Finally...some kind of race report from me! Guess this'll be my first one since I totally dropped the ball with Boston and didn't really do any kind of report. What kind of a lazy a$$ blogger am I?!
So, yeah this saturday past was to be my first trail race ever...very exciting! I had no idea what to expect, how to pace myself, what to do...I was a total newbie out of my element! I've kind of got the pacing thing down with road racing but with trailrunning it's a whole new world!
I got up at 5am Saturday morning so I could eat, do last minute packing and leave my house by 6am. Surprisingly enough I managed to leave on time! I was tired but actually kind of excited to do this mini road trip by myself! People told me I could do the drive in 2.5 hours but probably allow for 3 hours to be safe. It took me about 2 hours and 40 mins...and it was actually a super pleasant trip and I didn't mind the drive at all! I had the music going and sang along the entire way :) Nipika Mountain Resort is a beautiful spot hidden away about 14km down a dirt road off of the main Highway 93 that takes you to the fabulous Radium Hot Springs in BC.
So I get there before 9am...one of the first people there...and the race isn't until 11! There's lots of time for me to get my sh!t together and get organized! It was supposed to be around 15ºC so I wasn't sure if I'd wear a T or tank...stuff like that. I wandered around, chatted with a few people I recognized from the Trail Trash running group in Calgary but was mostly on my own just chilling out. It was great! Well it warmed up super quick and was probably 20ºC by the time the race started. So as we were getting called to the race meeting at 10:45 I quickly changed to a tank, slapped on some sunscreen and was ready to go. One of the ultramarathon girls had recommended her favorite choice in hydration packs...one made by Nathan which is more like a vest and it has pockets in the front for your gels, camera and whatever else you feel like bringing! I had the bladder filled with Nuun...my favorite form of hydration and electrolyte replacement on the run! I was good to go!
I had wondered how well marked this trail would be and if I'd get lost at all. This being my first trail race I really had no idea what to expect. At our pre-race meeting the race director said that it was marked by orange flagging tape and before a turn off there is added blue flagging tape. If the blue tape is on your right, you're going right...on the left, you're going left! It made sense to me and I was happy to find it very well marked and I didn't get confused! Fewf!
So the race began at 11am sharp...about 35 of us running the 25km started from a meadow and that ended very quickly as we made our way into the trees and onto some fun single track for most of the race. My first 10km were pretty tough as I had no idea how to pace myself, I wasn't skilled in single track, and I didn't want to be alone right from the beginning as people took off. I settled behind a group of 3 other runners for a bit and didn't mind the pace but was a little worried it might be too quick. As the pace slowed a bit I decided it was slower than I liked so I decided to pass and keep going. I may as well see what I can do on this thing and not worry about being on my own for much of the run. While I noticed that very few people carried bear spray...I on the other hand was terrified so I did have it attached to the back of my hydration pack. People were even wearing ipods which shocked me as that's the last thing I want to do in the middle of the forest...I want to be able to hear people coming up behind me and/or the bears that are out there!!
The first aid station came quick at almost the 7km mark and I was super happy when I saw it as I was getting hot already and wanted to dump water on my head which I did. I grabbed a couple of orange slices, said Thanks to the people manning the station, and kept going. Instantly I felt better! The first 10km loop was pretty tough with a couple of steep drops down and climbs up from the river but oh what beautiful scenery! I wish I didn't have to pay as much attention to all of the roots and rocks I was racing around and look up more often! I think more people are skilled at this but I am not!
The 10km loop ended back where we started at the meadow and I wasn't feeling that great again but as I made my way to the next aid station, dumped on more water, I felt much better pretty quick! I was ready for my 15km loop! I didn't spend a ton of time at the aid stations and found I would always catch some people there and stick with them for a bit after. I caught up to a man around the 13th km and we chatted for a bit and then we got to a bit of a hill and he said have a great race and dropped back. I was disappointed as I really enjoyed the company and was hoping he'd be around for a bit longer. I was by myself yet again! Kilometer 15 was the last aid station! I was disappointed as I thought, I can't believe how hot it's gotten today...must be well over 20 by now?! Again the water on my head felt great...I ate some more orange slices and some yummy salty chips! Sigh, so good!
After this station I had caught up to a younger guy which I stuck to his heals as best I could for the next 5km I would say. Hopefully I wasn't pissing him off too much as I was loving the company. We didn't chat at all and I did have the feeling I was a bit annoying with my heavy stalker breathing going on behind him lol. He was INCREDIBLE on the downhills...there was super steep stuff leading us down to the river and he'd take off and leave me in his dust but as soon as we got back to the flats and hills I would immediately catch him again. I'm super nervous about those crazy downhills and I don't know if I'll ever get over that.
Eventually the 2 of us caught up to another couple...this guy had a bear bell on his pack...I have to say right now that I hate those things soooo much. Has anyone else besides me heard of bear bells being referred to as "dinner bells"? Yeah that's right...I don't trust them, and I don't use them...plus they're annoying as hell! The guy I was with stepped aside for me to pass and then I passed the dinner bell folks as well and quickly got away so I wouldn't have to hear that anymore!
So i'm motoring along by myself...thinking about bears unfortunately...I get to around 22km and what do I do? I trip and fall! I'm like WTF...did that just happen? I don't even know if there was any real roots there, what did I trip on? I laughed at myself as it was obvious I was just getting tired at this point and dragging my feet! I managed to maneuver around the other crazy roots and rocks up to this point and now I trip on next to nothing. Too funny. A couple of minutes later, I go down hard AGAIN! This time I did trip on a giant root...just me being tired and stupid! Now i'm just angry...and I drew blood LOL. I've been wearing skirts to work all week and don't my legs look damn sexy with my battle wounds he he. Anyhow, I kept looking back as I was sure someone would catch me while I was being stupid but there was still nobody around.
2 kilometres to go and guess what I see... a new aid station! I was like, I'm so happy to see you, I thought the last station was it?!? He said, it was but the finishers that have come in said it was soooo hot out there that they really wished there would have been something. I could have kissed him. I said you made my day, you've no idea! :) Then I look back and somebody has caught up to me...a guy that I passed probably back at 8km or something. Damn! Anyways, we leave at the same time and he takes off and I just can't catch him. I briefly slow down to chat with someone and then I hear dinner bells in the distance...ooohh i've gotta go, the bear bell guy is driving me nuts!
At around the last kilometre or so, I see the Nipika Lodge...there's a ton of people there cheering and everything and i'm so relieved to be done. Then I realize there's this detour that's taking us away from the lodge and loops around before going back to the meadow to add on the last kilometre. It was a nasty little trick but my Garmin told me that it ended up pretty much dead on at 25km. I was impressed. I get to the end very satisfied with my first trail race! I enjoy lots of oranges and lots of chips!
I chat with someone who informs me that there's a little "wading" type pool that has been made behind the cabins from a stream that flows by. I'm thinking, hell yeah! It was quite cold but not unbearable as it was fairly shallow and the sun was heating it up. I slowly walked in up to my waist and it felt phenomenal. I've never been able to do an ice bath after a race as it's just too darn cold to sit in a tub like that but standing in this water was amazing. I'm sure it definitely contributed huge to me feeling little soreness the next day! They should have wading pools at the end of every marathon...can you imagine? That would be awesome! :)
So how did I do? I finished in a time of 2:38...better than the 3 hours I predicted! I think I mentioned previously that I came 3rd in my age group...yay...oh wait, that's 3rd out of 5. Damn. But wait...the official results are up and I came 4th out of the 20 females that did it, wahoo! Not too shabby for my first trail race :)
Well that's about it...I feel like the race was mostly a blur now and I probably should try and blog about it in the same day! I brought my camera along but really enjoyed running along and had no real desire to take pictures that day unfortunately. Here are a couple I snagged from Hugh of the Trail Trash group. They are of the meadow at the start...and a fun little bridge we had to cross in the first 10km.
So what's next for me? Remember I said I was debating between the 25km and the 50km race this weekend in Kelowna? Well I emailed the race director yesterday and asked if they wouldn't mind changing my registration from 25km to 50km. She said not a problem and was I sure I didn't want to do the 50 miler?! Hahahaha. I said thank you very much but the 50km will be jusssst fine. Wish me luck, i'm terrified! Lucky for me the forecast for Kelowna on saturday is a very nice 19ºC...down from the 30ºC it's been every day this week!
My dog Logan and I are packing up and heading out on the 6 hour drive to Vernon tomorrow night after work where my brother, sister in-law, and dog Milo live. The race starts at 7am saturday morning so we've got an early rise to drive the half hour to Kelowna and get ready for 7am! I'm getting nervous about this race already.
Have a great weekend everybody! Oh and a big shout out to my best friend Jeff on his first half ironman race of the season on Sunday in Oliver! He's gonna kick some major butt! :)