On March 17, St. Patrick's Day, I ran the 5K at the Green Sock Half & Shamrock'n Race at Burnaby Lake. There was also a half marathon, half relay, and 7 miler. I saw Monika Prokopowicz at the start line, we were both running the 5K and wished each other luck. All the races started at the same time, right at 9 AM, in the middle of a field, and after a couple of hundred meters when we hit the edge of the woods us 5Kers turned left and the rest of the racers went right. It was a few degrees above zero and no rain as we ran along the path beside the trees before entering them. One fellow had bolted out ahead of the rest of us, and I was now running second, about 10 meters back, and I could hear Monika in close pursuit. He seemed to slow a bit and I kept thinking I could maybe catch him, but it wasn't long before he sped up again.
We raced down a long, wide straightaway gravel path. It was mostly flat with one small wooden bridge, and soon we were at the halfway turnaround, and the lead guy was coming back looking like he was running effortlessly. I rounded the halfway marker and headed back, and I noticed the third place guy and lead women weren't far behind me at all, so I tried to keep a good pace going. Monika soon appeared, she'd fallen back a bit but was still second female, and I said "Way to go!" as I went by her.
We ran back along the trail, with all the rest of the people in the race coming towards us on the other side of the trail, and I could hear someone behind me, and as we neared the end of the path before the field the guy who'd been in third passed me. He was running at a strong pace and I tried to keep him with in range, and then the lead woman came up alongside me and I kept pace with her for about 10 meters and then ran ahead again. Soon she was beside me attempting another pass and this time she managed to do it. Now we could hear cheering and the finish chute came into view, and I was surprised that I could still see the race leader just now crossing the finish line.
We all raced towards the finish, still a couple of hundred meters away, and I couldn't catch up to either of the runners in front of me, but I gave it the old college try anyway. We congratulated each other after getting our finisher's medals, and it turned out they were a couple and both had Irish accents. There were no age group medals in this race, only overall ones, so we were very happy that we all podiumed. Monika soon joined us, second place in the women's race, so she was happy too. We headed up into the clubhouse where they had a pancake breakfast for us. People were making pancakes for us on the balcony, so they were steaming fresh and delicious. They also had oranges, bananas and brownies for us, and I was soon feeling pretty full.
I ate at a table with Nick and Aaron, 2 friends who were the 4th and 5th male finishers. They were good guys who weren't disappointed they didn't medal, they just enjoyed the race and were planning on hitting the pub a little later in the day to celebrate their run and St. Patrick's Day.
It wasn't long before the 5K racers were all in, and they did the awards for our race. We all went up and got our medals and pictures taken, and then Monika came to say congratulations and goodbye, as she and her boyfriend were leaving. I talked to Chris Bennett who won the race, and commented on how he made it look so easy, and he confided that he was getting tired by the midway point and was happy when it was over, he just looked like he wasn't struggling, but he was. His son Nathaniel got a special award for top youth, only 12 years old but finishing 13th overall!
Nick and Aaron said they were heading out so I decided to join them, having a long drive to Kamloops where I was racing a 10K the next day. I hit the highway which we were right beside, and it took me about 4 hours to get there because going up the Coquihalla Highway it was snowing heavily, and we only had one lane most of the way. When I got to Kamloops it was a winter wonderland, but when I drove just a few kilometers to what is called the North Shore to scout out the race location, there was no snow at all!
Results are now up and I finished 4 of 76 overall and 1 of 4 in my age group, with a time of 21:35.