Monday, October 27, 2008

Around the Lake Give'r Take 30km

It was an early rise to the morning. Peter and I drove to Cultus Lake for the race, which started at 9am. Since I am normally up at 5:00am for work, I still managed to give myself an hour and a half sleep in! I got my clothes together, ate oatmeal with banana and was off to the races. It was a quiet drive out. To get ourselves pumped up in the car we listened to some Dave Mathews Band. As soon as I got there I saw 2 Innovative Fitness employees that I know very well, Isabelle and Meghan Campbell. It was nice to know some people that were there. They were competing in the relay with 2 of their customers. This race is very well known for it’s food. Most of the volunteers bring some baked goods and this year they had blueberry pie, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, cold cuts and cheese, vegetarian chili, and chips and salsa. This was all visible before we even started the race which gave me a little more incentive to finish a little faster!

The course is primarily on forested trails around Cultus Lake, starting and ending at Main Beach. It begins with a 2km loop on road and beach trail, and brings you back past the start line. The beginning was weird because there was a clock counting down the time until the start but when it said 0.00 nobody said anything. This woman just decided to fly out and we all just followed. I immediately found myself at the front of the pack and was in 3rd or 4th coming back into the beach.

You then head into the first serious climb and single track trails to the high point of the race which is approx 1450 ft. It was fairly steep. The hills never seemed to last that long (under 10 minutes) but there were a lot of them. I was the lead woman until this lady went hurrying by me. I was in no rush to get up the hills any faster and kept pace until the first big downhill. Here I passed 2 men that had been in front of me the entire time and just went for it. A gradual descent on an old logging road brings you into Columbia Valley beyond the end of the lake. It was on this section that I quickly caught up to the lead female. We chatted briefly and she said she was battling a hip injury and was taking it easier on the downhill. As soon as we went uphill again, she passed me but it wasn’t long after that I passed her back down on the next descent. We had a laugh knowing that it may go back and forth the entire race but I never saw her again. On one of the downhill’s a deer jumped out of the bushes and ran across my path. It startled me and caused me to roll my ankle a little bit. The pain subsided quickly as I stand there still waiting for a baby fawn to follow but none did.

After that you run along 3 km of paved road (1 km steep downhill), which takes you back into 10 km of excellent, but somewhat strenuous, undulating horse trails in the provincial park. I was alone for all of this next section. I thought one of the relay teams might catch up to me because the next runner was going to have fresh legs, but I didn’t see anyone. The hills were never too long and I was even able to run many of them. I usually try and conserve energy going uphill but it is a shorter race for me and decided to go a little harder. I was happy once we got back into the trail section which runs all along the lake shore. Here you get a picturesque view of the lake and nice flat finish coming in. I was really happy with my time of 2:37. I had 6 gels along the way and only one bathroom (side of trail) break. My boyfriend Peter had done this race the last 2 years. He wanted to beat his last time and did by 8 minutes, finishing in 2:43!!!!

We stayed around to eat some delicious food and be present for the awards ceremony. Every year the winning man and woman receive a carved wooden walking stick. There is even a hole in the bottom where you can screw in spikes for when you walk in the trail and you can remove it for when you walk on the road. I also received a $10 Starbucks gift card and a metal water bottle for winning my age group. The same participants keep coming back year after year and I can see why. There was great weather, amazing people, great course, and awesome food. What else could you ask for?

I would recommend this race to anyone. If you don’t think you can run for over 2.5 hours I would do it as a relay. You also get a snazzy hoodie!

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