Baker Lake 50KM – Race Recap

On Saturday, I ran my first ultra marathon, the Baker Lake 50K in Concrete, Washington.

Right near Mt.Baker

The short version :

It was an insanely gorgeous day, the route was unlike anything I’ve ever run, and the views along the way were absolutely stunning.  My race went better than I expected, almost everything went according to plan, and I had basically no issues.  It was a long day, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it, and when the going got tough, I dug deep and just kept on going.

Spoiler alert : I finished the race in 5:55:11, which was good enough for 9th female out of 46, and 5/7 in my age group, and 28th out of 115 overall participants.

Now, for those of you who want to read the (super duper way too long) version, here it is :

A few months ago I toyed with the idea of running a 50K, I had just met Ellie Greenwood, and was convinced that a 50K was in my future.  I went searching for options…I found an option that was relatively close, a donation registration fee, and far enough way that I could train for it.  Baker Lake 50K on Saturday October 6/12.  Only one problem, when I decided to pull the trigger to register, the race was sold out!

I put my name on the wait list, and forgot all about it.  Instead, I convinced Cathy to sign up for the Bellingham Trail Marathon as the obvious next step before doing a 50K.  I decided that I would run my first 50 in 2013.

While I was forgetting about the whole thing, my name was secretly making it’s way onto the entrants list.

Imagine my surprise when I was looking at the website in late September and didn’t see my name on the wait list.  I checked the entrants list, and immediately punched Jay in the arm and pointed in shock, with my mouth wide open.

My brain was going a million miles a second, trying to figure out if it was even possible to attempt to run a 50 at this point in my training.  I was worried about leaving Cathy hanging for that weekend, and possibly the weekend after depending on recovery.  I was worried about the 2 jam packed weekends I had previously – Sept 22/23 was our failed 1/2 Kneeknacker & the Believe I Can Run, Sept 29/30 was Buntzen 5Peaks & Surrey Half Marathon.

That gave me basically 2 weeks of weekdays to recover sandwiching 2 really hard weekends.  After seeking some advice on twitter, and through some people I know who’ve run ultras, I decided that I would do my best to recover after both hard weekends, but that if I didn’t feel up to it, I wouldn’t start the race.  I’d do my best to get my body there, but if it wasn’t good to go, then that was that.

I had 2 amazing weekends.  All of my runs went super smoothly, no aches/pains/injuries, and I had double PR’s on my Half Goofy weekend, leaving me on a super runner’s high.

So, Jay and I booked a hotel room, and headed down to Mt. Vernon, which is right next to Burlington, basically a 3 min drive from the Lululemon outlet store.  Our hotel room was right off the highway, and for a last minute booking, it was great!  We headed out for dinner at a local pub, called the Porterhouse which was another TripAdvisor winner!  I had salmon wrapped in proscuitto, with prawns on top, and tons of veggies for dinner. Yum!

Back at the hotel, I prepped my gear for the morning.  I was definitely over-packed, but I wanted to have something for every possible scenario.

After packing up, we hit the sack, with a not-so terrible wake up call of 5:55am.  I really didn’t sleep well, my nerves were all over the map, and it didn’t help that while chatting over dinner about the race, Jay had put it out there that he thought I would run the race in sub-6 hours.  I had mapped it out as a 7 hour course, and if everything was bang-on, I figured 6:30 would be my best best time. But, I honestly had zero time goals.  I just wanted to make it back to the start alive and well.  The only goal was finishing my first 50.

Before I knew it, morning came, and we were up and out the door in record time, and didn’t forget anything (bonus!).  It was still dark out when we left, but it was soothing to watch the sun come up as we made our way to the start, at Kulshan Campground at Baker Lake.  It took us about an hour to get there.

It was very cold in the morning, so cold that I broke out my 5Peaks gloves from the Buntzen Lake race.  I’m of course rocking my fave gear, as I didn’t want to try anything new for such a long time running.  I’m wearing: Salomon hat, Salomon Shirt, Lululemon Run to Bike Capris, Salomon Wings2, Merrell Socks, Patagonia Underwear, Nike Sports Bra, Salomon Hydration Vest, & Nathan Handheld water bottle.

I was nervous, but I just kept sipping some powerade, remembering to breathe, and to not freak out!

I kept looking around for Tom, a Salomon Flight Crew member, who was the only person I ‘knew’ doing the race.  And by know, I mean, I twitter stalk follow, and see at other local trail races.  Jay and I joked that Tom and I would be the only runners there in Salomon’s, and we were close, there was 1 or 2 other girls in Salomon runners.  There was a tons of their hydration vests being worn, but for some reason, at the US races I’ve been to, there just hasn’t been Salomon Trail Runners.  Given, the trails are much less technical than what we have in Vancouver, but still, Salomon shoes are amazing!!!

Before I knew it, it was time to go!  Still didn’t see Tom!

I knew that the first 3 km was on pavement, and I knew there was some hills in that section.  That’s basically all I knew.

We started off and immediately went up a short hill, across a dam, and up another series of hills.  There was 1 short downhill, and then 1 more uphill to the trailhead.

As we crossed the dam, Tom ran up behind me, and told me I should be going faster since I’d slept in a hotel room the night before!  Him and his buddy took advantage of the free camping right next to the start/finish line, which they said was great, but they froze their butts off.  And apparently slept in too, because the race started as they were leaving their drop bags.  Whoops!

We wished each other a great race, and he took off towards the front of the pack.  I knew I could push myself and be up closer to the front, but it didn’t make any sense, it was going to be a longgggg day.  And at this point, I was still very intimidated by the 50K distance.

I took note of the amount of uphill I’d face coming back, and told myself it was almost all downhill, and that I could cruise control through the final 3km on the way back.

Heading into the trail, I took a quick glance at my watch (I only wore a timex, so all I would have for info was my overall time), and saw that I was a few mins ahead of time.

There was a big group of us, and the trail immediately went into a groomed, rolling, singletrack.  It was a really narrow singletrack, and there was a long line of us jostling for position.

I read race recaps before heading to this race, and they all said the route was rolling.  Which to different people can mean such different things.  The best way I can explain this trail, is that there are no substantial hills, you are almost always going up or down, rarely are you running on flats, but the hills are not steep, and are not long.  It truly is the definition of rolling.  It is continually up, down, up, down, and 98%, if not 100% of the entire route is runnable.  I probably ran 90-95% of this race, and when I did walk it was never for longer than 30-60 seconds at a time.  There were no never ending hills to climb, and if anything I was trying to walk a little bit to give my body a break, or get more calories in.  The closest comparison I personally have, is the lower loop of Buntzen Lake, but Baker Lake is even more runnable, and less technical. 

Back to the race day, we passed over a neat bridge that was about 5 kms into the race (my best guess), and I snapped a quick photo : (ignore my blurry photo!)

This is what majority of the trail looked like, super narrow, super “in the woods”, and nicely groomed, not very technical.

Heading out, we would come around a corner, and all of a sudden, Mt. Baker would just be there.  It was absolutely stunning to see this :

I took the last photo on my way back, as I didn’t want to stop and take photos on the way out, because for almost the whole way out, I had a group of 10-12 people who were staying quite close together, and it was comforting to fall in step with a group, and put the body on cruise control.  There was definitely times where I felt like I was going too fast, or even too slow, but I kept checking in with myself, and I felt pretty good with the pace overall, and really didn’t want to be alone out there.  I know myself, and I know that I’m happier running with someone, then running solo.  I also know that it’s much easier to get down on yourself when you’re alone for a long period of time, and I wanted to avoid that for as long as possible.  I assumed that this race would be very mentally tough, and I was worried about having to dig deep mentally in the first half, and how that would affect me for the rest of the race.

Towards the latter part of the way out, the group spread out, and I found myself alone for a bit, where I snapped this picture :

I continued to check in with myself, and was still feeling good, so I stepped up the pace a bit and caught up with Simone, who I stayed with until the aid station at the halfway point.

Simone is AMAZING!  I actually met her at the Chuckanut 30K, but when we started chatting on the trail, she slipped on a rock face, and injured herself.  She still managed to finish strong, but I didn’t see her the rest of the race.

I recognized her at the start of Baker, partially because she was rocking the same 5Peaks visor as at Chuckanut, which is what made us start chatting in the first place.  Yay 5Peaks love!!

During this race, we started talking again, but this time she kept her full attention on the trail (good move!), she told me about how Baker Lake 2011 was her first 50K, and she had said she wasn’t coming back, but then she felt like she had to come back and defend her title – she won the women’s masters (over 40), last yr in 5:55:37.

She shared with me that she has a daughter my age, AND is a grandma (holy crap – she looks amazing!!), and I shared with her about how amazing my mom was doing in her first yr of road races.  She was pushing the pace a bit high for me in the last 5 km that we were together for, but I stuck it out, and kept with her.

This is where I first started thinking that maybe Jay’s time predictions weren’t so far-out and crazy.  I started thinking that if I could keep pace with Simone, I’d have a good chance of being around the 6 hr mark, barring any disasters.  I still assumed that I’d crash on the way back, knowing that I’d never run for more than 5 hours on trails, never more than 30 kms on trails, and even on roads, I had only ever run 2 marathons, so that last 8 kms was un-chartered territory.  I put all my fears to the back burner, and just focused on keeping a steady strong pace.

Takao Suzuki, the official race photographer volunteer got these 2 great shots of us heading towards the turnaround :

All of his pictures from the race can be found here.

Coming into the aid station turnaround, Jay was right there, and snapped this shot of me. This isn’t a fake smile at this point either.  I came into the aid station at 2:45, and was feeling really really good.  I was happy to see him, I was happy to be half way, I was happy to be ahead of time, and I was happy to be out there on this gorgeous day, running amazing trails, with stunning views.  I was so happy to be there, in this moment.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t left a note with what to bring out of the car, and thinking he was being helpful, he only brought my small bag & stuff out of the cooler, because apparently bringing out a suitcase made no sense to him.  But obviously type-A personality me, had packed 2 pairs of shoes, a change of hat, shirt, socks, and TONS of food options.  I had a banana, watermelon, peanut butter, cooked yams, fruit’n’nut bars, chocolates, chocolate milk, powerade, click powder & almond breeze, yam chips.  I basically wanted to have many many options, just in case I didn’t want anything.  Anyways, good thing the car was close, because I needed that suitcase!!

I decided to change my hat, shirt, and shoes.  I changed into a NorthFace shirt, another Salomon hat, and my Salomon Speedcross3′s.  I should’ve worn my shoes in the opposite order, because the Wings are more cushioned then the Speedcross, and would’ve been better for the second half.  I did enjoy having a change of shoes, but my feet felt good at the turnaround, and the Speedcross didn’t feel as good to change into as expected.

I love this action shot Jay captured of me during my aid stop :

Simone took off back on the trail before I was ready to go, so we parted ways, wishing each other luck.  When I was ready to go a few mins later, Jay encouraged me to go catch her, but she had said she ran a negative split last yr, and I knew that a negative split was very very unlikely for me.  Especially considering I was already ahead of my time predictions.

I tried to get as much food into my body at the turnaround as possible, as I knew I hadn’t taken in enough on the way out.  My game plan was to eat something – a package of Honey Stinger Chews, a Honey Stinger Waffle, or a Fruit’n’Nut ball, every 30-45 minutes.  This was hard to control, because of the rolling-ness of the race, it wasn’t easy to take in calories.  Normally most trail runners eat on climbs, to make sure they can chew and get some fluids in to wash it down.  I had carried my handheld with Powerade in it, and sipped on that on the way out.  I didn’t need the amount of fluids on the way back, but I probably should’ve re-filled my Powerade handheld for the way back – something to remember for the future.

I did make sure that my fruit’n’nut bars were in  my front vest pockets, because they are the easiest for me to get into my mouth and chew on, on the fly.

I spent 7 mins at the turn-around before heading back out on the trail. I managed to drink some chocolate milk, a banana, 1 bite of cooked yams, and I think that was all.  Really doesn’t sound like a lot now.  But, I was feeling quite strong.  Sometimes depending on my food intake, I’ll feel weak during longer runs, but I felt pretty good.

Leaving the aid station I tripped not once, but twice, and made a fool of myself in front of tons of people.  Not sure what I was doing, but I obviously wasn’t quite thinking straight.

Leaving the aid station, the next 3ish kms was hard to get back into a groove.  It was great to see others heading into the aid station, and exchanging good works and whatnot, but I was running solo, and having issues finding my pace.

The next 3 shots, again are Takao Suzuki’s.

I had taken note of 2 places I wanted to take pictures on the way back, and promised myself I would stop, no matter what, or else I’d be regretting it.

My first stop was a photo fail.  I had just passed a slower early starter, and stopped to take this pic :

Unfortunately, my iPhone camera lens was fogged up, and I ended up with this blurry picture.  The man I had just passed was catching up to me, so I hurriedly put my phone away and continued along.  Just because the terrain made it so difficult to pass at times, I didn’t want to interrupt him again.

I continued along by myself, for most of the rest of the race.  I passed a few people, and a few people passed me, but for the most part, nobody was around the same pace as me.  2 girls that I had been with on the way out, until taking off with Simone in the last bit, both passed me in the first 10 kms heading back.  I kept each of them in my sights for a good 10-15 mins, but could never quite catch up.  And I never caught sight of Simone.

My fave shot from my phone :

I definitely felt myself slowing down a bit, and struggling to keep up a steady pace.  I gave myself a few walk breaks on the short uphills, and just kept on pushing.  In the middle of the way back, I ended up running with 2 guys, who were lovely, and it was great to go back on cruise control with them.  I wish we could’ve stayed together the whole way back, but 1 took off ahead of me, and 1 stopped for a pee break.

I still felt pretty good, and knew that the terrain wasn’t getting any more difficult, I knew what I had come out on, and I knew that from the big bridge it was about 2 kms back to the road, and from the road 3 kms back to the finish, with 1 hill.  So, I just focused on getting to that point, and having approx 30-40 mins left to run.

I went through phases of glancing at my watch every 5 minutes and feeling like time was moving so slowly, and then also phases of looking down and being shocked that 20 minutes had gone by.  I just tried to stay positive, and stop looking at my watch.  I tried to just enjoy the beautiful day for what it was, and when I did catch a glance of a runner in front of me, felt buoyed that I wasn’t alone out there, and this naturally fueled my speed, and desire to keep running.

I passed a couple more people, and had 2 more girls pass me.  Overall, I don’t know how many people I passed, especially since some were early starters, and some normal time starters.  I do know that 2 males passed me on the way back (not including Al who ran the way back, after his gf Rita ran the way out), and 4 females passed me.

I later learned that the little blonde that blew past me like I was standing still with maybe 8 km left to go, was actually a volunteer who was convinced to run the race at the last minute – say what??  Yep, Jay said that she was told she wasn’t really needed, and should go do the run.  I think she took it easy on the way out with a friend of hers, and then booked it on the way back, before turning around at the finish to go back and find her friend.  She probably ran 60 km total.  Amazing.  Inspiring.  Awesome.  Another volunteer convinced to run, was wearing jean shorts and loafer like shoes instead of runners – crazy young folk!! 

Back to my race – I basically felt the same the entire way back, I felt myself slowing down, but wasn’t bonking.  I would say that the closest this felt was to my 2nd full marathon, where I spent the last 10 kms slowing down by about 10-20 seconds per km, but never had to walk or completely “bonked” like I did in my first marathon.  In my first marathon I wanted to quit, and didn’t think I could necessarily finish.  It was a terrible sinking feeling, mostly between kms 34-38, where I just felt so weak, and in so much pain, that I just didn’t know if I would in fact finish. Whereas, in my second marathon, I was much better trained, knew what to expect, and eventhough my body started to protest and shut down, I had enough physical and mental composure to keep it together, and finish relatively strong, and achieve my goal – a sub 4 marathon.

In this race, at times I felt myself getting low, felt twinges of pain, and was just plain tired of running, but I never felt like I wanted to quit, or wouldn’t be able to make it to the finish.  It obviously helped having a basic idea of what I had left to run.  I expected the race to be more emotionally trying on the back half, and while I was very happy to see the end of the trailhead, I was almost surprised to get there without having a breakdown.

I was so terrified of this race, of the sheer jump in distance, the overall time on the trails, and my inexperience.  I had worked up this race in my mind, I knew I could get it done, but I just assumed that I would have to fight and claw my way there.  Not to say that I didn’t have to mentally fight myself to stay running, and stay focused, but I didn’t crash and burn like I expected.  I guess that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.  And considering that my husband bet me that I could run sub-6 and was right, maybe I just didn’t realize how much I have prepared for this year, and how ready I actually was.

During the last 2 km from the bridge to the trailhead, Chuck, the guy who stopped to pee, caught up to me, and I tried to hold on and stick with him, but I just didn’t have much left.  The trail was a bit uphill, and I ended up walking in most of the last .5kms to the trailhead.  At the trailhead was a lovely aid station!!  Totally unexpected, but it was great to have that surprise.  At the aid station were 2 kids cheering us on.  I had lost Chuck off in the distance, so I stopped and drank a cup of flat coke.  Oh, it was delicious.  And exactly what I needed.

I took a deeeeep breath, and re-focused on the last portion of the race.

I knew from here on, I had almost all downhill, with 1 hill.  My right knee was starting to hurt me on the downhills (same as it did at the end of my MYM legs), and I was actually not excited for the downhills.  I left the truck aid station at about 5:40 or 5:42, so I knew I had about 18 minutes to come in under 6 hours.  It had taken me about 16-18 mins on the way out, so I figured it would be close.  The hills were in my favor, but my knee pain, and tiredness, obviously weren’t.

As I came around a corner I spotted another runner ahead of me, which is always a pick-me-up, so I pushed to catch and pass him.  In the distance I saw the last girl that had passed me in the last few kms on the trails, but I couldn’t dig up any more speed to catch her.  She ended up finishing 40 seconds ahead of me.

Upon seeing the finishing line, and looking at my watch I thought I could get there in exactly 5:55.  But, my legs didn’t really feel like moving.  I crossed in 5:55:11.

Jay got this shot of me just meters before the finish line.

I tried to do a celebratory jump at the finish, but it just came out looking like a half dead whale trying to bellyflop out of the water.  Not attractive, so I’ll save us both some embarrassment and hit delete instead of post.

Jay had made friends while waiting for me, so as I sat down, I got introduced to a great group of people, including Al & Rita, local organizers of the Lake Padden Trail Half coming up on October 20th.  Little did I know, Jay had basically told them that Cathy & I would totally want to come run their race, just 2 weeks from now!!  Not having a clue how the second half of the race had treated me, or how my recovery would go.  Nothing like a supportive husband.  I’m sure the fact that the after party is held at Boundary Bay Brewery had nothing to do with him wanting us to come down for this event….

Jay then found me my new Salomon sandals, the RX Break, which I recently ordered online after the suggestion from Kent, my blogger/twitter friend over at RunBikeRace, who also just completed his first 50K the weekend before mine!!

As I settled in with my new friends, and my twitter friend Tom, who had come across the finish in 4:40:35, clinching his first ever sub-5 50K and 6th overall!!!  Congrats to you Tom!!!  I’m just sad I don’t have any pictures to share of Tom, because apparently he’s a trail ghost!!  Jay didn’t see him at the turn-around, he’s not in ANY of Takao’s photos, and Jay didn’t see him at the finish either.  TRAIL GHOST!!!  The only way I actually know he ran the race is since I saw him at the start, and he passed me heading back, when I still had at least 4kms to the turn-around.  Next race we run together, I’m going to make it priority A for Jay to catch Tom in action!

After taking off my shoes, drinking some nice cold water, and eating some peanut M&M’s, I had Jay mix me up a CLICK recovery drink.  LOVE.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, and we had a blast just sitting around chatting.  It was thrown out that I should do a little ice bath in close by Baker Lake at the boat ramp, but I hummed and hawed because I hate being cold!

Finally, I decided that it did make sense, and was so warm out, that it probably wouldn’t be so bad.  And honestly, after the initial shock, it was almost heavenly.

This is my fave pic of the entire day.

While in the lake, I met a new friend, Jessica, who recently moved to Bellingham from Texas, and was really a person who I immediately related with.  It was also her first 50, she also was on the wait list and got a surprise when she found out she was officially in, and she is also thinking about the Bellingham Trail Marathon.  She rocked out her first 50K in 6:38:39 – great job!

Oh, and Simone came in at 5:43:48, taking 12 mins off her time from 2011, and re-claiming her master’s womens title – amazing, great job Simone!

Love to meet other amazing women runners!

I also made a new dog friend (shocker), named Juno!  Juno loved to swim, and was such a sweet gorgeous dog.  His owner didn’t even seem to mind that I was saying I was going to smuggle him back across the border with me.  So much love for this dog :

Although this picture didn’t exactly turn out the way I wanted, I had been thinking about this picture during the race, thinking that my beast mode bracelet & Mt Baker would made a great picture, and overall message for this race.

There’s been a lot of discussion about “Beast Mode” recently and the different meanings it has to different runners I know.  I spent some time thinking about it during the run, and I think I’ll have a post about what Beast Mode means to me up shortly.  I’m so proud of my “beasts in training”, especially Nikki from Slow is the New Fast, who almost PR’d in a half marathon this weekend, she was only off by 40 seconds, and this was a week after her last half, with a sick kid, and driving 2 hours to get to the start line.  Major props to this “baby beast” who I know is going to embrace her inner beast, and get that half marathon PR very soon.

Jessica offered to take a picture of Jay & I with Baker in the background.

After changing clothes, obviously using my Chawel, we drove Jessica back to the campground, and headed on our way home.

It took us about 2 hours to get back to the border, we didn’t bother stopping, just chowed down on some leftovers from my aid package.  Mmmm…chocolate milk, chocolates, powerade, and fruit’n’nut bars!  Amazingly, even after eating a ton of those balls, I wasn’t sick of them at all.  Remember, you can find the recipe here.

After getting across the border, we headed for the 1st of 3 family Thanksgiving dinners.  I had a lot to be thankful for this weekend, and just relating to this race – I have to be thankful for my amazing husband & crew member, Jay, and his ability to always accurately predict my race times, as well as his unwavering support, even when I decide last minute to run an ultra marathon in a different country…Also I have to be thankful for my body, and how much sh*t it lets me put it through.  I have to be thankful for my health, and I have to be thankful to have the Beast Mode mentality burned into my brain and personality.  And of course, most importantly, I have to be thankful for all the love and support from my friends and family – not only in real life, but through social media as well.  The well wishes and congratulations really meant so much to me.

My official results : 5:55:11, 9/46 females,  5/7 females 20-29, 28th out of 115 overall  (2:45 out, 7 mins aid, 3:03 back)

Overall, how would I rate this race?

Terrain/Course/Difficulty : A.  A for AMAZING, AWESOME, and ASTOUNDING views!  I loved this course.  The only drawbacks of this route, is that the narrow singletrack can be a bit difficult for passing, and the majority of the views were seen on the way out, and mentally, they’d be better on the way back!  The route is really quite similar in both directions, as to the amount of hills, and so both legs are equally difficult.  This course is deceivingly hard because you don’t have the walk breaks that are common in long trail runs/ultras, so while it can be a faster overall ultra, it’s also an ultra that you have to be prepared to basically run the entire 50kms.  Definitely knowing what the course is like, if I can come back next year, which I 100% will as long as there is no conflicts (might be a family wedding next October), I will run longer trail runs in anticipation, with less technicality, and less uphill climbing, maybe even do like a double loop of Buntzen Lake as a good training run.

Affordability and Value : A+.  This race was free, donations welcomed, and it was put on flawlessly.  There was food at the start/finish, as well as the aid station at half way, and the surprise aid with 3 km left.  There was hot soup at the end, but with it being such a gorgeous hot day, so I didn’t try any.  There were no awards or prizes (oh well), or race swag, other than a plain white bib with a # stamped on and safety pins.  But, really, it’s all we needed.  I would’ve loved something to commemorate my first 50K, so I’ve asked Momma to draw a Baker Lake logo onto my bib.  I personally donated, and I hope all runners did, so that we can keep this race going for many more years.  It’s a race I’m going to recommend to so many people, I honestly loved this race so much.

Organization : A.  Absolutely no issues that I saw or heard about.  I have zero complaints.  Well, I would’ve liked to have received an email letting me know my name had been moved from wait list to entrants list, but I can forgive that.

LOVED THIS RACE!!! 

This race report has taken me forever to write up.  I enjoyed my first 50K so much more than I ever expected to.  I found the course and terrain to be amazing.  I found the people involved to be just awesome.  I know, for a fact, that this won’t be my last ultra.

I had built up this race so big in my head, and I’m so glad I only had 2 weeks to think about it, I think if I had gotten on the entrants list months ago, I would’ve freaked myself out so much, and I probably would not have raced in all the races I did, and had all the successes I’ve had recently.

I was utterly terrified the day before, when packing up the car, because it all became real, and there was no turning back.  I’m proud of myself.  I didn’t let myself get intimidated, I focused on all the positives in my running I’ve had lately, how well my body has been recovering, and just how much I’ve improved, not only in my overall speed, but also in the distances I’ve been able to comfortably run.  Remember, I only ran my first 30km trail run at the end of July.

It’s easy to be so afraid of something that you avoid facing that fear.  It’s easy to think that it’s just too far out of your normal realm.  It’s easy to pass it off as being too hard, or too far, but it’s never too much if you put your mind to it.

This whole no time goals thing has been working out great for me lately, and listening to my body has given me a new appreciation of not only what it’s capable of, but also what it enjoys doing.  I knew I loved trails.  But, I guess I never knew just how much.

I apologize for the length of this post, and if you made it this far, you rock!

xoxo

-S

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24 Responses to Baker Lake 50KM – Race Recap

  1. Simone says:

    Now that is one great race report! And thank you for the kind words. Your company was very much appreciated and you are quite the inspiration my little friend! I’m looking forward to us pacing each other on many more trails in the future.

  2. All I can say is that you are amazing! I’m running my first 10k this weekend and you are a total inspiration to keep pushing myself to run longer distances!

  3. pegsplace says:

    Amazing! What an awesome race report! I loved reading it. You got to run with Simone, a friend of mine! YOU TWO ROCK!

  4. Cori says:

    Great summary of the event. Makes my up coming 1/2 look pretty lame. Are you still out Wednesday night with the group? Good work girl…love your blog! Hugs!

    • Solana says:

      Don’t ever say that any race is lame! Which half are you running?? Come join me for Lake Padden Half, or the Hallow’s Eve Half!!

  5. Pam says:

    Awesome Race Solana! 50 Km you are are a talented runner, I am so impressed by your report and the pictures. Keep them coming.
    Nice one!

    • Solana says:

      Thanks Pam! Don’t worry, all runners love to talk about running, so I won’t stop, especially if you encourage me :P

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  7. Tom says:

    Wicked write up, Twitter Buddy. It’s amazing how similar the experience of ultra racing is for people. At least the inner-monologue and self-chat stuff. That stuff makes or breaks your race. Way to go on completing a long run. Next stop Knee Knacker. No one describes that one as rolling.

    PS The Trail Ghost is in one photo just coming on to the bridge, but I’m way back behind my buddy. He’s better looking though, so that makes sense.

    See you at Hallow’s. I’m not racing, but I’ll certainly vollie.

    • Solana says:

      Oh Trail Ghost, it’s nice to know the inner monologues are the same, just for some people much longer :P See you at Hallow’s!

  8. Here, via the link Bart posted.
    Great recap! I’m doing two marathons this year (did one in May and the NYC marathon on 11/4) and I’ve been thinking of a 50k next year sometime, so I loved reading about your experience.

    Gorgeous pictures!

  9. Cathy says:

    As I’ve said in person-amazing! You did it! I have to say it looks like a lot of fun!

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  11. Cathy says:

    Btw, the kids you passed running in jeans and loafers? They’re running hipsters…

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