This race was the first of four halfs I completed in the month of February. Normally by this time in Vancouver the weather has slowly begun to get nicer and warmer. In 2010, the year when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics, there was not enough snow on the ski hills that a number of them had artificial snow flown in so that events could go on. It must have been 10 to 15 degrees on average during that time.
This year was especially cold – blame it on global warming!? On the day that I ran the half, it was snowing. Lots and lots of fresh snow. It was perfectly “hypothermic”!
The course was by the Jericho Sailing Club. Basically, the grounds were slippery and felt like I was running on a snow-covered mountain trail rather than in the city. It was extremely beautiful. The snow had to be about 10 inches thick. Soft & fluffy.
The race started at 9:00 a.m. Runners resembled penguins. We were all gliding along this narrow single track which had just enough room to place one foot in front of the other. The smarter runners had attached snow tracks to their runners. I obviously came unprepared. So I was slip-sliding in every way.
It was a 2 loop course. It was really out of the ordinary. The track was totally impossible to land a footing. But somehow, everyone managed to carry on despite the difficulty. Surprisingly there were people walking their dogs and even a film crew filming either a snow scene or a small commercial.
The turnaround for the first 5k was so slippery, I saw everyone slipping everywhere! Immediately after the first 5k was a water station (oh, I should call it the ice station). Water was half frozen. Hands were so cold that it was impossible to even grab the cup.
Getting accustomed to the snow while running, I thought I could conquer this mini hill; which, retrospectively, seemed like a slide. It was so slippery, I felt like I was moving forward at all. I couldn’t count how many times I had fallen. At one point, I fell & almost twisted my left ankle 😦
I think time became un-essential here as everyone was on a ” just to finish” mode. Somehow, the time went by and we all arrived at the finish line – albeit slower than normal.
I was lucky to even finish this race, considering how un-prepared I was for this “snowy adventure”. But it was a one-of-a-kind experience! In hindsight, I enjoyed myself. It gave me something to be proud about, that I finished something that was totally out of my comfort zone.
I was handed my medal at the finish line. And as hypothermic as I was feeling, the free breakfast buffet was waiting for me! It seemed like suddenly everyone had this burst of energy, with the room being filled with conversations about how crazy the race was. I had a huge cup of hot tea. Even then, my body was still shivering. And surprisingly, I finished my breakfast. Normally, right after a race, I don’t have much of an appetite (unless you tempt me with ice cream bars…my weakness!)
It had been such a joyful, but challenging morning. Joyful because of what nature may bring; challenging because of the lack of preparation or practice running under these conditions. Nonetheless, would I do this race again? Absolutely. Except I would come well-prepared next time!