Baker Lake 50k Race Report – Jeff K

Race: Baker Lake 50K

Date: 10/7/17

Runner: Jeff K

Location: Concrete, WA

Results:  4:47:22, 12th place out of 159

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

  • It’s a smaller race without a lot of hype
  • The course does not have a lot of vertical so you don’t get killed by relentless climbing, but it still feels challenging, and rewarding to finish
  • The organizers really do a nice job putting it on. They have a really nice post-race party.

Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

  • Kind of far from Seattle. if you live in Seattle, there is always bad traffic on I5 south and seems to take twice as long to get home.
  • It is an out and back course on the same trail. I prefer loops where you don’t have to pass a bunch of runners going the other direction, but it doesn’t keep me from going back again.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
You think you are having a great race on the out portion. Then you head back on the same trail and it feels a lot harder than the out.

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular

  • This was my third year in a row running Baker Lake.
  • My race kit consisted of: 1 20oz handheld bottle loaded with water and a tailwind pack, Salomon EXO running shorts, a basic running t shirt, a waist pack containing 3 shot block packs and a gel, trucker style running hat, Hoka Challenger shoes, and Feetures socks.
  • There isn’t a lot of fanfare at the start. We lined up in the road and Terry does a countdown to ready set go.
  • Running on the outbound trail went well and I didn’t feel like I was pushing it too hard. There is an unmanned water stop at mile 5.5 and I just ran past it without stopping.
  • Since I brought food with me, I didn’t need to spend that much time at the big aid station at the turnaround. When I rolled In I simply said “just need a water refill and I’ll be on my way’ and “thank you” of course.
  • Running back went about 12 minutes slower even though I tried my best to stay even. I did stop at the water station as my bottle was pretty close to empty.
  • In previous Baker Lakes, I had a hard time with those last 5 miles on the trail, but this time It went better and I was still feeling strong from the water stop to the finish.
  • Overall I was super happy that my hamstring injury from a couple weeks ago didn’t flare up, so it was a good sign that taking off nearly a week from running completely really helped, and I didn’t feel like taking off the time caused any setbacks.

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

  • The aid station placement on this race can be challenging. If you run with a vest with two bottles or soft flasks, you should have enough water to get from the turnaround back to the water station which is a 10 mile distance. If you have a single hand held, you might run out, so plan for that.
  • There is a risk of tripping and falling on this course because there are rocks and holes in the dirt. I would highly advise against being on autopilot like a road run.
  • There are a lot of up and down and twist and turns in this race. I think that the longest section you could see off in the distance would only be about 40 or 50 yards. I would describe it as something like Skookum Flats, or the Ft. Ebey Kettles trails. If you are looking to really race this, I would practice on something similar.
  • Weather will be cool starting off and usually be really nice for running, you don’t need to plan for heat like you would for something like White River.
  • There are some small creek crossings but no mud, you could easily run this race in road shoes

Course Aesthetics

Its mostly a woodland course with old growth trees with constant views of Baker Lake. There are a couple places where the views of the lake are beautiful but you can’t notice it much unless you stop because I’d be worried about tripping on a rock or something.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
If you feel yourself really pushing it on the out leg, like trying to keep up with a group, or trying to prevent someone from catching you, its probably best to let them go and save it for the return.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Stay alert for trips and falls. But the trail itself is totally runnable.

You get Finisher medals (but they are the same ones every year ☺ )

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
Five out of Five. Definitely. I highly recommend running it.