Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Indian Ladder 15k Trail Race

When the email for volunteers came out last year for the Indian Ladder 15k and 3.5 mile race I was eager to meet new people ( though I didn't meet any last year, I did get to stare at attractive shirtless trail running men) and I was injured, so I jumped in and was a course marshall.  The same email came out again this year and I quickly replied that I would happily volunteer.  A week later I decided I wanted to run, since it is a cheap race (20 bucks)  I went for it and shot off an email to the race director offering to still volunteer for the 3.5 mile race if needed. (thankfully I wasn't)

After registering, I had the most jammed pack, fun week I've had all summer. Most nights I was getting home at midnight or later from being with good people and have a blast.  By Sunday morning, I was tired.  I thought about skipping the run but after seeing that  I was in last place on NIKE+ I cut some bread, smothered it in peanut better and left the apartment in the general direction of Thatcher Park. 

I was nervous about this race
I knew that I would be the back of the pack (there were only 149 runners and in my experience it usually means most of them are quite fast).  I was concerned how I would do on trails.  I haven't run on trails since Green Lakes (which was still snow in April)  and  Schodak Island back in March. I have gone hiking recently (Nippletop & Dial and Crane Mtn) but hiking and running are not the same.  So I had a big ole pit in my stomach about this race.   I often have race regret before starting. 

I got to the park about 8:20 which it seemed like everyone was there about the same time. Thankfully picking up my bib was easy & I spent the next 40 minutes sitting in the shade pretending to stretch. The race started right on time and we took off onto the trail.  
the start

The first mile is on a single track, which can be frustrating if you're stuck behind someone or if you're feeling pressured to speed up.  I started off behind "trail beast" (as her shirt said), who was an older woman.  I didn't mind being behind her because it kept me from taking off too quickly.  There were a few bottle necks as people spread out on the course, but by the first mile I certainly had enough space.  
i did eventually pass them both. 

I followed "Trail Beast" for the the first mile and change before surging past her.  There were a handful of people still in my view, but I kept reminding myself to run my own race.  Mile 2 included roughly +285 feet of climbing so it was a bit of an ass kicker.  I did manage to "chick" a guy headed up the hill.  I passed a woman somewhere in that mile also.  The woman that was in front of me missed the trail - I called out to her to have her come back and ended up in front of both of women between mile 3-4.  With no one else in sight in front of me, I pretended that I was leading the race.  It seemed to help my form and morale, even though I knew I'd be coming in almost an hour after the leaders.
i may actually buy this one!

By the second water station I could see a women in all pink.  I would continue to follow her until mile 7 when I finally passed her. At 5.5 Is when I was heading down a lolipop with the faster folks coming back down.  I did my best to stay out of their way and took a few very sloppy steps in mud to give them the right of way down the hill.  At mile 8 I came up to a woman ( I swear there were men somewhere in this race) who was running a bit sideways with mud all over her elbows.  She quickly told me she had fallen and was having the worst run of her life.  I wasn't entirely sure how to respond since I was feeling great and starting to pick up speed.  

I made it down the hill with two runners in my view that I was hoping to take over.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to, but my last mile was my fastest at roughly 10'17". I crossed the finish line at 1:45:24 which is :23 seconds away from my 15k road PR

There are a few things I could have done differently ( I walked roughly 2 minutes during the race - which maybe I would have run slower if I hadn't taken a quick break - or maybe I would have been 30 seconds faster, I'll never know)  But I had such an awesome race.  I never anticipated that my trail pace and my road pace would be similar.

After I finished I had a few snacks and sat and watched the 3.5 race take off. I didn't stay for long before heading out to run a few errands and become reacquainted with my couch.  

I really enjoyed this race and would highly recommend it.  It's cheap, easy to park/get out, and Thatcher Park is beautiful.


  1. Congrats on a great race Christine! You were so close to your road 15K PR. From the recap it really does sound like there were no men to be found on this course.

  2. Wow! I've never done a trail race, sounds like an awesome run! If someone says its their worst race, I usually give them a high five and say "you've got this"!

  3. Looks like it turned out pretty awesome! Thacher Park is beautiful, I'd love to run there!

    1. I highly recommend this race. I am already looking forward to running it again next year!