Living in Squamish means that I am spoiled with countless trail races to choose from – if not in my own backyard, than either up the road in Whistler or down the road on the North Shore.
Luckily, my running goals for 2017 are all about trails, so this is perfect.
I went into 2016 with absolutely 0 running goals. Actually, that’s not true – I’d signed up for the Whistler Half Marathon 10k route, but I had to transfer my registration because I was out of town working on the Woods Canada campaign. When I returned from that, I ambitiously signed up for 3 races: the Red Bull 400 (because it sounded cool), the Squamish Loggers Day 8k (because it was local, inexpensive, and a totally runnable distance) and the Boundary Bay Marathon (because I was on a roll in signing up for races).
The marathon was not a New Year’s resolution or even a bucket list item – it was just something I decided to try. That ended up being the Great Running Accomplishment of 2016.
Earlier this winter, I made a list of all the trail races I was interested in running. There were many of them, especially in the summer months. After considering my fitness levels, my budget for races, and my ability to recover from other races, I narrowed it down to three: the Loop the Lakes 21k, Helly Hansen’s Comfortably Numb, and the Squamish 50 23k.
Before we discuss each of these, let’s talk specific goals. My main goal doesn’t actually involve doing any running; I want to volunteer for at least one race per month. That gives me the chance to participate in the race buzz, get a feel for the event’s vibe (to see if I want to run it some day), plant some roots in the local running community, and get a few free t-shirts and granola bars.
In terms of racing goals, I’ve never aimed to be the fastest, so I’m not going to start now. My goal is really to get outside, explore the local trails, stay healthy and injury-free, and gain a little confidence on running trails.
On to the races.
This will be my first race of the year, but it’s not until May. I’ve run around Alice Lake a good bit (remember this post I wrote the first time I ran there?) and I absolutely love it. I hope that my sort-of familiarity with the trails helps ease me into the trail racing world.
There are three distances in this race: 8k, 15k, and 21k. I signed up for the 21k. I know it will be a challenge (I think my longest trail run to date was 18.5k – in snow no less), but I figure it’s not much harder to run 21k than it is to run 15k. I hope I’m right.
I’m not sure of the exact elevation but it doesn’t look too bad – two notable ups and the biggest range is from about 100 m to about 400 m.
I haven’t actually registered for this race yet, but I plan on doing so before the price bump on February 1st. I have never run Comfortably Numb and it has always been very daunting for me (just from things I’ve heard from mountain bikers who have a love-hate relationship with it). I am sort of intimidated by it, which is exactly why I want to run this race.
I used to run once a week or so with Lululemon’s run club in Whistler and we often hit the Lost Lake trails. These are (sort of) my old stomping grounds and I anticipate some satisfying feelings of elation once I finish this one – hopefully in one piece. It is somewhat longer than Loop the Lakes – 23+ km (why do they put the plus sign? It makes it scarier!) – but the vertical gain is 800 m, more than double Loop the Lakes. Yikes. Luckily, most of the ascents take place in the first half, so I should be able to survive by just rolling down the trail for the second half.
This one is not until June, so I’ll have a month or so to work on those hills after my first race.
After volunteering at last year’s race, I knew I HAD to run it this year. I’m not quite up for the 50k distance yet (nor the 50 mile distance, nor the combo 50/50 distance), but this one feels like a big, legendary race and I can’t wait to take part of it. Taking place towards the end of August, this will probably be my last race of the season. In all honesty, this is the one I’m looking forward to the most.
This race is notorious for being tricky – even the 23k route has a 1,000 m ascent (but a 1,200 m descent).
In short, I am super excited for my trail running goals. (I may also do the Logger’s Day road race if they are running it – ayooo, pun – again.) I have to admit that everything seems daunting right now – doable, but daunting. I’m not going into these races with any major training plans, but right now I’m aiming for a well-rounded routine that includes:
- 2 longer trail runs per week
- 1 shorter run per week (e.g., running fast on the road or doing hill repeats by myself)
- 2 gym days per week
- 1 yoga per week (at least)
- All the fun activities I can fit in – snowboarding, cross country skiing, hiking, etc.