I arrived at 8am for the 9 start and was actually the first one there for once (I do have a habit of showing up just in the nick of time for races...saves me from sitting around getting nervous). I panicked a bit thinking I had the start wrong at Brockton Oval, so phoned up my friend Jude to double check, and of course she was running to the start from her place about 10km away (yep, that's why she's called an ultra runner).
There ended up close to being 100 keen people for the start.
-stayed with the front group for the first km then settled into my sub 4hr pace with Craig (who turned out to be a great running partner for the race) as we wound our way through Stanley Park. We gradually pulled away from the group as we headed onto second beach.
-I didn't have a choice but to stay with Craig since I was clueless with the course route (what a great stragedy, eh?) and figured out it was just going to be a two man battle to the finish. We had great conversations along the way as he was hitting every water fountain along Jericho for a quick drink since he decided to bring no water (those South Africans are tough), this was great as it forced me to rest a bit.
-we got a little turned around in the endowment lands, but managed to make it to the turnaround ok. Really started to feel crappy on the way back (4x400metre track intervals the night before with the late night drinking probably didn't help). Now I was in trouble as I was just barely hanging on to Craig weaving through the road and trails knowing that if I got dropped I would never find my way back to the start.
-well at about 15k to go I could not hang on anymore and he slowly drifted ahead of me at Jericho. Noooooooooooo, I had to keep him in sight but boy was I slowing down quick, good thing he was wearing a bright white shirt so I could just focus on that in the distance (just in survival mode now, and thinking that 50k is a really long way to run).
-somehow I managed to miss the exit onto Burrard St. Bridge and backtrack back a bit. Once at the top I could look down on the seawall and already see Craig heading off in the distance. I was on my own now as I dodged the New Years resolution and polar bear swim crowds (all part of the experience). Good thing I remembered Craig saying to turn towards Lost lagoon to mile zero then towards Brockton VIA the lighthouse.
-To my surprise with less than 1km to go I could see Craig, so I got the eye of the tiger, picked it up a notch and caught him with less than 10 yards to go to the mighty fire hydrant. He more than deserved to kiss that fire hydrant before me since he was such an awesome tour guide and pacer. How do you tie after running 3hrs57min? Not too sure, but there was only one way to decide it......yep, that's right, first one in the fridged waters of the burrard inlet. Craig was more than willing to dive in first, wow do I hate cold water, but I couldn't let him show me up so I followed suit after a few deep breathes and jumped in, and out just as fast (that was almost as tough as the 50). Congrats Craig!
-turned out we were actually racing for second as I found out someone finished with a faster time, I guess anything can happen in the Fat Ass 50km and he must have bypassed us somewhere in those endowment land trails. All in all it was a great day and race (my first sub 4hr 50km), thanks Club Fat Ass and we'll see you next year.
Thanks for reading guy's and I'll get back soon on my prep for the upcoming Coastal Challenge Race on January 21.