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Monday, May 2, 2016

DIRTY FEET: KAL PARK 25KM RACE REPORT

My initial plan was to run the BMO Vancouver Marathon, however I found out there was a race in Vernon that same weekend. Having done the BMO 3 times already I figured I should be doing the races in my new town. It would also be a great way to meet new runners and connect with the community.

I signed up for the 25k because up to that point my longest run had been 18km. Juggling both school and work has proved time/energy consuming and I just don't run as much and for as long as I used to. However, I run the perfect amount for where I am at in this stage of my life!

The coolest part about this event for me was that it was entirely self-propelled. I sold my car a few months back and my mountain bike is now my source of transportation, It took me roughly 30 minutes to bike to the start/finish area. Luckily, Peter was working at the event so I could pass off my stuff to him.

I don't really know a whole lot of people in Vernon so I was super stoked when I saw Shannon Penway and her fiance Joel show up! It was a beautiful sunny and warm day and I was excited to get my first race of 2016 underway.

The race steadily climbs up for the first 5km or so. I had no prior knowledge of where the course went but I do run on these trails fairly regularly so I knew what was in store. I was around 4th woman as we began a steeper ascent up the lookout trail. In training, I typically run/power hike this hill but my body didn't want to walk, so I just kept running. It's interesting how I never know how my body is going to respond in a race. I would never had anticipated running that entire hill but I did and then made a small challenge to myself to run ALL the hills for the rest of the race. I was 3rd by the top of the climb and quickly passed 2nd as soon as we began the descent. I had first place, Ginny Sellers, in sight by the bottom of the hill. I met Ginny a few years back as her husband is who taught me how to do Lactate Balance Point Testing. She was proving to be much stronger than me on the climbs and it took me 10 minutes or so to catch her. We chatted a little bit and once the trail started to descend again, we parted ways.

The rest of the course is pretty rad. The most challenging section is up a trail that gradually ascends forever. Hills aren't my strong suit but I made that challenge to myself to run all the climbs and just kept running. I knew eventually this would lead to some rad downhill!!! I tried to push the descents as much as possible since this is where I can make up the most ground. It was a pretty hot day and I started to get little twinges in both my quads and later in my calves! I started to take it a little easier after that as it would come and go. Luckily I only had about 5 km left and managed to hold it together all the way to the finish line!

Finish line. Photo by: Joel Payeur


I was super stoked to finish in a time of 2:27 as the first female. More so, I was excited to be out racing with a bunch of people who inspire me to do my best! I was hooting and hollering with excitement all over the course. The views are so amazing in Kal Park and the terrain is quite varied. I highly recommend this race to everyone. There was an 8km and 50km as well. The 50km is 2 loops of the 25km course. Thanks to Dirty Feet for putting on a great event. Can't beat a finish line by the lake!

Thank you to La Sportiva for making awesome shoes that allow me to feel like I'm flying! I wore the Helios SR for this event which is a perfect shoe for the desert trails. I wore the new Speed T-shirt. I am a big fan of t-shirts when I race as it protects me from the sun and chafing! The zipper also allows for more ventilation! On the bottom I wore the Andromeda skirt which is the comfiest skort I have ever worn in my life. For hydration I used the Jenny Pack from Ultimate Direction however it looks as though they have a whole new line of packs and this one isn't made anymore.

When I haven't raced in a while it's easy to forget how much fun it is. I also never push myself in training as hard as I do in races, and it's great to remind myself what I'm capable of.

3 comments:

Ms. Brown said...

Awesome to hear you are back at it! I was wondering when I would get to indulge in your race reports again. Miss you! And I'll send you a link to my blog I started... Finally;) As you were the one that recommended it. Cheers, Erica

Colin Mustful said...

Congratulations Nicola!

Unknown said...

Great Job Nicola! I'm so proud of you :)