My first ultra.
The last few weeks before the race I had been taking it easy – really easy. My hamstring had been bothering me and sitting made it much worse so I had rigged my desk into a standing desk at work. I was nervous about my training. I had never even set out a training plan and had peaked much earlier than planned. I hoped what they said about ultra training was true … It’s what you’ve done in the last 6 months, more than the last 6 weeks.
The Squamish50 km race took place on Sunday, August 23 with the 50 mile race the day before. Three of my friends were doing BOTH, because they are truly crazy! Jesse and I drove up on Saturday and waited at the Quest University aid station for the 50 milers to come through. We said greeted our friends and helped get them ready to go back out on the trails. It was midday and they had less than half of the race left.
After the three of them were all through, we checked into Hotel Squamish in the “downtown” area. The front desk guy was super friendly and helpful. Our room was nothing too fancy but it was clean, close to the finish line, and had a fridge and coffee maker. It was about $100 per night booked through Travelocity and there was free parking. I’d recommend staying there, just make sure your room isn’t above the pub. Rates for those rooms are cheaper but it can be really noisy from what I read.
We picked up our race packages, bought a couple Squamish50 Buffs, and ate lunch at the Howe Sound Brewery. I had a couple veggie tacos which were delicious! I went to the finish line after and met up with friends while Jesse had a nap at the hotel. Chris made it across the finish line before my early bed time but I wasn’t there to see Courtney and Kyle’s finishes.
It was an early morning to get to the start line for a 6am start. I wore my Lululemon shorts, Great Climate Race t-shirt, BibRave hat, Injinji socks, Hoka Challenger ATR trail runners, Nathan hydration pack, and of course my new Squamish50 buff. This was it! I was equal parts excited and nervous as Gary gave a pre-race briefing. Then it was go time!
Chris had promised to run with me. He started off a bit slow feeling the effects of the 50 miles race he had completed only the evening prior. We slogged up the hills while people passed but caught up with them on the way down. I felt great up until the halfway point at Quest University. My parents and some friends were there to great us as we rolled in. I restocked my pack, took a quick bathroom break, and shoved some food in my face before everyone kicked us out of the aid station and back on our way!
The second half was harder but I was glad I had made it this far feeling strong. I knew I was in good shape but I was starting to slow. We knew a lot of people out on the course from the running community and/or from the orientation runs. It was uplifting to bump into friends, say hi, and chat for a bit. The aid stations were amazing – stocked with watermelon, potato chips, cookies, and coke! The volunteers were awesome too – they made sure you were okay and offered to fill up your hydration packs or drench you in water. And then they sent you on your way.
Eventually we made it to the road (the homestretch) and then the finish line! Our time was just under 10 hours! It was a wonderful feeling to be done. I received my medal, Chris got his 50/50 hat, and we both had a well-deserved beer. Jesse, who had run the 23 km race, was at the finish line waiting for me along with my parents. I pigged out on some race food, sat down, and we hung out while we waited for Courtney and Kyle to finish the 50/50.
Kyle came in first. He had promised to shave the beard he had been growing since the previous year’s 50/50 attempt if he completed it this time. It was quite the event! Courtney came in a little later with an emotional, heartwarming finish.