Monday, January 3, 2011

Vancouver New Year's Day FA 50k

I started the year off by heading up to Vancouver with friend Rich to "run" the Vancouver New Year’s Day Fat Ass 50k. I’ve wanted to check this out for many years, and Rich made it happen by saying he was game. Sometimes I need someone to help me get to the start line. The event is put on by Vancouver’s Club Fat Ass. Hopefully I’ll get up north a few times this year, to enjoy some of their other events.

The 50k out-and-back starts in Stanley Park, winds through the park a bit, hits the seawall, and then skirts the Burrard Inlet shoreline for many kilometers, eventually veering off into Pacific Spirit Park, before you turn around. The route is a mix of wide trail, sidewalk, and road. Technically no aid, but there were a few folks out there providing support. Thank you, and thanks to Ean and Sybelle for hosting.

This is probably one of the great urban runs in the world, because of the amazing saltwater waterfront, the constant views of mountains that shoot up straight from the sea to snow covered peaks, and the old growth cedars filling the two city parks. And we got really lucky---the day was reportedly the best in the 18 years of the event. Very chilly though--I ran in sweats and layers.

I got lost, a bunch. My own fault, and I didn't care too much. I ran about five minutes and saw this beautiful frozen lake in Stanley Park, and decided to take a picture. Then, I saw a bird nest, and had to look at that. That put me at the back of the pack. Then I had to pee--it was cold out--and so I lost the back of the pack. I remember the moment, asking myself, do I stick with them?, or do I chance losing them if I pee?

This was still in Stanley Park. I am not sure what I did. I don’t think I was supposed to climb and descend as many times as I did. After a while, I just headed down to the seawall, the obvious ultimate goal.

Two hours in, I found Rich, who had been eating some snacks for a half hour, wondering where I was. He was hanging with John M., and ready to turn around, but once I turned up, he was game for more. Rich did more than he expected on the day, and I actually didn't know if I'd do the whole 50k when we started.

We headed up into Pacific Spirit Park---immediately missed our first turn--and sometime later reconnected with the proper route. Very cool park--it's big, with lots of old growth and a variety of trail types.

We walked a lot on the way back, the ultrarunner dork walk, sort of leaning foward.  The end to this event was very weird, as we were wandering through crowds. Occasionally random people would cheer us on. Nice day out, and so the seawall and beach trails were filled with Vancouver peoples, in their holiday attire. Some people thought we were The Amazing Race or a scavenger race—we heard this--with our vests, sweats, and hurried walks. We finished to the cheers of no one, in perfect fatass style.

There was a great party in North Vancouver afterwards, which we found after getting a bit lost (again), and then we grabbed some Chinese food before heading back to the border. No waits on either side. Also of note---a spectacular sunset, many shades of red, as sometimes happens with cold northern skies.

More pics here.

"Tacoma Rich"

Frozen lake in Stanley Park-my first stop

Inushuk statue

Seawall in Stanley Park

Vancouver skyline

Seawall below Burrard Bridge, Stanley Park in distance

Late sunset-the pic doesn't do it justice

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