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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Diez Vista 50k: Race Report

April 5, 2014

The Diez Vista 50k is a local Ultra that takes place in Anmore BC, tucked just behind Coquitlam and across Indian Arm from the North Shore.

Wayne Gretzky!
I was one of 150 registered runners of which 140 or so started. We had a solid representation of friends running the race, some veteran and front of the pack capacity, and others, such as myself taking up the rear.
After my Squamish 50 DNF, this was going to be my first official Ultra Marathon finish line, and I was determined to make the most of the day and take what it gave, good or bad.

Weather forecasts were calling for 25 to 30 mm of rain by noon, so we were expecting a soggy and muddy race. However, morning of, the clouds were holding and it was a balmy 8 degrees celsius.
We milled about the start line, registered (which was SUPER efficient!), and had our pre-race briefing, and I was concerned that I had too many layers on. By the end of the race, we'll see that wasn't an issue.

Getting Excited!

WRM Ultra Team

Kumar Support Crew
Hugs and kisses to my wife and kids, waiting for the race to start and suddenly the whole pack is running! Okay, I guess we're off. Once again, a hilarious non-ceremonial start to a trail race.

I start the run with a bunch of strangers, which is hilarious seeing as there were eleven We Run Mas runners, but the sudden start didn't allow us to group up before go, as Gregan and I were planning to do.

I see Vera, Natasha and Morgan out front, and it looks like they're gonna be well ahead. The first section does a quick loop around Sasamat lake and spreads out the field quite a bit. I'm hitting a comfortable stride, and settle in to a group before the short road section takes us up to the first climb.

Doris catches up, then zips ahead, then Andy and Andrew. I'm not fast uphill, at all, so I enjoy their company for a couple of minutes each before they disappear into the line that runs up the mountain. Gregan meets me on the more forested area, and we talk about the warmth of the day. I peel off my long sleeve and stuff it in my pack, and Gregan strips down to get his shorts on. Runners who pass by are well entertained.
Gregan, he's so hot right now!

Not as graceful without a stage! 
AS #1 comes at 6.5km in, and I'm at 55 minutes, pretty much exactly what I expected. Now it's for the more familiar continuation up the steep switchback climb to the peak. I'm taking it easy and get passed by a number of runners on this section. Many of us would end up yo-yo'ing throughout the day, which is typical for a longer race.
First climb of many (to the DV peak)
Once the peak completes, I tighten my laces, and start the technical ridge of the Diez Vista. I'm tentative at first, concerned that I may self destruct for later, but then I release all inhibitions and start charging along the top of the ridge. I catch Peter Zubick, and we run together for a short stint, and then I carry on my reckless charge to the north side of the course. I catch most of the people who passed me on the last climb section, and then kick out into the McCombe lake loop. The weather is cloudy with a light mist, and I love it. I LOVE running in the rain: it's cool, refreshing and really takes my mind off things. AS#2 is a blur, as we don't linger aside from some Oranges and popcorn.

Lorin and Kyla catch up to me, and we end up running the west side of the lake together for many of the sections. I know this area like my back yard (which it is) and I'm estimating arriving at South Beach at about the three hour mark, which is right on my forecasted pace. After we cross the floating bridge, the Energy trail section is super fun, and I jokingly ask the marshal on top, "Where's the Murph (meaning Mike Murphy)? I think I'm catching up!" He gives a laugh and guides me in the right direction. Sadly, Mike DNF'd on a course record pace due to a wipe out that cracked his rib and left him dizzy. Read about it here.
As I descend into AS #3, the cheering and noise is epic! My fam, along with Dianna, Elaine & Lianne are cowbell crazy, and screaming and cheering on EVERYBODY that rounds the corner. Elaine was capturing some awesome pics, as she was DNS for this race due to ankle injury.
They were also live Facebook/tweeting the whole race.

Lianne had her reporter specs on!

The Noisy Crew!!

Let that inner cheerleader out!

They owned the super cheer award!
A buffet of options becomes a tactical decision

Laughing at the shenanigans
I come into the aid station, and this was the only one that was a bit confusing. My drop bag number was somehow on a different bag that didn't belong to me, although we did manage to find my stuff. I start emptying my gear, giving up my arm sleeves, and basically getting into just a t-shirt and shorts. I drench my head in water, and my wife and Dianna are amazing at getting me stuff. I actually have no idea where the food and drinks were as they both just had potatoes and water and bottle refills going on in perfect Formula 1 pit crew efficiency. It was a pretty cool moment.

Leaving AS #3
Photo Credit: Mark Bates
I run across the grassy part of the beach, and after a quick bathroom stop, I'm back on the trail. The east side of the lake felt completely different than I expected. I know this trail really well, but after all the excitement of the south beach aid station, it's eerily quiet and I feel a bit down. No matter, plug ahead. I reach the north side of the lake, and make the hairpin turn onto Powerhouse Road. This is where the wheels fall off. My stomach makes itself known, kind of like Fozzy Bear who always cracks the lame joke at the inopportune moment. I am entering the early steps of the "bonk". It's hour 4 (Ed Mcarthy wins in another 57 seconds for a new course record), and I am slowed to a walk. Running flat or uphill is impossible, not because of my legs, but if I push, I'll start puking.
Tums and ginger is all I can do, and I slow fuel intake. Better to bonk than puke I say (that might be my next t-shirt).

I'm getting passed like crazy and I don't mind. Peter cruises by, and I know I'm still making good time for my expectations and I would rather deal with this stomach issue before it takes over. As the downhill road section starts, I am able to run again, and make up time where I can. Before we hit "Aid Station Klassen" (Solana and Jay had a cheer booth with cookies and not ginger beer), a runner came out of the woods and skipped the whole east side of the run. She ended up getting pulled for cutting the course at AS #4. Sad, but true.
The energy is fun at AS Klassen, and makes me smile. So does the beverage! It's the start of my recovery from Powerhouse implosion but it will take me until the top of the Eagle Mountain climb to get out of the slump.

This is my pre-beer "bonk" face, fake it 'til you make it!
Photo Credit Jay & Solana Klassen
Heading up Eagle Mountain was a reflection of past experience. Had I not been to such places mentally and physically in the past (Squamish 50 and some long run training for example) it would have eaten me up, but I knew as long as I placed one foot in front of another I would reach the top of the climb. The forest was dark and rather "sleepy" in energy and it allowed me to meditate. That is until the lead pack runners came charging down the hill! David, Bryan, Vera, Chloe, all fast friends and acquaintances are zipping down the trail. I stand aside, cheer them on and give a high five to Vera, who is in 3rd place female!! She ends up holding off Chloe for the position and getting her first podium finish in her second Ultra!!

Vera on her way to 3rd place finish!
Eagle Bluff finally arrives, and I plod along the FSR and reach Lorin. He looks like he's suffering and I'm coming out of my slump. We offer each other words of encouragement, and he gives me a pat on the back as I pass him. I have to say, that pat on the back does it. I don't know what it was or how it happened, but the feeling completely lifts my spirits and I'm able to run again and power hike the uphills. The out and back sections let's me see a ton of people! Doris, Sarah, Gregan, Andy, Andrew, Morgan, Natasha are all at different stages ahead as we pass each other. Gregan has that look on his face like "WTF?!!?" and we high five.




Andrew (& Dianna)



Doris (Jazz hands!)

Lorin, who I met on raceday. He dug deep!
Photo Credit: Mark Bates
AS #5 is my turning point, literally and mentally. My support crew is awesome and I fill my handheld and leave my race vest with my wife. I probably stayed at the aid station for a few minutes too long, but it worked. I run back along Eagle Mountain. A few runners still heading towards AS#5 say, "Hey Ed, aren't you supposed to be running naked?" "Later!" I say with a chuckle. Then it dawns on me. The finish will be a hoot  . . . here's where this nakedness theme stems from:

The  back section of the course from thereon in is solid. I feel great. Legs are super, stomach is in check, head is on straight and most importantly I can run. I run everything that's runnable (subjective term here). The descent into the final Aid Station is super, I see Elaine on a trail junction, and then finally reach FU George Hill. I've done this climb so many times, that I love it. It's raining hard, and I'm not even a little bit sore.

The saddle comes up, and then it's mainly rocky, wet and treacherous downhill into Sasamat lake. I continue to run without stopping and finally reach the bottom, get directed into the lake trail and take off my shirt. I'm running the finish in the pouring rain with no shirt. That's right, not just the elites get to have all the fun!

Downpour and Donuts: Finish Line!
The final set of stairs comes up, and then it's a short uphill to the finish. The cheering is awesome, and I can see all our crew hooting and hollering! This is my first official Ultra finish on a superbly organized, epic course that had it all.

I'm super stoked that this race was my first finish, as I grew up as a school kid playing on the very same trails of the course, running around Buntzen and Sasamat, mountain biking on Eagle, and swimming on the beaches; and for that it will hold a very special place for me.

Official Finish Time: 7:39:47 (97/134 finishers)
Strava Report (click)

Next up on the race calendar: Sun Run in two weeks, followed by the 5Peaks Golden Ears, Iron Knee 23k and Squamish 50k in August with Meet Your Maker 50mile in September!


  1. Awesome, Ed! Congrats and thanks for the report! Hope to see you again on the trails of the Squamish50 in August? :)

    1. Thanks Daryl! I'll be at SQ50 for sure!! Glad you liked the post!

  2. fantastic Edwyn !!! Thanks so much for sharing. that is amazing !!

    1. Thanks Dana . . . we'll get you out on the trails soon!