Tag Archives: Mystic Beach

Beginning the ascent

Mystic BeachSeveral times in the past three weeks my mouse has hovered over the “submit” button for another fall marathon.

Each time, a little voice in my head says: “Wait until after your Half Marathon in May. Don’t you want to start climbing again? Remember – you don’t want to climb and train for a marathon at the same timeā€¦”

Climbing, hiking, trail running – getting out of the city and off the beaten path. It’s what I long to do, but it means a different level of commitment than training for a road race.

It’s a lifestyle change, is what it is.

Road races are – well – urban, and therefore populated. One of the things I really like about the Vancouver Marathon/Half Marathon is the sheer number of participants and spectators. There is always someone cheering you on, always someone to pass going up to Prospect Point (even for a slow runner like me), always someone holding a sign that says “Run like a Kenyan!” There are entertainment stations with music and dance, and usually the Hash House Harriers with a beer table somewhere along the way.

Climbing/hiking/trail running is more isolated. Wild. A little bit risky. A little – on the edge. It brings you into closer contact with your climbing partner(s). It’s more intimate. There’s no crowd cheering you to the finish line, announcing your name. At best there’s a notation in a guidebook, or a scribble in a summit register, and some scrapes and bruises for bragging rights.

This hit home to me as I scrambled around gearing up this morning for a little 5k hike from China Beach to Mystic Beach and back this afternoon. I located my little Adventure first aid kit, an extra layer, emergency rain gear, fuel, water, map (not that I needed one).

As I rummaged through my gear stowed in my locker downstairs, I heard my physiotherapist’s voice in my head saying: “Your toe joint is healing well, you should be able to start climbing again this spring.”

I want that thrill of going into the back country again. I want to be at a campsite, climbing gear spread out, consulting the guidebook, deciding with my partner what to take (one rope or two? Full rack or save weight and leave a few pieces?). I want to share a beer at the end of the day with friends who have literally held my life in their hands at the end the rope.

It’s time again to begin the ascent.

Photo: Mystic Beach, April 5, 2010, taken by Tori Klassen with iPhone using the Best Camera app.