11 January 2020

Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 15 Mile

Yesss...! My body has been freaking out lately with various issues and ailments so in spite of not being able to run the 50k distance I was hoping to do here when I put the Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival on my calendar a couple of months ago, I'm VERY psyched to run any distance and to feel okay while doing so.

Thanks to Seattle Running Club and Northwest Trail Runs for putting on another awesome edition of this race.

It was a classic Bridle Trails kind of day.

But we, or at least I, actually lucked out! It rained most of the time during the days prior to the race and pretty hard the morning of the race but then about 60 minutes prior to the start it stopped. Nice. And the rain held off for about four hours so while I was running I was only getting wet from below, not from above.

It never fails, I get on these muddy trails and no matter how sloppy the conditions, I find myself hoping and dancing around the puddles. At some point, I become cognizant of how comical this behavior is and I end up entertaining myself by betting on how long I will keep it up before I start charging straight through the puddles. Today this behavior lasted one full lap/five miles.

On a mild summer day, gear is not such a factor. On this day, and especially when it's colder and wet, gear is crucial. I've been a huge fan of Sealskinz socks for a few years now and I just got some extra thin ones so I figured this would be the perfect day to take them for a test drive. Pure. Gold.

Not only are these socks waterproof, but they also stretch, are comfy, and this pair has a silicone-like strip on the inside at the top of the socks which does a super-effective job of sealing them and keeping out the water that runs down your legs. Check out these after shots.

My feet are totally clean!

Since I was running 15 miles I didn't need a vest but I did need a little bit of fuel. I opted for a handheld bottle and some gel. It ended up being perfect.

3, 2, 1, go...!

[photo credit Takao Suzuki]

I rarely run shorter races so had no idea what my pace could or should be. If I had run the 50k distance and if I was 100% I would have tried to go sub 5:00 which means 50-minute laps. I started a little fast just to avoid the congestion at the first hill when the trail gets narrow and finished the first lap in 40 minutes. That might have been a little too fast for me...

Halfway through the first lap, I caught a woman that was running a great pace so I decided to try and stick with her.

[photo credit Takao Suzuki]

It wasn't easy...

As we finished the first lap she accelerated through the start/finish area and I was very happy that I didn't need anything and could follow her.

During the second lap we slowed down just a hair and it was a huge relief. I had been on the edge and this pace felt much better and I was breathing easy again. Whew. I ran the second lap in 43 minutes. While we were running I noticed that this woman had started with a headlamp. I had not. She was also nursing a gel on the 2nd lap. Smart. This meant that when we hit the start/finish (also the aid station) she wouldn't need to stop again. There is a little hill about .25 miles from the finish and I sped up on this climb just a little to try and get a gap - enough time to grab my headlamp and join her again anyway. I spent five seconds max at the aid station, just long enough to ditch my mittens, bottle and grab my light, but when I left the start/finish and could not see her behind me.

I ran the 3rd lap solo and tried to speed up a little. I thought it would be awesome if I could finish in under two hours but I guess that was just a little out of reach for me today. I managed to run the third lap in 41 minutes.

It was fun running in the dark! I had to turn on my headlamp right from the beginning of the third lap and it kept getting darker and darker as I ran. At this point, I was just charging right through the puddles as the trail was less greasy in the water than on the edges of the puddles. Fun! When you're not freezing that is...

This was a "short" race but still a great test of all the gear and nutrition I use. My shoes drained well, my socks were freaking fantastic, and my nutrition was spot on. I'm super grateful for all of my partners and for the well-timed weather window I got to run in. :)

Here are all my pictures.

Nutrition (before)
Nutrition (during)
Nutrition (after)
Here is my Stryd power file.

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