This event, the Fort 2 Fort 8K and Half Marathon took place in February and was hosted by the Peninsula Runners. When I registered for this race, I thought it was going to be just another typical half marathon road race. Little did I realize that the race was actually part of the Fraser Valley Trail Run Series that consists of four races throughout the year, showcasing the beautiful parks of the Fraser Valley.
In the weeks leading up to this race, the weather had been cold, but not to the degree I was expecting for this particular day. The forecast for the city called for cold weather with the possibility of light snow. When I arrived at the race venue, the grounds were icy and covered with rather thick, heavy snow. Although I was mentally prepared for cold weather, I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be this icy.
The bib pick-up was in the morning. I got there early, but when I noticed that there was only one port-o-potty, I got my husband to drive back out to the nearest Starbucks so I could use a decent washroom. As we returned, the parking lot was starting to fill with cars and runners.
Prior to the race start, it seemed that nobody could figure out where the actual start line was as it wasn’t obvious. Everyone followed each other, eventually standing about 100 metres ahead of the start line until we were instructed to walk back to the “marked” line on the trail.
I looked around me and realized that I was surrounded by some serious trail runners. They all had the right trail shoes or at least had the traxx on their shoes, but I did not. That was my fault for not realizing I signed myself up for a trail race! I did a race earlier in the year where I had slipped and slid because I wore improper footwear, but what were the chances that I would encounter another snowy/icy race which would require me to have spikes on my shoes…guess I was wrong!
For the first 100 metres, I knew I would be up to some kind of challenge. It was either going to be the technical trail and/or the weather, or both. I struggled from the beginning of the race. The course included 2 rather technical and hilly loops early on before easing into some flatter trails. However, these trails were well covered with tree roots and a fairly uneven surface. As I was into about my 13k, I heard 2 dogs barking, got distracted and twisted my left foot onto this huge tree root. That hurt like crazy, but I kept running. Then about 2K later, my left foot slipped again on a patch of ice and I thought I had to call it quits for real. I tried to walk it off, but I felt my foot swelling up. I continued racing nevertheless. This same incident happened to me a year ago at another trail race where I injured my left foot. That time it took me almost 3 weeks to fully recover…
This time, it was little less severe, I continued running on the pain on my left foot, barely a quick jog to make it to the turn-around which was at Fort Langley. In that area, there was even more ice patches. I personally found the ground treacherous. But to finish, I still had 3K to go. Each additional step felt like it would still take an eternity to get to the finish. Bearing the pain though, somehow I made it back in one piece. My husband was waiting for me at the finish, chatting with the race director and the Mizuno shoe rep. My foot had swollen up at least one shoe size by this point. I did not want to interrupt their conversation but I joined in anyway. They were real nice people. It was my first time meeting the race director. His credentials were truly impressive.
The race had no medals, but the experience of running a real trail race was priceless. I only have myself to blame for being careless in tripping my foot.
I will continue on my next blog as to what happened to my foot 🙂