While working at the BMO International Vancouver Marathon last weekend I was witness to the crowning of Canada’s new Marathon Princess. The indescribable, but so recognizable, emotion of relief and euphoria swept across young Kim Doerkson’s face as she stepped across the BMO Finish line at an outstanding time of 2:43:04. I was lucky enough to be working with the elite awards team over the weekend and was right there to see Kim cross the finish line. Just as she strived to be she was right up with the boys, man she was flying on Sunday!
Not only did Kim burst onto the scene she did it in style under some awful conditions. Being in May the BMO is usually a warm(ish) typical Vancouver springtime race. Last year I actually burnt my legs while cheering on runners along the Kit’s beach corridor. This year I wore a polar fleece, under armour top and mittens as I huddled under my BMO rain jacket (Saucony provided team captains with gear this year and I must say that rain jacket is fabulous! I will be keeping my eye out to pick up another one because the cut allows movement while keeping you dry and warm.) . Needless to say at my 6am call time downtown I was oh so thankful that I was Volunteering on that particular day and not running 43 soaking soppy Km (although beautiful).
All of the elites were the most humble, warm and genuine group of athletes I have ever met. Not one ego stood to as a thorn and all the athletes shared what appeared to be a sense of camaraderie. Each athlete competing obviously with each other but more so with themselves, all working towards doing the very best they can do on that day instead of focusing on specifically beating someone else. That’s something you definitely don’t see in all sports. Legendary UCLA Basketball coach John Wooden would have been proud of the elites competing at this year’s BMO. Wooden has said multiple times that he always tried to teach his athlete’s that success is determined against yourself, doing the best you can do and being the best you can be. Wooden also felt that when the game was over he shouldn’t be able to tell which players had won or lost from their body language because each person should feel proud for doing the best they could do. Last Sunday each athlete won, each athlete that crossed that finish line and struggled through the natural elements for 43 gruelling kilometres is a winner in my eyes. Whether it took them 2 hours and change or 5 hours and pain I am proud of them and proud of this city I call home for supporting them.
Elliott and I embarked on our whirlwind sports trip to Seattle during the Thanksgiving long weekend. Along with going to watch the UW Huskies Football Game vs rivals Oregon, as well as the Seattle Seahawks Game vs the Titans (Yes I will take all the girlfriend points I can get for thinking up this weekend), I registered us for the Xterra Harvest 10K at St. Edward State Park. This was a full-blown trail race and needless to say I was beyond nervous, as I had never run a trail race before. I knew this race was going to be right in Elliott’s wheelhouse but I wasn’t so sure I could keep up… Especially in my traction-less Nike Free’s as I look around at all of the intense water belts and trail runners that all the other runners are wearing. But before I could process what was going on off we went into the trails. I think the fact that I was freezing my toosh off propelled me through the first half of the run fairly smoothly.
Halfway through I made the minor error of stopping- I saw some kids hanging out after a running workout and mistakenly thought that they were part of the race. Not until I actually looked at them standing beside me and realizing that they were about 12 years old did I realize my error. So off I went again, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill, sliding down the hill and slowly dragging my butt back up the hill, falling spiderman style down the hill and wait what I am passing people going up a hill now (Thanks for the forced hill workouts Lauren I owe you!). I see two girls in my sights and I know if I can tail them up the hill and gain some ground that I can put up a chase on the flats. So I start singing myself my uphill mantra “don’t stop now, use your butt, engage your thighs”, and sure enough I passed the first girl and was coming within steps of the second girl that I could see. I realized we were about .5K away from the finish and I started to gun it and couldn’t have been happier to see my boy cheering me into the finish line! The confusion came when the race director came up to congratulate me.. I had come 3rd overall and won the female division and I had no idea! I thought that there were for sure a few more people in front of me so I was elated. And I was even more elated to find out that Elliott had won the Entire race! What a surprising and phenomenal way to start the weekend! We had a great time eating and drinking our way through Seattle and watching some awesome football for the rest of the weekend!
Biggest lessons learned:
I have come to realize that the post / during run treats at trail races is 1000% better than large scale organized road races. Homemade goodies, chocolate cake and Chilli, hellllloooo goodness!
Trails are single file so only pass when there’s room– no pushing other runners off the cliffs
I should probably get some better trail shoes
I should most likely start doing some more hill runs – ughhhhhhhhh