As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts (and in great detail in the post that got deleted, grr) I’ve been dipping my toes into some trail running this summer. There are a few reasons for this:
1) It’s a great way to develop yourself as a run and prevent some of the overuse injuries that plague road runners by the variations in pace and terrain that trails provide.
2) I have some friends who are into trail running (and ultra running) and it looks neat. Ultra running has recently started to intrigue me since I’m always looking for new ways to inflict pain on myself.
3) Because I live in Calgary and have all this basically in my back yard:
This summer we’ve had some great weather and I’ve been taking advantage of it and getting out of the city almost every weekend. It may mean that my apartment is messier than usual, but so worth it.
Last year I did a couple 5Peaks races, and loved the courses and general vibe. They’re perfect for those looking to get into trail running since they are relatively short, and have at least two race lengths for each event. This year I decided to try the longer of the two courses, the “Enduro”, for my next two 5Peaks. A few weeks ago (July 19) one was held at the Glenbow Ranch, just Northwest of Calgary outside the town of Cochrane. It was to be my maiden voyage in my Oiselle Flock singlet, and to commemorate the occasion, Ashes helped me lay out my race outfit.
This was going to be my longest trail race yet (13.5km, a mere drop in the bucket for trail race lengths) and I was nervous so I convinced my mom to come along and cheer me on. That Saturday morning, we drove out together to the Ranch.
The Glenbow Ranch is located in the Bow River valley and full of beautiful rolling hills and a few trees.
As I was checking in, I said hi to Tina and Angela who both volunteered and ran the Sport (shorter) distance. Another benefit to the 5Peaks series are the amount of Cliff Bar samples and various other tents to check out while you wait to run. We hung out for a bit and snacked on mini Cliff bars.
The course was lead us up a paved pathway and up a hill before we dropped down a rocky path through the trees and back into the valley. I ran (slowly) up this hill, but planned to walk most of the other hills, especially during the first loop (of two loop course).
The course was a mix of paved trail and gravel path, which made it less trail-y than other 5Peaks, but still had some seriously hills making it just ask challenging. While walking up a hill, Ange passed me but I shortly caught up again and we ran most of the first loop together. This was nice because it was quite exposed and hot, and we both wanted to focus on taking it easy and enjoying ourselves. Neither of us were out to prove anything that day. We walked the larger hills and talked about our cats. The final hill, before the Sport people head back down to the start line, was an intense switchback in the hot sun. Ange left me and I was dreading running the whole course again.
Just ask she took off, my mom appeared! She walked along the course with me for a while as I complained about how hot and hard this was and munched on a gel. When we arrived at the gravel downhill again, she let me go and off I went for lap 2.
Thankfully, it clouded over slightly and I got my head into the game and a good rhythm. Lap 2 was generally peaceful and comfortable.
A tall guy and myself kept passing one another, and he commented on how speedy I would get on the downhill. We were close at the end and walked together up the switchback. Coming back down the hill leading to the finish he had more gas in the tank (and significantly more gravity-aided momentum) and left me in the dust. My mom cheered me on and took photos as a nearby child threw grass on the pathway.
And I crossed the finish in 1:36!
As the awards started, it clouded over and started raining lightly. My mom and I made motions to leave, but Tina convinced me to check out my placement just in case. And turns out…
I got second (out of 3, still counting it)! Maybe if I didn’t stop and walk after Lap 1 I could’ve gotten 1st (we weren’t too far apart), but it was worth it, I needed a little mental break with my mom.
So there you have it! 5Peaks, always a good time. In fact, I’m running another one tomorrow! 16.5k, crap. Wish me luck!