Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

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Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby ultraslacker » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:14 pm

I had been considering this race all year, so when I won a free entry, I knew I had to do it.

It's a new race, and amazingly filled up beyond the original limits (they opened up more spots). I'm not in shape to do the full 50 miles so I opted for the shorter distance, which is billed as 21km. However, in the weeks leading up to the race we received updates that it was more like 22.5km... or maybe a little further. ;)

I drove up to Squamish with a friend who was also running, and ran into some other trail buddies along the way. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm. I've never actually run in/around Squamish before so the trails were all new to me.

The first chunk of the race was actually up (up up) a gravel service road. Aside from a short stretch on a side trail, the first four miles were all uphill on gravel service road. That was NOT fun. I'm not a fan of gravel roads at any time, but this was a continuous climb in the sun for 4 miles. And on the little side trail detour I got stung by a hornet. The friend who was running with me was about 10 feet behind me and she also got stung in the same spot! Minor annoyance, but the stinging did not make the 4 mile gravel climb any more enjoyable. ;)

Finally we reached the highest point and turned on to a real trail--a mountain biking trail! It was dusty, winding, and really really fun. We bombed down that trail and it felt so much better than being on the road. So I was disappointed that it wasn't longer, and suddenly we were on the road again, heading back up the gravel. But this time we didn't have to go as far. I was actually thinking during this stretch that this race really felt like mountain biking: long, arduous climbs followed by short, fun descents... and repeat. After grabbing some water and a handful of m&ms, I left the aid station and headed on back into the trail system. There was some up/down and then we hit a really nice stretch of flat, soft trail. Living where I do, I'm not used to trails being so flat for so long, and I was really enjoying it. We then turned down on to a technical downhill--also mountain bike trail, and here we actually had to leapfrog some mountain bikers for awhile. This section was really fun, and it was here that I started to feel really happy. There are these moments in every trail race where I just feel the joy of what I'm doing, and I think to myself, "this is what life is all about." But it was also a stretch where taking a tumble was a very real possibility, so I was being pretty careful--and I'm glad now that I was careful, because later on I saw several people who DID take a tumble, and they were pretty beat up!

The rest blurs together a bit... it would change from technical and rocky to soft dirt with a few roots. Some more switchbacks, a bit more climbing, lots of descending (it was a net downhill course). Leapfrogging with the same handful of people throughout the race. Glad that the trails were shaded. Loving the rainforest (as always). Eating peanut butter m&ms for fuel because I forgot to buy gels. Thinking that the race seemed longer than it should. Slowing down, but still feeling mentally and physically fine. Noticing that I had blisters on both feet, and kicking myself for not wearing my defeet socks today.

Then coming out into a neighbourhood... oh that damned pavement. Pavement... pavement for too long. The good news was that meant we were nearing the end.

Then into the home stretch, and having to run on the side of a train track (rocky), straight into a strong wind coming off the water. Ugh. Tough way to end it. Can't see the finish line, not sure how much further... and then suddenly there it is! Tried to look good for the finish, where a friend managed to snap my finish line photo.

At the finish, there were a number of perks:
- icecream
- massage tent
- beer garden
- showers (yay!!)
- soft grass to sit on and ease our sore feet

I have several blisters and my hornet sting is still... well, stinging. But aside from that, I felt pretty good and was happy with my race. I felt as though I gave a good effort and ran well, even though I am not as well trained as I'd like to be. Garmin says 14.8 miles, which is 23.8km, but there was variation among garmins. It took me 3.5 hours... a little slower than I'd hoped, but I'm happy with it anyway. :)

Oh, and at the awards ceremony I randomly won one of these: http://www.ultraspire.net/products/spry/

So that was pretty sweet, especially since I won the race entry itself! Bonus.

I would definitely run it again, and confess that I was a little jealous of those who had done the full 50 miles.... maybe next year!
"You're an ultrarunner, normal rules don't apply to you." (Doonst)


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus

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Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Jwolf » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:19 pm

Wow- that sounds a lot more challenging than I expected!
Congratulations on the finish.
Next year for sure. :)

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Doonst » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:36 pm

Fun stuff for sure!
Victory even not in Defeet
next up:


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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:14 am

it was here that I started to feel really happy. There are these moments in every trail race where I just feel the joy of what I'm doing, and I think to myself, "this is what life is all about."


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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Ken B » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:58 pm

Superb report and pretty nice race, Holly! Congratulations!! :)

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:55 pm

sounds like fun! (minus the sting...yikes!). congrats!
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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Avis » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:33 pm

You make this sound like so much fun (except for th esting, of course)! Makes me want to try one some fine day.
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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby carm » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:11 pm

The Mountain Goat conquers the 23-24-ish K Squamish race! You are hard-core! Congrats and that's a pretty sweet score of a door prize!
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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby RobW » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:15 pm

It's tempting to try a trail race from the details of your report. Sounds like a great event. Congrats on your race!

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Andy Aitch » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:36 pm

I missed you at the finish Holly, I was too slow. The 50 mile course went up that gravel road three times!

Here's what you get at the finish when you come in over 13 hours:
- no ice cream
- empty massage tent
- begging the food truck folks to make some noodles
- beer garden full of drunk locals
- a long, almost 2km walk to the car to ease my sore feet

Regardless, I had a great day. The organization, course markings, volunteers and other runners were all stellar. I guess I just need to be faster or something.

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby HCcD » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:40 am

This trail running / racing thing sounds like a lot of fun ... :shock: :lol: :wink: :shifty:
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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby La » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:00 am

Well done, ultra-non-slacker! ;)

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:46 pm

heliotrope wrote:I missed you at the finish Holly, I was too slow. The 50 mile course went up that gravel road three times!

Here's what you get at the finish when you come in over 13 hours:
- no ice cream
- empty massage tent
- begging the food truck folks to make some noodles
- beer garden full of drunk locals
- a long, almost 2km walk to the car to ease my sore feet

Regardless, I had a great day. The organization, course markings, volunteers and other runners were all stellar. I guess I just need to be faster or something.


I'm not sure I could have handled going up that road a third time!! brutal. Sorry to hear that you missed out on the best finish line goodies. It's a tough course, so I imagine a lot of people were slower than they'd hoped. :/

That noodle truck... was it the one with the pad thai? We went there too, and first we waited forever because they had a bunch of orders ahead of us, and then they ran out of pad thai sauce just as it was our turn, so we had to change our order and they got really confused about it, and then when they finally finished it the guy dropped one of ours and landed it on the ground... so we had to wait for them to make it again. Then when we finally got to eat, the noodles were hard and rubbery. We should have gone for the taco stand!!
"You're an ultrarunner, normal rules don't apply to you." (Doonst)


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:47 pm

La wrote:Well done, ultra-non-slacker! ;)


well, since I didn't run ultra distance, I'm still a slacker. :lol:
"You're an ultrarunner, normal rules don't apply to you." (Doonst)


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Andy Aitch » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:07 pm

ultraslacker wrote:I'm not sure I could have handled going up that road a third time!! brutal. Sorry to hear that you missed out on the best finish line goodies. It's a tough course, so I imagine a lot of people were slower than they'd hoped. :/
The first half of my run went great, I was on track to be done in time for ice cream and everything. Then my knee went kaput and I had a 25 mile suffer-fest, downhills were especially painful.

ultraslacker wrote:That noodle truck... was it the one with the pad thai?
That's the one. You could swap a jigsaw puzzle piece for some pad thai as the post-race meal but as I was lying on the grass just after my finish, they were calling last call for noodles. By the time I got there, they were out but they were persuaded by a small, hungry horde of late finishers to make more noodles.

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby ultraslacker » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:50 am

we kept hearing about the puzzle pieces but didn't have any and didn't know what they were for... maybe just a 50-miler thing...? we paid for our crappy noodles. :P
"You're an ultrarunner, normal rules don't apply to you." (Doonst)


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Tori » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:47 am

Great job Holly! That sounds like a really cool trail race. :D

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Stampie » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:57 am

Nicely done Holly!

I've mtn biked in the area on a few occasions and there is nothing pleasant with those gravel forestry service roads, but the single track trails are sweet! This course uses part of the Test of Metal course doesn’t it?
PB’s (official race results)
5K – 26:20; 8K – 41:28; 10K – 52:13; 15K - 1:22:43; 21.1K – 1:54:16; 30K – 2:51:34; 42.2K – 4:24:14

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Feb 5th - First Half Vancouver CANCELLED due to snow :(
Apr 1st - Birch Bay 30K 2:56:52
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Jun 25th - Scotia Vancouver Half 2:07:05 a PW, but so much fun!

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Miss*Smiles » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:04 am

Awesome! Neat! Way to go!

Nicely done on the race AND congratulations on your prize!!!

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Re: Squamish50 (21...22...24km?)

Postby Robinandamelia » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:04 am

Congratulations to you! Sounds like quite the event!


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