I met Hailey and Courtney about a year ago. After our first run together, I had both of them talked in to doing there first 50 km trail race, and it wasn’t just any race. We were set to run the Squamish50 which boasts 2500m of climbing, and 90% of epic single track trail running in squamish. I have already previously done 50k, races, and I knew the girls could do it, but if I would of known that this race was as tough as it was I would of never asked them to make this race to be there first! However at least now other races will seem easy! I am so proud of Hailey and Courtney for finishing this race. We trained for this race for months. We put in countless hours on the trails, weekend after weekend, running adventure after running adventure. All our hard work was about to pay off. At the end of the race I didn’t see many people cross the finish line with a dry eye. It was a very emotional race, not only for the racers but for the volunteers, race directors and everyone who came out to support. There were many factors that made this race so challenging. The amount of climbing and the technicality of the trail was enough of a challenge, but the heat of the day added an extra challenge. It was difficult at times to to stay positive, especially in a first ultra race experience. I am beyond proud that they made it through and crossed their respective finish lines! These ladies are strong and ready to do it again !
The best part of this race was all the friends we met along the way, through training runs and through Run Like A Girl. A little extra bonus was all my friends that I met in Trans Rockies came from out of town to do the race also. Robyn and Cindy from Prince George came down and stayed 2 nights at my house! It was so great to have them the night before the race. We were able to share our stories of training, catch up, and decrease our nerves about the up coming challenge. Honestly the best part of running is the friends you meet along the way. My friend Marcelo, who is from Edmonton also came down, and it was amazing to see her race day. It is so amazing how races can bring you all back together again.
The Squamish 50k trail race starts off at Alice lake and finishes in the downtown town of Squamish. The elevation gain is 2500m and loss is 2700m. The climbs are crazy and endless, but the decents are just as crazy on the tecnical trails. I most excited about mostly all single track trail running, which I absolutely love.
The race started at 9:00 am for the 50 k racers, but because of the heat forecasted for the day, an early start of 8:00 am was offered. I was so excited to start the run but it was hard to be missing so many of the people that I had trained with all year for the race. These friends I had met along the way had made training so enjoyable, and it was why I was most excited! Courtney and Hailey took the early start so it was hard not to start the race with her. I was thankful to have my friends Lisa, Cindy and Robyn at the start. I also met Gemma for the first time! We had been messaging back and forth and I had heard so many things about her from Hailey and Courtney. We randomly met in the bathroom and hit it off immediately! My good luck charm and race partner for everything, Kyle, wasn’t beside me! Kyle was doing the 50 miler race and had started at 5:30. By the time I was starting he had already been running for hours before I was even in my running gear! I’ll admit, I was lonely not having my race partner and friends beside me at the start The energy at the start line is my favourite. I love seeing everyone, hugging each other and wishing each other good luck. For this race, we had to be there for each other in spirit. Kyle and I agreed that at aid station 3 we would leave a note for each other and leave the time we got there, just so we knew how each other were doing!
After the gun went at 9:00 am the runners were off. The race was beautiful and the first part of the race I was moving quick and feeling really good! We had trained on this part of the trail before and I was familar with it. The single track with the perfect rolling hills just makes it so fun to run! Running felt easy and so good, but I knew it was to good to be true! I knew there was no way this course was going to be easy, and I just kept telling myself to enjoy it. I let myself relax on the rolling trail and enjoy feeling good because I knew the trails would get tough!
Aid station 1 (and aid station 3 for the 50milers) is where Kyle and I were going to hopefully meet or at least exchange notes! As I ran into the aid station I actually saw Kyle!!! I was so excited to see my friend, I put my note in Kyles back pack and told him to open it if sometime in the race he was feeling low. After a quick hug, we were both on our way. (The trails diverage at this point and the 50m do an extra 10km loop)
As the race went on I started to feel sick and realized I was hardly eating or drinking! The weather was really hot and it was starting to get to me. I was feeling weak and started to honestly felt like I wasn’t going to finish this race. I kept trying to drink or eat something but I felt so nausous that I just could not. I think the way I was feeling was part of the reason I missed the turn at aid station 3. It wasn’t until I saw a man on a bike, and I asked have if he had seen any racers come this way. He just said “Ummm nope only you!!” I went into FULL PANIC MODE at this point. I called my friend Lisa in pure panic. I explained to Lisa where I was and that I was lost. By not turning at the aid station, I ended up about half an hour off track and totally stressed out. This did not help how sick I was feeling! Thankfully my friend Lisa was there to answer her phone and guide me back to the aid station. Finally when I was back on the trail I was back in the game. I calmed myself down and started to feel better. As the race went on, it was endless climbs and beautiful single track. Honestly as much as I love a goal and a challenge, Garry Robins presented me with the hardest challenge of my life. This was the closest I had ever felt to getting a DNF. The heat, the climbs, not being able to eat or drink… it was becoming a bad combination.
Dayna and Kyle
At about 4 km left in the race I felt defeated I felt like giving up. I called Lisa again crying telling her I was thinking I wasn’t going to finish. Thank goodness for Lisa she was able to talk to me and give me the push I needed for the last stretch. Lisa has been my trail leader for mountain madness, my race partner in trans Rockie’s, and my friend for years. Honestly I finished because she was there to help me!
9 1/2 hrs of running/hiking and total mental and physical strength and pure fatigue, I finished the hardest race I have ever done!
But that is why it also I now my favorite race, nothing like a challenge to prove to yourself that you are stronger than you think you are!
I cant wait for 2014squamish 50miler, but this year Kyle will be right beside me!Squamish 50 I will see you next year …But its REVENGE 😉