This is the first of my “trail race each month” goal for this year. I ran the half marathon at this event years ago when the trails were full of shin-high standing water. This winter has been dryer and the park was in excellent condition.
- What? Frost Eagle Trail Run
- Where? Sammamish, WA
- When? January 19, 2019
- How far? 5.06 miles (450 ft elevation gain)
- Results: 39:33 (18th overall, 16th male)
I haven’t been running consistently enough yet to know how fast I could run. I didn’t have any specific goals going into the race except to run hard and have fun. Once the race got going, I realized that sub-40:00 was possible and that became the goal. My splits had me falling behind pace but my watch was under-measuring the distance (which often happens on trails). I was going faster than I thought and finished 27 seconds under 40 minutes.
There are only a few parking spots at the trailhead, which are reserved for car pools. I parked almost a mile away, providing a good brisk warmup walk. After the quick registration, I had an extra 15 minutes before the start so I walked a bit more to stay warm. There was a tarp for bags allowing me to keep my pants and jacket on until right before the start.
The course is a figure eight, with the first section on the wide path that splits the middle of the park. It’s a great opening to allow people to get situated before entering the narrow, single track trails. It’s also downhill making it easy to go too fast. I avoided that temptation, but it provided plenty of people ahead of me to focus on running down.
Once we turned off the wide trail and onto the single track, I tried to keep moving up through the pack. I noticed that I generally kept pace with those in front of me on flat sections and gained ground on both uphills and downhills. I’ve been trying to focus on hills in my training, so this was good validation of my efforts. Nobody passed me in the last 4 miles of the race. The last mile I pushed and finished strong, including passing 4 people in the last quarter mile. It felt really good to run fast.
I spent the afternoon and evening wine tasting with friends, so I had to leave immediately after I finished. I had a mile walk back to my car, which I treated as my cooldown. I should’ve done some stretching/yoga/foam rolling when I got home, because I ended up with a sore left calf for a couple of weeks following the race.