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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Race Report: Getting Dirty on Moose Mountain 16k

I love hitting the trails - and I am so so glad I discovered Moose Mountain Trail Race - as it is pure awesome.

Not only is the location amazing - it is one of those small community races that is just the BEST! It isn't easy, not at all, but it is gorgeous and (while I have only done it twice) it is a favourite.

You have a choice of 3 distances - 42, 29 or 16k. I have done the 16k twice...but there is a big badass medal that goes with the 42...tempting - but tough to attain - since the 29 has over 2000metres of elevation gain (16k has 1000metres)!

This report is a tad late ... Race happened Aug 22nd. 
I got up bright and early - though not too bad as the 16k starts at 11 - to head out. Smoothie in hand, tunes a blazing. It's a 40 minute drive from my place!!! I love that is a small community race - you can see from the photos. There's not a lot of "fancy" - not chiptimed - it's small - only 150 runners.  
We (all 50 of us) got our safety talk, a description of the course and the terrain - it has snowed up in the higher elevation the night before - so we were told to expect muck. I believe I said - 'Oh it couldn't be muddier than last year!' And, off we went!
This pic taken by the lovely Heather - does not show the constant climb of the first few Kilometres. But this is the widest and least technical of the entirety of the race. The longer distances started at 8:30am - and by the time the 16k went off we were not even 2k in before the first 29k-ers came barreling in. Those folks were fast and furious. By the time we turned off the main route to take the telephone loop, we were about a kilometer in I was passed by the first marathoner. He was on fire. Then, a couple minutes later (I find it hard to tell time in the bush) the second place runner - my friend Marky from Red Deer came blazing by. These two held their places for the rest of the race. Finishing that grueling marathon in just over 4 hours. Many of the 29k-ers finished their race in 4-5 hours - to give you an idea of the toughness of the mountain trail.

It is somewhat hard to describe the race - it is rough terrain - as in not all nice established path. Sometimes you are not sure if you are going in the right direction and sometimes it is just hard slogging through muck and mud and some big "hills". Yet the profound beauty surrounds you and the air is fresh and you feel so alive. I tried my best to run when I could and walk some of the uphill slopes. And try not to get stuck in the calf deep water. After the first 4 boggy sections there was a definite - oh sod it I am so gonna be filthy and I plowed through puddles like a 5 year old!

The view....hello!!!!
At one point the view was so fab I tried to take a selfie to send to a pal stateside to show her what she was missing...but it doesn't show much except pure exhilaration. 
The view on the 16k is not as grand as the 29k route - but I still like it. Some of the path that is hard to love - its can be rocky, slick, some of the ruts are hard to navigate - but over all it is tough and a damn good run!
I might be slow, but the trail is just so beautiful, and I have learned to love it. And, being at the tail end of the 16k, I could hear marathoners as they would come and pass me. The forth person to pass was the first woman - we hooted and hollered and cheered as she went by me. And, every time a marathoner passed me, my spirits were buoyed and I felt a surge of adrenaline.

 I love how the trail markers demonstrate the rugged nature of this race - another reason it's awesome. You HAVE to pay attention to these puppies! Thing is - you are lost in the forest and just gotta run - it is hard to gauge where you are and how far you have left. I finished the race in about the same time as last year - yet somehow it felt faster and stronger. Oh well, I loved it out there.
And, the volunteers are AWESOME! On the route - the one aid station we had was a couple guys, an ATV and a dog! Seriously - gotta love it.
When I finished Karen's daughter Katie was cheering like mad at the finish, so I high5'd her and got through the finish for a hug with the RD! Then a visit with these lovely ladies.
And afterwards you hang out and eat the BEST homemade soup! Congratulate all the finishers...
Rachel rocked the 29k, Terry killed the 42! It was fun to see others and compare notes.
And admire the dirt accumulated on the trail
It was a glorious day to run - and yes it was muddy, which made for some slick sections.
But man, so fun. And, it was a great run the week before my next trail run.
My soak was long and filthy. I MAY have tossed out a body puff ball after I was finished!

Do you trail run?
Have you hiked or run out in Kananaskis?

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