The idea of offering a prime during our run came to me in a flash of genius.
I was feeling guilty as we made our way toward the Capilano Canyon in the waning moments of the day. My 3 running companions, you see, were stoked to run the long course, but not quite up to working hard enough to read the detailed course descriptions in the dark. They wanted me to guide them. I figured I wasn't up to 18K in the night given a nagging injury, so ever the compromising host, I figured I'd take them on a bit of a custom route that included some scenic elements of the long course.
A prime is a concept from bicycle racing. Think of a race within a race with a special recognition or prize (prime) going to the winner.
When the idea came to me, it was more intended as a way to address the guilt I felt for robbing my running mates of the additional 5K they'd planned to run in the dark. I'd take them on a short detour and surprise and delight them with something I figured they'd never seen before.
It was getting dark as I took them to the edge of the cliff. "This is the 10-meter jump. My kids huck this. If you prefer something a bit more challenging, the 16-meter launch is off that rock over there. Ready?", I said while my guests wondered if I was serious.
I wasn't. But I did offer a bottle of my award-winning Jackson Stout as the prime to not only the first, but all who took the plunge.
Unknown to us all at the time, James had forgotten to bring a beer for the post-run potluck party. "Will you please hold on to this", James said as he removed his headlamp. Without hesitation, he took a running leap and was gone.
"Ahhhhhh!" An odd-sounding splash. A bit of a whimper echoed from the canyon below.
Open-jawed and wide-eyed, Marc, Eric and I looked at each other with respect and admiration for our comrade. Holy crap... James did it... and he was alive!
My immediate reaction was to follow him. I looked off the cliff to make sure I didn't land on his head. "Goodness... that's a long way down", I thought to myself. Then I remembered how cold the water was. Then I thought about running in wet gear for the next hour. It was about then that I choked.
James was all smiles when he hauled himself out of the river, but he did get a bit mauled. Not being positive how far the rocks were below the inky surface, James went long and landed in the water on a 45-degree angle rather than 90, so that slapping sound we heard when he hit the water was what amounted to a reverse belly flop. Our pace as we continued down the trails was a bit less aggressive.
It was the perfect evening for a night run. While temperatures at dusk were still in the mid-20's, it was cooler on the canyon trails. Only one skunk sighting, but must have been mating season for black slugs as they were out en masse along the west side of the Capilano Canyon.
Ron and Bryce greeted us with cool water and chocolate chip cookies at the oasis that is Aid Station Adams. As in other world-class races, Ron and Bryce shared trail beta with us about our competition: Wendy is about 30-minutes ahead of you, Pat and Sibylle maybe only 5 minutes, you're in last place. I shared the bear story with my companions as we paused briefly to stuff our faces with juicy blackberries further down the trail.
Earlier this summer, I followed a sketchy trail marked "closed" up Mackay Creek. There was a digger about 100m into the bush and in front of it, some small trees had been cut down suggesting the digger would follow. I soon found myself bushwhacking through prickle bushes, devils club and swamp, but did eventually come to the bridge over the creek that is used by the night run long course. In recognition of its discoverer, I named this trail The Jackson Trail.
Of course, I wanted to share the Jackson Trail with my running companions, so we did another little detour. All of these little detours add up. Marc pointed out as we neared the finish line that we probably ran more than the long-course distance. As we approached the last corner, we noted 2 runners ahead, so there was a sprint to the finish.
If the run wasn't enough fun, we then got down to the serious task of eating and sharing stories about our respective adventures and some of the silly things our friends had done over the summer. It was Sibylle's birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday. James received applause for his act of courage and his second Purple Heart award for incurring injury during the course of a CFA event. Of note: it was a sea of pumpkin orange out there this evening as almost all participants cooincidentially wore their 2012 club colors. Thank you, Norco, Trail Runner and Distance Runwear for the prizes.