. It was a really beautiful morning, bright and sunny but that wind. Oh my goodness, that wind! It was so strong I felt like I was standing still and going nowhere even though I was pushing hard. It would whip in through your nose and come out through your mouth, it was nuts. And it made the run that much harder.
Marijke and I planned to run the race together and try to better our previous times. It wasn’t going to require a super hard effort since we’ve both come a long way since 2012 but this wind and my social schedule from the night before made it a tad more difficult than I was expecting. Since the wind made your voice practically disappear, we could barely talk anyway so we cranked up the tunes, put our noses to the wind and pushed along.
I really wish I would have stopped for some pictures on the seawall however because the blue skies, churned-up-turquoise ocean and white capped waves were simply stunning.
From the Stanley Park seawall, we took the Merilees Trail up to Prospect Point and then carried on up another little trail to the Lions Gate Bridge. For a course that is mostly along beaches and bridges, this darn trail is a pretty hefty hill in the middle of the race. And if there’s one thing I like to complain about, it’s big hills. Marijke was peppy but the trail runner in me wanted to walk the steepest parts and we met back up again.
Running the Lions Gate Bridge was equally stunning with the North Shore mountains ahead of us in the sun. A really great song happened to come on just as I started over the bridge and after that darn hill I felt like I practically floated across the bridge. From there it was a lovely few km along a greenway around Ambleside to the finish. Marijke had pulled ahead but we finished within a minute of each other.
Candice, our partner-in-crime from Squamish 50, was cheering for us from the finish line and had planned to join us for some pancakes after the race. Aside from the breathtaking course, the pancake breakfast is a huge highlight of this event. We met up with friends at the finish, chatted about our races, denounced the crazy winds and headed off to find the food line.
For a last minute decision to attend the event and considering I wasn’t feeling my best and then had to run in that ridiculous wind, Coho turned out to be a fantastic morning. Although I had to push, the run felt great and I did end up PR’ing by around 10 mins. 14k of two seawalls, three beaches, two bridges, pancakes and a PR? Yes, please.
So now that I’ve taken a few moments for this post, it’s back to my packing and prep for Golden. So much stuff…