A 25 km trail run.
Then some brief fish time as Griffin (my five year old son) wanted to catch a lunker from the rocky shores of Lake McMurtry.
His first cast.
“I got a fish!”
Life is good.
And then we said goodbye to Lake McMurtry.
Watching the weather forecast at the end of the week, it looked near perfect for this time of year…50F – low 70s, with a few clouds. The family will be happy. Friday night in our hotel room, I saw bright flashes lighting up our room. Rain?
The next morning, we drove to the lake on wet roads and cloud filled skies.
In our usual four member family fire drill, we get to the park 30 minutes later than the master plan had documented, but I still was able to sprint to the start and see the 50 km runners take off. Fortunately I was running the 25 km and had another 30 minutes to put on the right shoes, pin a bib, and set up a little half-tent for the fam.
After a few instructions from Brian and Ken (the Trail Zombie), we were off!
I started at the caboose and with the course quickly moving into sweet snake-like single-track, my pace was definitely muted in the first mile or two but hey, negative split here I come! It was all good.
The course is basically two close to similar split loops (with some two-way traffic) running north and south of the main start finish area, showcasing many sweet images of the lake and the beauty of Spring.
Green. Green. Green.
It wasn’t long before the train slowed abruptly and then I saw why…
In the week leading up to the race I had pulled out my Calculus, Dynamics, and Physics books from the attic…for some reason I still keep them. I studied forces, coefficient of friction, speed, and more ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’s than I have looked at in a long time. I felt fairly sure in surviving the jump across this unfamiliar chasm but the overnight rains threw off all my calculations…and confidence.
Would my foot slip at take off?
Should I jump with one foot or two?
How has the coefficient of friction changed?
I am happy to say I made the leap.
The rest of the north loop contained scenic, twisty, and tame single-track intermixed with a few little risers along with a brief dirt road section.
I cruised through the start/finish area in 1:14:55, ready to start the south loop. I briefly chatted with Wendy, Griffin, and Ainsley before starting the back half of this adventure.
Somewhere around this time the skies dropped some gentle moisture on us.
This is where I let myself dial up the pace a bit. The out segment felt like a net downhill run so my effort felt a bit spicy for my current fitness. A couple times I thought to myself, I hope I don’t pay for this effort on the way back out but let’s see what happens. Most of this section of trail is an out-and-back with a lollipop loop at the end to turn you back around.
The return trip was pleasantly strange. It actually felt like a net downhill run as well. Weird…but I will take it!
With all runners heading in two different directions for most of the south loop, it can be an interesting dance as we glide past one another on a two-foot wide trail. Somehow we all negotiate these encounters in real time, without any collisions.
I finally popped out of the woods, ran a short road section to the final piece of single-track before a nice little staircase finish. My watch had a 1:04:43 for the back loop.
My official finish time was 2:19:41, finishing fourth overall and snuck out an age group win.
Nice post-race fellowship, a cold beer, and nearly 200 photos taken thanks to the epic help of my wonderful wife.
A special thanks to my family for supporting my little adventures, all the volunteers, Brian, and RD Ken Childress for a great Saturday with some great people.
And how about that fish!?!
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com