Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baker Lake 50k

Tough year for me at the Baker Lake 50k. I sort of expected as much. I just got back from Nepal, after a 36 hour series of flights, including a 15 hour flight from New Delhi to Chicago over the North Pole. Ordinarily, I would not have tried to run a 50k so soon, but this is Baker Lake, my personal favorite. I figured it’d be a bit of an experiment, and was sort of looking forward to the unique challenge my circumstances presented.

I was hoping trekking in Nepal might help in preparation—the high altitude acclimation, the hours on the feet, bit of weight loss. As it turned out, the experiment failed. Jet lag, the scratchy throat and fever, and maybe the lack of recent running experience trumped. Turns out running with serious jet lag, on a 12 hour time difference, is silly. Live and learn.

Things actually went pretty well going out. The trail is quite familiar, with single track, old growth, and views of Baker Lake. I was breathing a bit hard, but stayed steady within sight of a group of friend runners. I made the turnaround point in about three hours, which is pretty typical for me.

Unfortunately, the legs fell off on the way back. Sent to the chop shop. They locked up with lactic acid, to the point that I couldn’t run. At all. Cramping, severe dehydration and tightness. I can’t remember a bigger crash in a race. I was resigned to walking great portions of the trail.

The trail seemed to go on forever. I just tried to make “relentless forward progress,” as they say. I went from shooting for a reasonable finish time to just longing for soup at the finish. An increase in rainfall on the way back made things all the more fun. I was a wreck at the finish, but was greeted by friends, soup, and hearty campfire.

I love this race. Amongst other things, it signals the real start of fall for me. At only an hour away from home, I typically run it, and then come home for hot drinks, pizza, and football. My time this year was disappointing, but I won’t read too much into that, especially considering I was fine going out.

Great to see so many friends out there. Some running a 50k for their first time, or maybe for the first time in a long time; others knocking out yet another year on the Baker Lake trail. Special congrats to Charlie for setting a course record with the win. Good times driving to and from the race with Rich and Cosmo. And of course, thanks to RDs Dave and Jeanette for doing such a great job in putting on such a great "grassroots" event.

Overcast day with rain in the afternoon--good running conditions

Co-RD Dave Dutton


Mike said...

Man, you like to make things tough! I'm dying to hear more about your Annapurna trip!

Seth Wolpin said...

Woah! I can't believe you ran it! I also thought doing the circuit would keep me conditioned for running but my brief (nothing close to 50k) experiments since getting back have found me weak and wobbly. Congrats on getting through it! I'm looking forward to your circuit write-up. Working on my own but it will be brief. Hope you are settling it ok. It was great to travel with you :)

Scotty said...

Great trekking with you too Seth!! Yeah, on paper, Baker Lake didn't make a lot of sense, but I like to do it every year, and every year seems to have a different challenge. I'm looking forward to writing up Annapurna, but it might be a week, as I only yesterday uploaded photos, and I'm sorting through those first. Amazing trip!!