Carkeek 12hr race report

I don’t even know where to start with this race.  Its such a great time.  Now, most people might be scared off from running a 1.93mile loop for 12 hours, but you shouldn’t knock it until you try it!  Now I am the girl that refuses to run races that are loops… but thats only if those loops are big loops.  I’m okay with the little ones.

Vancouver -> Seattle.  I drove down to Seattle after class on Friday.  Traffic was actually really great for once and I arrived at my friend Stuarts by a reasonable 8pm.  His roommates and him fed me a delicious dinner of soup and slaw, I got my things in order and headed off to sleep.  It was a pretty choppy sleep, but that is to be expected for me right before a race.

Race day!  

Stuarts house -> Carkeek park.  Luckily he lives 2.5 miles away from Carkeek!  It made it a nice and short drive there at 5:20am.  I followed him there, checked in, got changed into my costume and anxiously awaited the go command.  There I trod, off into the trails in the dark, as a train goes past, in a long blonde wig, fishnets and a jean jacket.  Half way through that lap I am united with Gretchen in her bacon/angel/bunny costume (what?) and enjoy a loop with her and Kim.  Stuart is waiting at the start and gives me a big high five before we start off on lap 2.  I stayed with the girls through this lap as well, it was a great way to start the day in the dark on the new to me trails.

After a couple laps the sun began to rise, and the rain began to pick up.  I was still running in the full costume, waiting until Glen was out to take photos.  Eventually he was out and snapped some photos and I then removed most of the costume after about 20km.  I have to say fishnets and jean jackets aren’t the most comfortable thing to be running in.  I’m by myself at this point, listening to podcasts and happily plodding around in the forest.  The loops aren’t bad they are hilly and technical enough to be engaging.

Robin Sparkles – Photo by Glen Tachiyama

Around 27km my knee started to hurt.  I’ve been having tracking issues with my knee cap and while its getting better its still hurting after a bit of distance.  So from then on I was reduced to a walk.  This was hard for me.  I had an insane amount of energy in the tank, everything else on me felt really great but this tiny 2 inch section below my knee was excruciating if I tried to run.  So I trudged on, staying out of pain as per my coach and physiotherapists request.  I took every slow step and agonizing mental pain as training for longer distances where its a such a mental battle.  At some point Stuart and his girlfriend came and dropped me off medical tape, doughnuts and a large peppermint tea.  I definitely did a loop while drinking the tea, it was glorious.

Soggy wet on loop… who knows!

After 15 loops of the 1.93 mile course, I was almost ready to call it quits because of my knee, the rolling of the course made it really hard to continue due to pain.  I was happy with that distance I had gone, but then decided to hop onto the short one with a bit of gentle coaxing from Matt.  I believe it was .58 miles.  I’m happy I did this because it put me over my goal of completing my 4th 50km.  The short course pretty much just went straight up and down, but since it kind of had stairs on the descent it was easy for me to descend without pain… because of this I ended up doing 7 little loops, and 15 big loops.

This race is special.  Matt and Kerri are amazing, and their races are fundraisers for the trails.  They have a low key atmosphere, potluck aid stations (the best) and the laps are kept of by stickers on bright colourful poster board.  They’ll encourage you to keep going, but be understanding when you want to stop.
The bibs are decorated by hand, the raffle prizes are funny (I won a copy of beetlejuice) and the metal is a ring pop on a piece of plastic string.  It is because of these special little things that I will keep on coming back to this event and any other that I can in the future.  I am excited to see what I can do next year with a healthy body.

Hand decorated bibs and ring pop medal!

Carkeek 12hr definitely gets a 10/10 in my books.

A total of 53.53km and an elevation gain of 2222m.  I am extremely proud of myself for getting this far with how I’ve been feeling the weeks leading up with all of the knee issues.   I am realizing now I pushed myself a bit over the edge for completing that distance, but I am optimistic in my recovery process because I have a great team standing behind me.  The way the rest of my body and mind felt during this run makes me less worried about my 100k other than the knee things.  However, I will be off running until the 16th of November, but it gives me time to decrease inflammation and start incorporating more focused strength training to help the muscle imbalances in my right leg.

Next up…

Black Canyon as I had to drop Deception Pass due to my knee. Fingers are crossed I can rehab it in time!!!




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