MEC Race #2: 10k trail run at Thetis Lake

Now, this one truly took me by surprise. I came into it very nonchalant…I wasn’t going to even wear my watch (I did) but I certainly wasn’t going to fuss or stress about the time. Trail races for me just aren’t competitive- you can’t go fast enough, reliably enough. I also kind of thought I was aware of the route, and BOY that was a surprise too~

You want to run a half marathon, but can’t commit to the distance or time? Well I have a solution for you- run this race and trust me, it will FEEL like a half marathon by the time you’re done 🙂

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First lap- looking good! Photo credit to MEC.

It was tough.

I’m not complaining though. You get your time, effort and money’s worth for sure! My only complaint is that for a trail race, it was SUPER congested. Packed with people, impossible to find parking, waits for the porta-potties and bag check. UGH. That’s what happens when over 700 people show up, I guess?

We were almost late too, eek! Darn MEC races, I am always almost late or late to them.

We made it to the start by, oh 2 minutes. EEEK

Off we went, and I found my first km fairly slow- 5:40 or so. Ian was ahead of me by a bit, and he finished in around 58 minutes.

Hm, that is slow. Little did I know that was going to be my fastest KM! HAHAH. Next, it was hills, hills, hills. Then, some winding single-track in the mud. THEN we had to clamber through the mud, and hop past a log- or straight over it. I pussyfooted all of the mud stuff and was super slow clambering downhill. Trail racing is fun, but I can’t afford to injure my knee or ankle at this point, for a silly trail race.

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Second lap. Getting tough…Photo credit to MEC.

People BLASTED past me in the mud, splashing, etc and tore downhill. That was ok, I watched, waited and bided my time…to pass them on the final loop (the course was two loops of the 5k course). It did range from fairly easy and straightforward, to technical single-track and very muddy, slippery and tricky. My shoes were soaked with mud, I landed hard and bent my right ankle three times in a row (shit).

The loops ends with a series of hills- like, 3. Ha. Then we ran past the beach to start the second loop. In the first loop, when we reached the hills, my breathing was terrible. I felt sick, and hyperventilated a bit. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, that I was struggling to breathe, that I had a weight sitting on my chest. It was kind of horrible…I couldn’t seem to calm down?!!

By the time I started the second loop, my body seemed to figure out the breathing thing and I completely forgot about my panic and nausea. Weird eh? I kind of fell into a better rhythm by the second loop and was chugging along.

I was soaked in sweat and pretty exhausted, but the volunteers kept it very safe, watching the risk points that were really slippery or technical. I felt cocky going in and very humbled finishing!

I finished with 1:04:33 good enough for 5/24 in my AG.

Not shabby, and it was fun!

It was also FREEZING when we finished, so glad I packed a toque. WTF Victoria, get with the program and I don’t know, warm up or something for spring? I changed into my breeches and rode right after the race. Thetis Lake is actually like 5 mins from my barn so how is that for timing?! HAHA. Horribly cold though, ouch.

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MEC Race #5: The Grand Banana

And so bright and early, I didn’t hear my alarm and woke up in a panic at 7:21, freaking out at my husband. The race started at 8:30am, so I had time, but not a lot of it!

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I am actually not in this pic…And they’re off!

I got a whole lot of sleep (nope) after my two parties…So yeah I was feeling fresh, energized and ready to go (I wish). I had also eaten myself into a bad stomachache, so that was genius planning on my part too, ha. Worth it though, until I had to actually race.

We left the house, and made it to Elk Lake with lots of time. I warmed up- sort of- and it was very chilly out at the lake. Brrrrr! I kept an eye out for my friend, who was making a comeback from rehabbing her ankle over the past year, but I didn’t manage to see her until after the race.

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Faces of pain.

I wore my bunny ears, and had a ‘Playboy Bunny’ style singlet over top of my run gear. Cute eh? The bunny ears lasted…3 seconds and fell into the mud and got trampled immediately. Shoot!!

Once we were off, I was hauling ass – until I checked my watch and I decidedly…wasn’t. First KM was at 4:48, and I was trying for more of a 4:45 avg (newsflash- this was too ambitious and my level of training was NOT there).

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It was a beautiful morning.

It was really tough! I say that about a lot of my races, but here we are a few days later and my legs were just killing me. It was neck-and-neck for awhile with a few other lady runners (Cinderella in particular looked really good) and I got my ass kicked by them and a few other runners too. People were really on their game that day.

I did pretty well the first loop, alternating between feeling great and feeling like dying. I even managed a very brief ‘you’ve got this!!’ mantra, until about 8km, and then I felt so tired, and incredulous that there were how many KMs left??!! How?!!

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Dear god when will it end>!

I made it to the second loop and the wheels started falling off. I felt so tired, my knee was bugging me and I was contemplating giving up. I wanted to give up SO badly. Just…pull off to the side, let this charade go, and take it easy. It would be so easy.

Note to self- not a good mantra.

It was very seductive though…

But I dragged myself up the hilly sections. I recovered my gait after tripping hardcore a few times (yes, fellow runners were concerned and asked if I was ok!! Nice eh? I was fine, just clumsy and tired.).

I charged on, weakly.

I kept going.

I did it.

I did NOT get my ‘b’ goal time (1:45) but I was really close to it- 1:46. I’ll take it. And I will work on giving it another shot for my next half in the spring.

My friend did awesome, and I was able to meet up with her later. Her ankle held out and she ran a really strong race. She felt fresher than I did after, even! Wow!

Kudos to the MEC crew for again running a fun, well-organized race. I heard that over 700 runners were there that day!!! Compared with like, 400 last year?!!

MEC Big Wild Challenge 2015- Race Review~

First up, know that this is no ordinary race. It’s not even a race at all- no timing mats! Crazy eh?

It’s more of an ‘adventure’ run through the trails of East Sooke Park, starting at Aylard Farms. I signed up primarily because I was planning on running with a friend who unfortunately was injured the week before and was unable to run, but no matter! We were going to do it anyways in her honour 🙂

Me looking weird at the start...photo courtesy of MEC.

Me looking weird at the start…photo courtesy of MEC.

We did the 12k distance and it’s funny but I was contemplating the 21k distance (jesus, so glad I didn’t) initially and then didn’t sign up for it. THANK GOD. The 12k, for your reference, took me about 1:55:30? Yeah, so the 12k took me longer to ‘run’ than a half marathon. I know, I know!

This was because of the trail. Wild, wooly, wet and slippery. The trail is no joke. I put run in quotations because I didn’t even end up running much during the race, it was more scrambling and climbing over rocks, boulders and tree roots. Something I tend to suck spectacularly at. I slipped hard a couple times and fell about three times, one time on a bit of a cliffside and man, that freaked me out!

My arms hurt after the race, mostly because I was using them to pull myself up, or down, on the trail. Crazy eh?

I was covered in mud after, even had a pretty fancy dirt unibrow going on after much to the amusement of my friends. At the turn-around, they had these nice ‘Go’ bar samples, so I stuffed one in my pants, gulped some Gatorade, and turned around and kept hoofing it. I was sweating so much it was running into my eyes, and I think that’s where the dirt unibrow came from- me rubbing my eyes with my grubby paws.

I was afraid of hurting myself. That kept me from really enjoying myself. The trail seemed like a great place to fall and hit your head, or break an ankle…

Looking relatively fresh at the finish...Photo courtesy of MEC.

Looking relatively fresh at the finish…Photo courtesy of MEC.

So it was quite a hairy experience, I’m glad I did it, but unlike my friends–I’m not sure I would do it again! I’ve now done two trail races and quite frankly I am a bit too competitive to let it go on the trail–I want to race! Also I’m pretty terrible at trail running- just not agile or balanced enough I suppose and that affects my confidence.

I was so thirsty after too, which surprised me–it was not a warm day, it was chilly and drizzly but I suppose my exertion was very great.

The food after was excellent! Small wrap bites, smoked cheese, pasta salad (yum!), juice, coffee, really soft cookies, two-bite brownies, bananas. I can’t complain about the food, it was super tasty! Too bad my hands were filthy, haha.

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I had some scratches on my wrists, and legs and mud splattered all the way up my legs. It was time to go home, shower, and then zip off to catch Brave Shores at Rifflandia!