Friday, 21 June 2013

5 Peaks Alice Lake Anniversary

This race marked it ladies and gentlemen: the one year anniversary of my racing career! The 5 Peaks Alice Lake 2012 race was the first trail race I ever ran and what can I say? It sparked something special in me! The amazing people, joking with them on the course, feeling the burn of my muscles, the sweat pouring off my body, the smile stretching across my face, the hit of adrenaline, and getting lost in the incredible scenery and scent of the forest!!! I knew I'd come across something special! Surprising myself with a decent placing I started to wonder how I would have done if I had actually cranked it out the whole time instead of chatting. But regardless if the placing it was the joy and love if it that made me want to come back for more!! I have to give a BIG thanks here to all my friends and supports from the 2012 Kintec Trail Running Clinic who not only encouraged me to try a race, but also informed me that trail races existed!! Also BIG BIG thanks to my best friend Lauren without whom it wouldn't have been possible to get to the race as she volunteered to drive me the night before when I was out if luck with no ride!

Anyways, since I've found this passion I've been racing for a year and loving every minute of it! Even when Im about to cry or puke, I still love it! It's the best personal challenge and reward I can relish in as it gives me the feeling of flying and connectedness. 

This year I was fortunate enough to be able to race it just a week after placing 3rd in the 2013 National Mountain Running Championships! Joel and I were able to do a bit of a preview of the gorgeous beginning and end if the course in which we both got lost and absorbed into the natural beauty if the area! Lush green mossy trees, stunning lakes and happy campers all mixed with not only the sweet smell of the forest but also campfire! Yum!! We got there a bit early for a quick warm up and hoped it wouldn't rain too much on us as it was sprinkling lightly. I was pleasantly surprised to run into Adam Campbell and knew it was going to be a fast race once I saw him, Chessa, Laura, Jason, and Mike Murphy! Lining up at the start line with such amazing runners is an incredible feeling! On the count down from Chris Colpitts, we were off!! And boy were we off! We hit the ground running and the leaders pulled off quick! Supporting campers cheered us on and soon we hit the trails! 

After a gradually undulating start to the course if which I remembered from last year we started hitting some tougher terrain and I was feeling it. My legs felt absolutely weighted down and I began to feel those nagging thoughts come creeping into my mind that maybe 'I wasn't recovered from racing last week' ' maybe I shouldn't have ran 40km in the two days after my race' and finally 'maybe this just wasn't my race'. I struggled through this onslaught and keep pushing even though it felt a bit hopeless having to power hike smaller hills than I am used to and getting passed here and there. Laura and Tara passed me as they powered up hills and the feelings continued. 

But then it switched!!! We hit the technical downhill segment and my wings grew back! Fast feet flying down dry dusty dirt and dodging trees, roots, rocks, and other innocent runners..?! My time to shine and smile big as I hoped I didn't eat dirt! Loving every minute if it I made some important passes and time! 
Photo Courtesy of Rob Shaer

Once that was rocked I knew we had sone brutal uphill climb waiting for us and soon downshifted to make the ascent! About halfway up the first climb I heard the best voice of encouragement, Joel's! After an amazing comeback he powered up the hills in no time making tons of passes. For me, I continued my race by runnin any bit deemed efficient and kept Laura and Joel in my target as I hunted for the finish line! 

Flying down the gravel road I gained in the strong and great runner Laura and knew I had to push hard to beat her! It was neck and neck til the last stretch where I pulled ahead and crossed that Finish line a few seconds behind Joel (just like how we met at a trail race)! Yeeees!!

This race proven to be a big challenge mentally as well as physically and it reminded me of the strength and determination it takes any runner to run. You need to keep your head up and never forget to smile. It might be hard, it might seem impossible but you have to remind yourself that so much of the sweetness of the reward is stemmed from overcoming adversity and growing as a person. 

Many many thanks to the amazing organizers, Jen Segger for the amazing course, Chris Colpitts, Rob Shaer for the amazing pictures and all the lovely volunteers! It was so great to meet even more if our amazing running community and the quality people in it!!!

Result wise I came third in my age category cutting several minutes off my time last year and am very pleased with that placing! My friends has great results too and I'm sure everyone who was there can't wait for the next race!

Running, especially trail running, makes me "happy, happy, happy!" (Sy from Duck Dynasty) :) 

Love always,
Shanny

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