Monday, November 5, 2012

The North Face Dirty Feet Tunnel Run

After a two-month hiatus from racing (thanks to my DNF at Flagline), I was itching to pin on a race number and find a starting line somewhere. Fortunately, I didn't have to look far as there happened to be a race taking place just a few miles down the road from my house. The North Face Dirty Feet Tunnel Run proved to be the perfect fix for my race withdrawal.

A straightforward out-and-back 20km course along the stunningly beautiful Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) trail that rises above Okanagan Lake, offering spectacular views of the valley. With a gentle 2-3% grade and a hard-packed mixed gravel surface, it's really more road than trail but who really cares.

Having participated in a Dirty Feet race in Kelowna last year, I knew it was going to be fun and well organized (two things I look for in an event) and I wasn't disappointed. The course was ridiculously well marked (and re-marked the morning of after 3kms of flagging went "missing" overnight!?), there were happy, smiling runners and volunteers everywhere and the post-race refreshments included a vat of hot veggie soup. And there were tons of draw prizes. What more could you want?

The race was split between solo racers and relay teams (two runners x 10km) and there were about 120 participants. It was a mass start but because the trail is wide and there weren't hordes of runners, elbow room wasn't an issue. I ran near the front for most of the race and tried to keep the top two men in sight. I lost a bit of time on them at the halfway point but was able to maintain my third place position and finish in 1:27 as the top woman. Full results are available here.

It was a good day to be hanging out with some new and long lost runner friends. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with more runner friends at the Bellingham Trail Marathon next weekend (which I'm doing strictly as a training run as I don't want to jeopardize my build up for TNF San Francisco...or piss off my coach - ha, ha!).

So for this race, I wore:

  • Brooks Pure Grits (my new fav "go to" race shoe for shorter distances)
  • old New Balance split shorts
  • new SmartWool tee
  • mid-weight Injinji toesocks
I also carried an Ultimate Direction handheld bottle with water to wash down a couple of gels during the race.