16k GutBuster Roller Coaster

Today I ran and walked my longest GutBuster ever! 16k up and down and all around Heart Lake and Holland Creek in Ladysmith. Was it fun? Was it hard and a good challenge for me? Would I do it again? Yes to all.

We started at 10:00am and I was near the back of the pack. I was good with that because I knew I would need energy for the climb and I didn’t need to get caught up in the wave of runners. I was there to run my run and I didn’t know what the course was like since I had never done it before.

View of the water at Transfer Beach Park
Transfer Beach Park

We left Transfer Beach Park, where the race started and we headed through a pedestrian tunnel. As we turned the corner we were hit with our first wall…I mean hill. And calling it a hill seems wrong because it was like a mountain with a  subdivision around it. It just went straight up. I had just started the race so I was still up for running this part. My legs weren’t dying yet.

At the 2k mark we headed through the trails at Holland Creek. I felt like I was running around Thetis Lake. It wasn’t bad. There were some stairs that we had to go up and down but if the course was going to be this way I was laughing. Not that it wasn’t hard but I knew I could run 16k on that type of trail. I had heard though from others at the race before the start, that It would be that way. There were some people around me at this point and after a bit I passed them and never saw them again.

For most of the race I ran solo. I could see two men ahead of me until I reached the 5k mark where the long and the short course (9K) parted ways but it wasn’t until the big climb that I saw a girl a bit in front of me. A guy around the 7k mark had stopped and as I passed him he asked me if I was doing the long or the short course? I told him the long one and that the short course went in the other direction back by the water station. He turned around and headed back down the hill. Poor guy. I think if I was him I would have just kept going up.

For me there wasn’t a lot of running happening at this point and just a lot of walking up the mountain. It was a great day for a run/walk even though I am not a fan of running in warm temperatures. I think it was about 25 degrees but thankfully most of the area we ran was shady.

Once I reached the top I ran along a logging road for a few kilometers. It was nice to just have flat with a  bit of rolling hills. Then the decent came up and it was steep. About half way down a lady passed me and she was giving it and doing great. I gave it but I was also a bit more cautious because I knew that my legs were tired and all it took was one misplaced foot and I could be down. I am happy though for the trail shoes that I have because they are good at supporting my ankles and also gripping the dirt.

Done the run!
Done the run!

At the 12k mark there were volunteers with water and I was very happy to see them. I didn’t carry water with me while I ran because I don’t like to carry a bottle in my hand. I find it cumbersome and since I knew there would be water on the course it gave me something to look forward to. I stopped and drank the full small glass they gave. Typically when racing I don’t slow down very much when I get the water but today it was worth the full stop.

We soon hit flatter trail, again like Thetis Lake trail and I could see more people in front of me.  I was gaining on the girl who passed me and that felt good. I still had something in those tired legs. We rounded a corner and were back at the start of where we entered the Holland Creek trail. It was just down the ‘mountain’ that we first climbed and around the bend to the finish. YAY! I gave it my all.

I crossed at 1:39:50 and was hot and ready for more water. I was happy with my run and felt good about it. I loved exploring the new area and look forward to going back and taking Warren on a run/hike there sometime soon this summer. I know he will love it.

The top seven women of this race were all in my age group 30-39 and next up was the 40-49 age category taking the last 3 spots I think. Great job to all the men and women who ran today! And thank you very much to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped make this run a success.

Chilling at the park
Chilling at the park

After the run I decided to just chill in the park and enjoy some downtime before heading home.

What was the last thing you did that challenged you? Do you have a challenge you are preparing for?

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