Squish. Squelch. Schloop. Slurp. Schloop. Slurp. Squish. Squelch. Slurp. Slide. Slide. Whoa! Woohoo!
Those were the most common sounds heard on the trail around Hagg Lake yesterday morning when I ran my very first 25K trail race, the Hagg Lake 25K, also known as the Hagg Lake Mud Run. Prior to the race, I dismissed the “mud” in Mud Run. I figured I could handle a little mud. Let’s just say I have a new appreciation for running in, on, through and with mud.
Hagg Lake was ridiculously fun and like no other trail I’ve ever run! Lucky for me, it was a “dry” day. I cannot even imagine what a wet day would be like.
The course started with a 1.5 mile out and back on road before we hit the single track trail and started the loop around the lake. There were a few brief stretches of road now and then, which offered me a nice break from the mainly muddy single track course.
The mud was slick, squishy, clay-like and ankle deep in parts. At times I was glissading down small hills, and at other times it felt like I was running with ankle weights, because the mud was so thickly caked on the bottoms, sides and tops of my shoes. Running up a small hill required a thousand quick, little steps, otherwise I would have lost traction and slid down backwards, like some other runners were doing! I had no idea how much more effort, energy, focus and balance it would take to run this course as compared to the trails I run every day!
I ran with Fred, who was recovering from bronchitis, so we took it pretty easy during the first half. We were able to maintain our pace and even pick it up and pass some people during the 2nd half. We ended up passing about 30 people in the 2nd half, which is pretty cool to think about, and we finished in 2:50. I definitely could have pushed harder in parts and probably could have finished faster; however, my main goal was to simply finish the race, and do so without losing a shoe. I felt pretty strong for most of it, though the mud added a level of difficulty to the run and I definitely felt tired and drained by the end.
While running the race, I figured this would be the only year I would run Hagg Lake. If this was a “dry” year, the thought of running the course in a “wet” year was a bit daunting. However, the race directors were fantastic, the race was very well organized, the rolling course was beautiful, and there was such a positive, joyful attitude out there with the other runners. The experience was a challenging but fun adventure, and I was so happy to be out there partaking in the adventure.
So this morning, as I was completing the post-race survey, I found myself signing up for the raffle to win a free entry into next year’s race. Because honestly, what better way to kick off a season of trail running than by playing in the mud with other enthusiastic and adventurous runners.
25K down. Next up: Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 Miler in April!