The Semiahmoo Sunrunners had our annual banquet on February 2nd. I won Male Endurance Athlete of the Year again, and Dee Makepeace was my Female counterpart.
Dee told us about an endurance event called the Bagel Chase http://bagelchase.com/ that she and her husband John (who was sitting beside her) had participated in that day, running a couple of laps each of the course.
It was a weeklong event, starting that day and ending on Friday, February 8th, to raise funds and awareness for charity CISV http://www.cisvvancouver.com/ .
The way it worked was you registered, preferably online, and then went down to Siegel's Bagels near the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge, where they gave you a bracelet with your bib number on it.
They had 2 laptops set up, and you simply had to enter your bib number and start your lap off. Next you ran over the bridge and then down to the Cactus Club near the seawall on the other side. When you got to the club you broke off a raffle ticket from a roll of tickets hanging from a dispenser outside, and then ran back to Siegel's. The lap distance was advertised as 5K and a bit, actually close to 5.2Ks. On arriving back you would again punch your bib number in, then your raffle ticket number, enter them and throw your ticket in the fishbowl, and your lap was done. For each lap the whole thing was simply repeated.
I ran the 8K Aldergrove trail race the next morning, and since Siegel's is only a few blocks from my place, I decided to run down there and put in a lap to get things started. I figured it sounded like such a unique event that it would be fun to do to put in some training kilometers for the week. A young woman named Laurel who said that John Makepeace is actually her boss helped me sign in, and then when I returned assisted me in signing out for my lap. She asked me if I wanted to do another one, but since I had to work that night I said that was enough for today and she laughed.
The next day I went down and ran 3 more laps, but I had my resistance workout to do and then work again that night, so I called it a day at that. I was supposed to do hill training in White Rock with my clubmates on Tuesday night, but I emailed them that I was now addicted to the Bagel Chase and would be doing that instead.
On Tuesday I ran 4 laps of the Chase in the early afternoon, went home and ate and even had a nap, and then ran 4 more later on that night, what I called a "cheat marathon". I was off work Wednesday night too, and ran 4 laps late in the morning, and then went back in the evening. On my 2nd lap, at 6 PM, I ran with The Bagel (a regular nightly event happening at the same time for the entire week) and a whole bunch of other people, which was a lot of fun and also helped by blocking the wind for me as there was a good headwind heading up the bridge that night.
There was also a team of 5 people, 4 men and 1 woman, who ran in formation and high fived everyone while yelling "Whoo-hoo!" as we went by them, creating a huge amount of energy on the course! For an extremely short but excellent video and the story of this team go here: http://connormeaks.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/running-a-5k-18-times-per-week/ . After my 4th lap I again went home, but after some rest returned after 9:30 and got in 2 more, making it 10 laps for the day.
Organizer Sarah-Kate Skinner, a delightful young woman, was staffing the event and closing up things that night. Though there were a lot of volunteers she seemed to be there most of the time, and told me that I was probably the male leader now. A woman named Bonnie had been steadily piling up the laps since the beginning and was the current all around leader. Linda Wong, the former director of the James Cunningham Seawall Race and an exceptional runner, was now closing in her though. I'd seen Linda on both of my earlier 4 lap tours that day, and as it turned out she completed 8 laps on Wednesday. Here's Linda as the race director at the 2010 Seawall Race: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronsombilongallery/5153051122/in/set-72157625204814079
Knowing that I had to work that night and wouldn't be back that day, I did 5 laps on Thursday, struggling on my last one as I was used to only doing 4 at a time. At the end of the day I was now in the overall lead with 27 laps, Bonnie had done 26, and Linda 25.
I was booked off Saturday night at work to run the Starting Block 10K on Sunday, but knowing there was no way I was doing that now, I asked and was able to switch my bookoff to Friday night instead. I'd now be able to put in as many laps as I was able to on the last day of the Chase.
In the morning at Siegel's I looked at the results and discovered that the next closest guy only had 20 laps in so I had a substantial lead. I didn't know how many he or anyone else was going to run that day, and was plenty sore and had no idea how long I'd be able to hold out, but I managed to do 4 more before going for a break, and saw Linda out there again. When I went back later and did my next 4 laps, Linda was out too, along with the great high five team. I met Sarah-Kate's co-organizer Chuck Cosman at Siegel's after my 3rd lap, a great guy, and he said I'd probably won the men's race. On my 4th lap I was going by Linda who was now walking and she told me she was just finishing up for the day, on her 10th lap! I told her that was impressive and said "Good job!" when I saw her again heading back.
After I got back to Siegel's I punched in and talked to an energetic young guy who had been running that day. He said how a guy had come in to get bagels and asked what was going on. When they explained it to him, he said derisively that he only ran half marathons and gave them a condescending smile of superiority, which made everyone laugh after he left. Linda showed up and said she was heading home. She asked if I was going to keep going, and I said that I'd be taking a break for now, and I bid goodbye to everyone and headed home.
After about an hour at home, approaching 9 PM, I decided to head back and run my last 2 laps. Running over the bridge and seeing that it was 9:15, I briefly contemplated doing 3, but decided against torturing myself trying to squeak out one extra unpleasant lap, and potentially tarnishing an otherwise awesome experience. It also looked like I might be the only one still running, so they could pack up a little earlier if they wanted to if that was the case. When I got back to Siegel's Sarah-Kate was there and said I was the last man standing, and I told her I was going to do one last lap but would be back as fast as I could. She said no worries, they had some logistical stuff to do anyway, and to have a safe run.
I reached the Cactus Club, grabbed my final lottery ticket and was running back below the street along the seawall when I looked up and saw a guy running on the sidewalk above who looked like he might be a Bagel Chaser, heading in the Club's direction, but then quickly forgot about him as I headed back up to the street and concentrated on getting back to Siegel's.
It was my 37th and final time running this route in the last few days, and although I wanted to get it done, I also wanted to enjoy it. This wasn't tough as I could only run so fast anyway, even though I did manage one last sprint to make the light at Pacific & Thurlow. When I reached Siegel's there were quite a few people there, and they surprised me by bursting into applause when I entered. Sarah-Kate came up and told me that a guy had come in after I left and was now running his first and last lap of the Chase. A couple of minutes later he came in, the fellow I'd seen coming back, and we gave him the same ovation I got, and he looked as shocked as I must have looked.
Chuck said I'd almost certainly won the men's race, and they were all going somewhere to celebrate. It was supposed to be the Cactus Club but they found out it closed at midnight, so they'd be heading somewhere else. I was going home as I was too tired for anything else, and they got Laurel to take our pictures. Sarah-Kate gave me some Vega coupons and a free bagel card, Chuck gave me some Bounce energy balls, I got some Siegel's food, including a bagel stuffed with Montreal smoked meat, said goodbye to everyone, and ran home for the final time for this year's Chase.
Chuck posted the results the next day. I didn't want to celebrate until I knew for sure, but as it turned out I won the men's race by a long shot, but with only 2 more laps than Linda. who won her category by a good margin too.
http://www.facebook.com/events/180566118753673/permalink/213958822081069/ We both will be getting a $50 Cactus Club gift certificate for our troubles, and the top team, which just happens to be Linda's, gets a $300 one. Sarah-Kate posted today that she will have the final total results and draw winners all prepared by tomorrow and will put them up then. $6,000 was also raised for CISV.
My next race will hopefully be the 10K race at the Langley Historic Half on February 17 at 8:15 AM, but after running 220 K total last week I'll see how it goes. I'm pretty sore and swollen right now, might end up volunteering instead, but I'll have to just work on recovery and see how things pan out.
Meanwhile, I ran the most I ever have in a week, the most I've ever run in a single day a couple of times, accomplishing what I never knew I could do before this, but like Sarah-Kate said to me, now I know that I can. I'm grateful that I was given the opportunity to do it, and hope they decide to run the event again next year! And I won the 2013 Bagel Chase! Whoo-hoo!!!