Loop the Lakes Trail Run – 8k/15k

Just wanted to do a quick report .. Greg Welwood and I got back from the Loop the Lakes 8k/15k Trail race up in Alice Lake. We jumped into this race on a last minute whim for a friend’s birthday – yes, we raced for a friend’s birthday! What happened to sit down dinners and birthday parties?!

Seeing as I was on a “recovery” week after running the Disneyland Half, I opted to do the 8k. Greg was back in the full swing of things with school and had registered for the 15k. However, a week out from race day, became injured .. having worn trail shoes that were slightly too small, causing two large open wounds on the backs of BOTH of heels. So he dropped down to the 8k – the lesser of the two evils seeing as he had EXPOSED RAW SKIN on the backs of both heels. Nothing a bit of tape, second skin, and bandaging won’t fix … ugh.

Now .. this is technically my first trail race. I LOVE trail running .. but had always been hesitant about racing on trails. It’s hard to pass people and i hate to be in people’s way .. and i know when I get tired, i get really sloppy and tend to roll my ankle.The website describes the course as follows:

The 8 km short course route is perfect for first time trail racers or those who want to enjoy nature at high speed! It is mostly on park road, or well worn trails. We’ve added a short technical section to give racers a taste of West Coast trail running at its finest. It follows the very scenic Four Lakes Trail (clockwise), Cliffs Corners and Tracks from Hell.

At the start line, there were few younger fellows kicking around. I pointed out this 12 year old boy to Greg and said,”You see him? I bet he’s going to kick my butt.”

We were told that the first 3.5k were up hill .. then you get some undulations .. and some downhill. Well, up hill they were, so much so that at the steepest hill, i decided to walk. Yup, i walked. But, of course, when the dude that i passed not too long ago starts passing me on the hill, I started to trudge along and slowly but surely passed him by. I saw that there was a woman ahead of me but she was slowly working her way up the hill too .. and i had nothing to catch her. When we got to the top, it was flat’ish, with a bit of a downhill so i thought maybe i would catch her there but nope. So we come down the top section and hit the mountain bike area .. I’m guessing this is the “Tracks From Hell”. We were told that we could run alongside the tracks if we found it too hard. Let me tell u now. You can’t run alongside the tracks. The tracks are made of chopped wood seemingly haphazardly nailed together, making for a very uneven surface. I nearly fell off the first few steps I took so I jumped off to the side .. but there’s really no area to run .. so i hopped back on and thought walking would be easier. But it’s not because of the unevenness of the tracks. So .. pray to God I don’t fall, and pretend that the pieces are flat and away we go! And watch for signs on some of the tracks – one of them was clearly labelled “DO NOT STEP ON THIS” .. so i side-stepped it .. almost falling off. A few minutes later, i hear a big crack and some woman screaming. I guess she didn’t see the sign. Apparently, it was a teeter-totter.

Anyway, i held tight to my position .. not being passed by anyone and with that woman in front of me just out of reach. I crossed the finish line 39:35 .. 10 seconds behind the woman ahead of me, which happened to be the first woman in.

Greg, under the alias of Chronic Fatigue, came in 4th overall in a time of 33:54. Woohoo! Now imagine what he could have done with skin on the backs of his heels!

All in all, my first trail race was tough .. much like my first cross-country run. Am i hooked tho? I’m not sure .. I did, however, partake in a much needed nap en route back to Vancouver. Thankfully, Greg didn’t need the rest and drove me back to my home, so i could walk my puppy.

Oh yeah, and that 12 year old boy who i said would kick my butt .. he did. I passed him about 3k .. and then he ran past me at about 3.5k. And i never did see him again .. til the finish area where he was resting with his mom.

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