That time I almost puked at the finish line…

 

No caption needed
 
This morning I headed way up to Seattle for the Carkeek Cooler 5k (there was also a 10k) put on by Northwest Trail Runs. When I say way up, it’s because it’s almost an hour drive even though it’s less than 30 miles from home. I think I have only been to Carkeek Park once before and only for a drive through. After running through it today, I’m looking forward to going back and seeing the trail in slo-mo. 

They had 3 tents set up, enough parking, plenty of clean port-a-potties and ribboned off start/finish areas. The trail was possibly the best marked race (road or trail) I have ever done. Bravo!

Taken from the tree canopy by the start line
 
Most of us (about 250 for the combined distances) waited under the tree canopy until it was time for the pre-race announcements and course briefing since it was raining pretty steadily. “The trails are a little wet [ha] so no records will be set today, be careful and have fun”. 

I used my usual strategy for trail races in the rain: phone in a baggie, hood over my hat, coat sleeves covering my Garmin because with the raindrops I probably can’t read it anyway, then start mid-wayish and pace off someone who looks a bit older & slower than me for the first mile (for the record, I didn’t have a trail race strategy until today and I just winged it). Worked like a charm. Either that, or it was all I could do not to lose it on the steep uphill. 

The trail was wide enough that 2-3 people could be shoulder-to-shoulder, and luckily, NO ONE did this. Trail etiquette was awesome. I passed people and was passed, and some of those people I repassed.

By the time we got to the second big hill, my HR was pretty much maxed out. I had visions of the paramedics being called as I slid down the muddy trail face first. I walked quite a bit of that beast just trying to get it down under 170! I know it looks shorter, but that’s because you can’t see the stairs, the subtle up and downs, but hey…neither could I. Eyes down, watch for roots, stay upright, and for heavens sake don’t let the lady carrying her toddler pass me! (Ok, she did pass me at one point after this, but she wasn’t carrying her kid at the time, and then I passed her again).

During the ‘plateau-y’ part of the second hill, I was passed by two women, but as soon as I realized we were really on the downhill to the home stretch, I wanted my spot back!

After the last set of stairs, I picked up my pace a bit and had the first one in my sights. After I passed her, I could hear her try to stick with me for about 15 steps, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t actually realize I was close enough to pass the other woman, but with only 30 or so yards to go I went for it (running a sub-8 min pace!) and I hit the chute before her. 

And that, my friends, is when I thought I was going to lose it. All I could think was how happy I was that we were on grass and maybe nothing would splash on me. When I looked at the data (because I’m a complete data geek), I can completely understand…my HR was 180. Pretty sure I almost burst. Luckily though, nothing exited in any manner, and after a minute I felt fine. 

Post-race refreshments and snacks were EXCELLENT! PB&J (fresh, not stale, more made every few minutes!), oranges, bananas, cookies, chips & 7-layer dip, hot soup, hot chocolate, Golazo sports drink, and probably more. 

Once all the 5k runners were in, there was a raffle! They divvied up the tickets by race so 5k didn’t have to wait and 10k was finished. Great strategy. Lots of items giving away, from t-shirts to hard cider, beer, wine, refrigerator magnets, reindeer antlers, etc. And…I WON a bottle of this Bordeaux!!! 

Baggie filter – it’s very flattering, dont’t you think?
 
This was the first in their Winter Race Series and I had such a great time (well, other than that one minute I thought I might die and the other I thought I would puke) that I am definitely signing up for the next one. I found this series on Gametiime and already have the rest of the series saved to my Wish List!

Once I got back to my car and changed into drive clothes, I was heading out of the park but had to stop and enjoy the view for a minute. They are VERY hard to see in this picture, but the six little dots (just above the horizon and about center) are NOT dots or birds, they are big ass military helicopters.  

Although I could sit and stare at the water for hours, I didn’t and headed home.

Enjoy your weekend – cheers!

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The trails are calling, so I’m answering

Last weekend I ran the 9.1 mile loop around our local watershed lake. It rained the entire time, it was windy in one section, a tree was down across the path in another section, and yet another part was flooded. I didn’t have my hydration vest and forgot to grab a water bottle. It should have been a crappy run, right? Nope. One of the best runs in AGES. The trails are where I can go and regroup, escape, breathe, reset. And I did.  

I startled this buck less than 1/2 mile in

While running (nice and slow, goal was to keep my heart rate close to 135, which I did for the most part), I decided to sign up for a local 5k trail race tomorrow that I’d seen on Gametiime. It’s rumored to be the hilliest of the series (winter series has races every other weekend), but I run for fun not to win, so it sounds perfect. 

I’ll let you know – time to gather everything together so I’m ready in the morning.

Time to race again – cheers!