Slayin`the Beast!

Yesterday Warren and I took part in running The Brickyard Beast which is a 10k race that takes place on Gabriola Island.  We left the house at 6:00am to drive up to Nanaimo where we would catch the ferry to Gabriola. We had put our mountain bikes on the back of the car to use when we got over on the island. We had read that the start of the race was only a 15 minute walk from the ferry terminal so riding our bikes seemed like a good idea. We also wanted to do some exploring.

On our way up the Malahat the sun was just starting to rise over the water. It was beautiful and I had to stop for a picture.

For the love of sunrises
For the love of sunrises


After we got off the ferry we rode to the Gabriola Commons where we picked up our race kits, dropped off our things and then caught a bus to the start of the race. We got off the bus and saw Damian and I introduced him to Warren. We chatted a bit and then got ourselves ready to run.

The race started on a gravel road that went on for about 800 meters and then turned into paved road. As you turned the corner you were faced with a small hill that quickly turned into a downhill. And the downhill just kept on going and going. Reading that there was a good portion of downhill sounds better than saying I was climbing a hill but in actual fact a decent is just as tiring and harder on my body than going uphill.

W and I…we slayed the beast. Grrr!

There was a guy running a bit in front of me that had a t-shirt on that said “Catch me if you can” and that motivated me to do so. I welcomed the challenge and succeeded.

The road then started to even out a bit and I was running next to a guy named Terry. I ended up introducing myself to him at the end of the run because we both helped each other through it at various places and I wanted to say thanks. Running on the flat was nice but I figured it was soon time to come to an end and I was right.  Soon I was faced with “Brickyard Hill” as the locals call it and it reaches an 18% grade. As I ran along without my tunes and hearing myself breath I started to say to myself “What goes up, must come down.” I repeated that as I went along. I was on the balls of my feet running and pushing my elbows back to get up the hill. There were girls along the side cheering me on and at one point one of the girls hollered out to Terry “You’re letting a girl pass you?” It made me smile and I pushed on.

Once we reached the top there was a water station, that was great to see but at the same time I was breathing so hard it was hard to take the water in. I carried my cup with me as I ran along because I wasn’t stopping to walk at any point of this run. It would be too easy to do if I started to. A bit down the road I took one sip and threw away the cup.

Slay the Beast29 130804-M
Photo by

The rest of the run was rolling ‘baby’ hills compared the Brickyard Hill. It didn’t mean that they weren’t a challenge but they were better to run. As I made my way along the course I met another runner coming towards me. I think he was just out for his own Sunday morning run and he let me know that I was the second woman. That made me happy. I knew who the woman was in front of me. I have run against her in a few other races this year and I knew when I saw her at the start of the race that she would be winning it. I ran along and various people would tell me I was second. I think they were doing this because it is a male dominate race and the top five winners for the last two years have been men.

As I neared the finish and the last small hill I was happy to be almost done. I gave it all that I had and pushed myself to the finish. I crossed the line at 47:25 and I was happy with that. I had no expectations for this race and was just going out to do something new. Placing second for the woman in the Senior Beast category and 11th place overall was a bonus.

Warren placed 5th overall and was third in the Master Beast category.

Our friend Damian rocked the race and was first overall. Way to go!

The race was a good one and I would go back and do it again. It was great to run in a new place and explore a new place since I had never been to Gabriola before. After we got off the ferry we wandered the boardwalk and the downtown Nanaimo area. A place I had never explored either. It was a day of firsts that’s for sure.

Did you have any firsts this weekend?


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