Don’t you like the cutesy name of this race? On Sunday, in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I participated in the 2016 Green Sock Half & Shamrock’n Race in Burnaby, BC, which included a 5km, 7 miler, and half marathon. As one would expect, all finishers received a pair of lucky clover-leaf socks.
This was the second time I participated in a St. Paddy’s day race. The last one I did, many people were dressed festively. I think it’s always fun seeing runners dressed up in costumes. But on Sunday’s race, apart from most of the 7 milers who wore their green socks, I only spotted a handful of girls dressed up. It seemed that the half racers were much more serious.
Sunday was the first morning affected by daylight savings time. So, the 9:00am race start realistically was only 8:00am. Even though I’ve run races with much earlier start times, somehow Sunday’s race felt like it started much earlier. That one hour change definitely has some impact on our bodies and mind.
The evening before, there was a wicked rain-storm. All night, I heard pounding rain and strong winds blowing. It was still raining the morning, but the wind gusts had died down quite a bit and the rain tapered off just before the start. How lucky!
Unfortunately, the rain had left the grounds in horrible condition. Never have I experienced a muddier start. During the first 200 metres or so, we were basically running a dirty mud race. Afterwards, a bottleneck had formed, as every runner tried to avoid those wet and muddy puddles. I think I lost a good minute or two trying to manoeuvre my way around. Plus, more congestion was created as all 3 race groups started together (the 5km, 7 milers and the halfs).
For some reason, I couldn’t quite recall whether I had done this race before but I felt I had run the 7 miler before. The course involved completing 2 loops in a counter-clockwise direction around Burnaby Lake (which proved to be much tougher than the other way around). This certainly wasn’t a PB course. There were 2 mini bridges we had to cross, including one around the Cariboo Dam. That was hard. We had to walk up about 5 steps, run 40 metres or so, and then descend about 3 steps which just killed all running momentum. The second bridge was a concrete structure but there were so many water puddles in the area that it created a treacherous and very slippery environment.
This trail actually has lots of sharp turns and rolling hills. Nevertheless, running on trails allows for a much softer impact on your body. As such, my body was thanking me yesterday for giving it a break from the pounding on concrete/ cement. Furthermore, no one could have guessed that minutes away were highways. It was so tucked away that I almost felt like I was in a forest, especially after spotting lots of little ducks swimming across the lake as well as these big yellow wild flowers on the side of the trails, which were quite captivating.
Yesterday’s time was slower than my previous halfs. But I was okay with the results because I had lowered my expectations even before the race. Plus to be fair, this was my 9th consecutive half of the year.
What will my next race be like? As I mentioned in my previous blogs, I am aiming for my 100th half as soon as possible. I am inching closer and closer. Hopefully, I will get there soon and then re-focus on my marathon training next!
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”- T S Eliot