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I hope you are all feeling slightly worked out and ready to roll this Sunday! For those of you in BC anyway. For those who don't know, my teammates and fellow Vancouver runners have been preparing for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon this Sunday June 27Th. It's been a sweat and effort filled journey and we can finally wait for it's arrival knowing that we have followed all the necessary steps to take us on that journey smoothly.
So why the heck are you racing two races in 24hrs the weekend before the big race?? You big dummy. Well there is a bit of a story as to why I might do such a crazy thing. The Longest Day was essential for series points. (Which I actually managed to scrounge up even with such an epic field) But as for this Paavo Nurmi run, I had made a promise to a wonderful person not long ago, but before I knew my race schedule. When I moved to Vancouver I took a job at a specialty Nordic ski shop on West 4th called Sigge's. Sigge's is owned and operated by Sigge's son Anders and his wife Jody. These people took me into their shop and made me feel like I was part of their family. Sigge is the Grandfather of cross country skiing in Canada and even has trails named after him at the local mountain Cypress. Sigge informed me of this race that he puts on some time ago and one other staff member and myself agreed to partake.
I could have not shown, but that wouldn't say much for my character now would it? Besides, If you could see the look on his face when he saw me. Amazing. And not to sound cliche or anything but when I came across that line as the winner, his face, priceless. He told me how proud he was of me and said "You're living a good life." It was worth every second to hear it from such a legend. Just before I get into the race report, I'd like to take this time to thank some of my heroes and inspirations of the moment. People that have in one way or another influenced my life for the greater good in the past few years. It's people like you that inspire others to be great whether you know it or not. This list is in no particular order and there are many more, but just a quick few for now.
My parents. Especially my Dad for his running and life experience. My friends and family, coach John Hill and The VFAC crew for kicking my butt so well. Special mentions going out to Jay, Kevin, Mark, Drew, Greame, Rick, Chris, Johnny A., Kate, and Katherine. Your dedication and heart are what inspire me through the hardest of times and without you, VFAC would not be what it is today! Willy Kimosop, out of all the Kenyans, I sure like this guy, not only fast but super friendly. Ryan Day and the list could go on for days but I'll stop there.
My alarm woke me up only three hours after my head had hit the pillow. (note to self, Do not take a 6hr energy shot at 7:45 at night. (longest day 5k)) After consuming 2 litres of beer, I rolled out of bed feeling quite groggy. The sun was shining and it promised to be a glorious day! I knew I would have some good company today as I was car pooling with some friends from Sigge's. I met them at Starbucks thank goodness because I sure needed the boost and they were sweet enough to bring me a banana. Off we went. I was sure before we got there that there probably wasn't going to be any competition so I would be able to cruise through to an easy finish. Sure enough, no prob! I did however bump into a fellow runner from the circuit who has been very fast but recently coming back from injury. He was doing the 5k. Lucky for me because he was right behind me right up to 2.5 km where he passed me. I was feeling slightly laboured. I burped and it tasted of beer coffee and banana. I let him go knowing that he was only running half the distance as I was. Gosh he was looking very smooth I and had a great couple of kms with him. I hadn't been to Burnaby Lake before So I had no idea where I was going. There were hand made signs curiously placed along the course that for the most part were keeping me on track. We came to the 3km mark and I started thinking "If that was 3k then he'd be running 6k so I'm not sure how he'd get back." and now I'm wondering if he's actually doing the 10k. Shortly after that we reached the 5k turnaround. What a relief, all alone now I can really relax. The trails were soft underfoot and most of the corners were banked slightly so I could really lean into them. I felt comfortable. Towards 5km I got lost. I wasn't sure where to turn at this one junction. I turned back and asked a hiker if they had seen any signs up ahead and they said I should go back the way I was going. After a brief spazz out I realized they were right and was on my way to the turn around.
I always enjoy a good out and back. It's always neat seeing all the people you are running against. The rest of the run was uneventful except for some fatigue around the 8.5 km mark. Into the finish for photos a beautiful medal and some alkaline water. Good times!
Things I hate - Uncomfortable tempo runs
Things I love - Teammates that make me feel like family