Squak Mt. 12K

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.

The Squak 12K has 2,400′ of brutal elevation gain:Image

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

Race-day details:

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.

Food:

  • 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

Post race:

  • 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.  🙂

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