Last Saturday, my husband and I were up early to head up to Squamish for 5 Peaks Alice Lake. It was a grey and drizzly morning, perfect for an awesome trail race! We chose to participate in the Enduro distance which features a stout 1300feet of climbing and descent in just 11km, with the majority of that coming at you in the second half of the run.
I know 350m doesn’t sound like a huge gain, but it was all at once and it was all in the last 1/3 of the race, just waiting for tired legs. I’m sure the elite runners powered right up the steep climb but the rest of us came to a slow hike as we all made our way up the mountain. I was really slow on the climb and definitely had jello legs as I tried to get moving again at the end of the climb. Thankfully, there was a long downhill portion to recover on before the last sprint to the finish around Alice Lake.
In addition to the big climb there was also long, technical, single-track descent which was most certainly my weakness in the race. I’m such a big baby! I had to move to the side frequently to let the speed demons by. It was rocky and rooty, with some steep areas requiring a little fancy footwork or a lot of nerves! I know I lost a lot of time in this portion of the race.
I’ve ran a few 5 Peaks events before and they’re a lot of fun. They’re smaller races, typically with under 500 people registered. In our Enduro event, there were only 220 people, most of them dedicated trail runners. It’s a great crowd and everyone is super friendly making for a great racing atmosphere. The course is really beautiful, although there aren’t any views to take in, the course winds through a quiet and peaceful forest. Aside from the downhill portion, most of the route is wide enough for passing without any trouble.
As far as fueling up, I had a venti coffee and banana two hours before the start and then a date and some cashews about 30 minutes before the start. I did get really thirsty on the course and wish I’d brought some water, there was only one water station and it was pre-350m climb. Actually I was so thirsty I stopped at a water fountain as we rounded the last portion of the course to the finish line! Of course, we fixed that problem with a few post-race beers back in Vancouver 🙂
I finished the race with a time of 1:25:16, placing 167 out of 220 overall and 19 out of 33 in my age group, making it my worst placing of any race I’ve ever done! I’m not too worried about it though, I thoroughly enjoyed the race and wasn’t really going full tilt. I think I got it in my head to save my legs for the climb and saved them a little too much during the first 2/3rds. It’s all good though, I loved the race and loved running it with my husband. I’m so proud of him completing his first race of any kind ever! (I should mention that he beat me by 3 minutes…). He really enjoyed it too and we’re both looking forward to 5 Peaks Buntzen Lake in September. Next up, Tough Mudder baby!