My first experience at Squak Mt. was “just” a 12K. It was a combination of wanting to start small (although the Half would have been a fine option) and running with friends who were doing their first trail run. Squak was not a good place for a “first” trail run. It was, however, a glorious day with sun and perfect running temperature. It had also been relatively dry leading up to it limiting the amount of mud to just 2-3 “bad” spots.
It starts out with a good uphill on a road before cutting into a flatter section of trail. The trail loops back to the road for some more uphill then back onto the trail again. At this point the trail becomes brutal with a ton of switchbacks and lots of hiking. Back out to the road and up, up, up to the aid station. From the aid station there is a bit more uphill past the radio towers and then back on single-track for a mostly downhill, although surprising bit of uphill just after the peak, race to the finish.
The final few miles were glorious. I’m a huge fan of downhill and like to scream down. I did get passed a few times as I pulled out food and/or waited for friends, but in general I kept my place to the finish. Also wiped out once; no blood but was sore for a mile or two until feeling good again. With a pure downhill finish on a clean gravel path, I flew across the finish line.
Based on Alley Kloba’s results last year of 1:48:57, I expected to be in the 2:04 range as I’m about 10-15% slower than her. My actual time of 1:53:44 was a very pleasant surprise. This placed me 63rd out of 98 finishers (104 overall), 15 out of 29 in the 40-49 age group, and 36 out of 45 Male finishers. I have a half-hearted goal of being in the Top 50% of a race. I’m not sure I’ll get there as I’d have to drop 1 min per mile but you never know.
Great seeing Jerry Gamez, Roger Michel and Eric Sach at the start and on the course saw Kristin Parker (heading out again as I came in to the finish), Leslie Miller (who wasn’t feeling well and ended up bailing at the half), Stephen Ferry, Earl Fenstermacher (who doesn’t know me but I know him), and GW. There were lots more friends on the Full and 50K who I didn’t see; have to go longer next time (although I’m still not overly excited about the 2-loop hilly courses like Squak and Grand Ridge). Paul Nelson was out taking pictures and should have gotten 2 nice ones of me with his new, super-wide lens.
Full Results: Webscorer
Weather and Equipment:
- Weather: 49F at the start to 55F at the finish, mix of clouds and sun
- Shorts, short-sleeve shirt, light vest, Solomon 12 hydration pack. Could have done without the vest once I got going up the hills, although it was nice at the top and coming back down the mountain.
- Fenix 2 GPS watch. What a piece of crap. Froze at 5.6 miles. Lost heartrate, after having it, several miles before. At Gorge Waterfalls 50K (31 miles) it registered 35 miles. It’s going back.
- Pre-race: Half a bagel (160 cal), half a banana (100 cal), protein shake (140 cal) for 400 cal.
- Filled 2 17oz front bottles with water and one Nuun tablet each for total 720mg sodium. Drank 2/3 for 480mg sodium.
- Packed 3 Honey Stinger Chews for 480 calories and 240mg sodium. At 2/3 for 320 cal and 160mg sodium
- Packed 3 gels for 300 cal and 165 sodium. Only had 1 with caffeine w/45 min to go so got 100 cal and 55 sodium
- Grabbed handful of M&Ms for about 100 cal and 15mg sodium
- Totals: 20 oz water, 700mg sodium, 520 cal
- Bit of cheese and crackers: 100 cal
- 1/2 costco muffin: 350 cal
- Multi-grain chips: 200 cal
- handful of M&Ms: 100 cal
- Rest of banana and bagel plus one more bagel: 550
- Total: 1,300 cal
Burned around 1,200-1,400 calories. Need to cut back on the post-race food. 🙂