Monday, August 9, 2010

STORMY 50 Miler! My favourite local trail event!

The Bear!

The 5am Starters!

The nice soft trails in Squamish!

Interesting terrain with large rocks and note the moss!

The dense woods...running over a swamp...glad there is a board walk!

It is thick with foilage.

This weekend was the 10th Anniversary of STORMY Trail Race. In it's origin STORMY was 64km, then 67km then it developed into a 50mile (80km) event, a 100 miler and a relay. It takes place over 2 days with the 100 mile event starting at 10am on Saturday, the 50 mile event and relay starting at 6am on Sunday. STORMY takes place in Squamish BC - known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. Squamish is located on the Sea to Sky Highway (the road to Whistler). Neil and I decided to run this together again this year. The wasps can be nasty on this event and I now carry an Epi Pen due to some bad reactions to wasp and black fly bites. I am pretty nervous on the trails at this time of the year but glad I can have my own personal Dr. just in case I need the care! Neil and I usually spend the night before the 50 mile event in Squamish but due to competing demands on our time we had Saturday at home and left the house at 2:15am to make the early start that is offered at 5am. A bit Crazy! We arrived to a very quiet check - in with Wendy the Race Director being the only one awake just after 4am. Wendy gave us a briefing on how things have progressed in the event so far and who was in the lead and who had dropped out. There were only 4 early 50 miler starters, Neil and I and 2 others - we really like setting out in a small pack. We had the trails to ourselves for a few hours before the relay and fast runners started to catch us throughout the day. It was the first time for the 2 others who joined us - one was from Alaska and the other, a local. Wendy re-assured the runners that we knew our way and to stick with us for the first bit in the dark. Not long after setting off we were slightly off course ;-) it's easy to do in the dark as we have taken several different routes in this area throughout the year. We corrected our mistake and we were back on course! One of the runners fell behind and Neil ran back to make sure she would make the correct turns (nice guy!). The day light seemed to appear sooner than what I remember and we had our headlamps off not long after setting out. The course consists of a mixture of trails and some open road. When in the trails it is really dark with the dense forest and canopy over head. You pop back out onto the road and it is like the lights have been turned on. At one of the early aid stations we see Al, a 100 mile runner taking a break and we were uncertain if he would be carrying on. The aid stations were fantastic. After last weekends journey of 16 hours with no aid - we really appreciated them! The volunteers are a core group of people that really help Wendy on race day...awesome job volunteers! One of my memories of the aid stations is Bruce and Martha Grant's aid station at Edith Lake which appears to be in the middle of no where when we approach it on the run. Their potatoes were perfect and have you ever seen green Olives at an aid station before? Nice! I love Olives...usually in the evening hours...but they do go down well in the early morning on the trails! The temperature started to heat up just before noon when we were climbing 9 mile hill. (not quite 9 miles...but enough!) We did it well and we were pleased to see Dave and Helen who were volunteering at the aid station at the top of 9 mile hill. Dave (from the previous 2 Bagging outings) says his tummy is just fine despite drinking the swamp water! They had good cookies here and Advil - thanks Helen! My feet were acting up...they had been great on the previous long outings by smearing Vaseline all over them as recommended by Neal at the West Highland Way. I re-applied the Vaseline out there and it helped for a bit. Once the feet start burning it is really hard to do anything to make them feel good. After leaving the Powerhouse Aid Station for the second time for the last 12km I felt really determined to finish. Just a couple of distractions along the way. I heard a crash and a loud scream behind me...another 50 mile runner wiped out and fell hard...he said he was cramping badly and wiped out from the cramps! Ouch! He told me he was fine and to carry on. Once I caught up to Neil he said you go ahead...just in time to be first upon the Bear! The Bear was right to my left on the was so close I reacted with silence, I just kept running and said nothing, I was afraid to startle the bear. Neil a few seconds behind me comes upon the bear and shouts BEAR! BEAR! The Bear starts thrashing away and thankfully takes off in the opposite direction. The final few km's were all about getting it done! It was great to finish and to hear every one's stories of their day at the finish line. The post-race barbecue was a hit! Nice Chicken! ;-)
That was # 4 of the STORMY 50 mile event for both Neil and I. 7 STORMY events consecutively for Neil and a total of 6 STORMY events for me! Thanks Wendy for a great event!! Oh must report - Al who we came upon resting at the aid station did finish! Congrats to all those who participated in STORMY. We did not get stung by any wasps out there...but we were the lucky ones...others we met along the route had been stung by wasps nesting in the ground. Last weekend as I posted both Neil and Craig had been stung...Craig's bite turned nasty and he had to make a visit to Emerg...they are such a trail hazard! Be careful out there!


  1. Hi Princess,
    Sounds like you had a good time at Stormy. Your picture of the Bear is questionable...looks like an old stump to me. I would need a closer up, like teeth and claws close up :)
    Well I am off to bale some hay, see you!

  2. By the way, hi Neil....

  3. Hey Gotta Go,

    Great to hear from was a bear...Neil just caught the end if it. STORMY was great! Now we are enjoying London, Paris is next.


  4. Hi Princess, didn't know anything about London and Paris, guess that means I am out of the loop :)
    I rode my bike the other day around Hyde Creek...swimming pool in Poco, kind of sounds the same as Hide park, London....I guess it's a bit different though.

    Gotta Go

  5. Hey...good that you notice the difference in the world!
    I Love London!

    Princess Carolyn (who is off to Paris and Tours/France) where the Poultry conference is.