“How do you spell kung fu?” asked Marie. We were enjoying some down time before race day in our little rental house on the island. I spelled it out for her.
“Is that one word or two?”
“Two. Kung and eff you,” I replied. Cue ironically placed rimshot.
I usually reserve my acerbic wit for people I’ve spent way too much time with in outlandish situations. Meet Marie. I figured my flippant remark was a little payback for talking me into this little adventure after I survived the Squamish 50k back in August. The gales of uninhibited laughter that followed let me know I didn’t offend any tender sensibilities. We were here with Karen who was also part of the Squamish Conspiracy Group. She ran Orcas last year and was looking to find a little redemption of her own. If she’d asked me to spell out a word I’m sure I would’ve come up with something equally as caustic.
The last time I was in Vancouver it was 2012 when I was running the SeaWheeze Half Marathon. While there I learned a trail race was going on at the same time just north of us in Squamish. I had driven through that part of coastal British Columbia several times, mostly on my way to Whistler, and it’s drop dead gorgeous. I really wanted to run that race one day.
It turns out that had been the inaugural running of the Squamish 50. It’s evolved over the years dropping the relays in favor of 23k, 50k, and 50 mile races. It’s also become a two-day event. The 50 mile is on Saturday and the 23k/50k is on Sunday. Those who want even more fun can sign up for the Squamish 50/50. One guess what that means.
Never Say Never
I swore on a stack of bibles that I’d never do the Quad. I’d flirted with the idea of it from time to time. It seemed like something that should be on one’s trail running résumé if one hailed from Northern California. I’d done the Double once back in 2012 and afterwards felt that was already one Dipsea too many. I’d had enough. To add to my reluctance, I would often find myself on chunks of the course in other races, usually hating my life and indulging in bouts of self-loathing. It affirmed the thought that always hovered at the edge of my consciousness – no, not going to do the Quad, ever. Besides I could always pull the North Face card, which is a race I was usually in, that takes place the following weekend. I’m not strong enough to do both like some of the runners I know so I had a convenient, easy out.
Way Too Cool is a 50k trail run that starts and ends in Cool, California. It runs along the American River and on parts of the Western States course. I’d entered the lottery in early December along with most of my trail running friends. I had gotten caught up in the excitement with them but by the time January rolled around that had worn off and my level of interest in the race had dropped to zero. I didn’t want to do it.