Chuckanut Mountain, Lake Sammamish, and Hot Chocolate Pacing

Couple of smaller posts that are (or at least started) too small to justify their own posts.

Chuckanut Mountain – A Dear, Distant Friend

On February 11th I ran the Fragrance Lake Half which meanders around Chuckanut Mountain.  I don’t live near Chuckanut and compared to many who live closer I haven’t run on it that much. But I know the trails and I know the beauty of the area.  Running it this time brought back many great, deep feelings that boil down to this:

Chuckanut Mountain is a dear, distant friend.  I appreciate every moment we get to spend together and it warms my heart to meander (I hesitate to say “run” given my speed) along its trails.

I really do love it there that much. The trails are marvelous and varied.  They are challenging. And I’ve finally gotten use to the ridge and passed at least a dozen runners on it at Fragrance Lake, although I continue to hate soul-sucking Cleator with a passion.


Photo Credit: Takao Suzuki

Chuckanut Addendum:

I have run several races on the mountain:

  • 2013 Chuckanut 30K: My first race >25K (seemed like a natural progression). It was billed as “The Chuckanut 50K without the boring parts”, referring to the relatively flat 10K out to the mountain from Fairhaven and then the 10K back. Also my first race getting lost causing me to cut the course by several miles (I somehow went from the ridge down to Lost Lake trail before they naturally run into each other). Realizing that I essentially DQ’d, I climbed Chinscraper and, realizing I had enough time, I went around the Ridge and Lost Lake trails again and completed the race in in about 37K.
  • 2014 Fragrance Lake: I totally forgot I ran this race in 2014.  3:37:48 for a 16:38 pace.
  • 2016 Chuckanut 50K Race (and Training Run): A Pacific NW classic. Honored to have made it in and to have finished it.
  • 2017 Fragrance Lake: 3:53:18 for 17:49 pace, 16 min slower than 3 years before.  However, I’m 30 pounds heavier so I’m still happy (I’m working on getting back down there).

I’ve also volunteered and taken a bunch of pictures there including: Chuckanut 50K several times, Chuckanut Mountain (twice), Bellingham Trail Marathon, and 2016 Fragrance Lake.


Lake Sammamish Half

I ran the Lake Sammamish Half for the second year in a row on Saturday.  Cold but pretty day.  I LOVE the starting line they started last year which is at Redmond Town Center.  Plenty of parking and warm bathrooms.  There’s a little congestion at a bridge over the Sammamish River but otherwise a flat, fast, and occasionally pretty race (lots of fence with peaks of Lake Sammamish until you get to the finish).

I finished in 2:19:24 (10:38/mile), a minute slower than last year, which I still consider a great success since I weight 15 pounds more than last year.  My weight is coming down.  It’s good knowing I can keep this pace up at my current weight and if I can drop down where I want to be (about 35 pounds down from here), I’ll be in good shape for some hard summer races.

Here’s the start with the Seattle Green Lake Running Group (I’m an honorary member since I only get over to Green Lake a few times a year, although that may change now that I work downtown) and the sunny finish.

Pacing the 2017 Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K

For the second year in a row I paced the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K the day after the Lake Sammamish Half.  Not wanting to push things after a hard half, I opt for slower paces and have twice ended up at 15:00.  It’s an annoying pace in that it’s a really fast walk or a really, really slow jog (and if you jog at that pace the runners around you get mad) but it’s nice to not push it two days in a row.

I love pacing because I get to hang out with fun people who are trying to do something amazing, race at a pace that they otherwise couldn’t achieve. It’s usually slower than my normal pace (in this case MUCH slower) so you have time (and breath) to chat w/everyone and cheer them on.  This year had a lot of fun dancing to the music at the Start, high-fives on out-n-backs (Made sure to not use that hand for eating until I washed it. Ew.), and cheering on runners, pacers, volunteers, police, and staff.  It’s a blast.

But the most touching moment was from a comment that I received on my Strava Activity from the race, left by one of the runners who I met before the start:

“This is super random, but thank you for being such an amazing Pace Runner this morning. This was the first 15K my friend and I have done and your enthusiasm and kind words in the starting corral seriously helped us shake some pre-race jitters and stress.”

Aw shucks.  That makes it all worthwhile right there.  I hope all pacers were blessed with similarly appreciative runners.

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