Race: Run with the Kokanee 10k (Northwest Trail Runs)

Runner: Matthew Pawelski

Race Date: 10/17/2020

Location: Lake Sammamish State Park – Sunset Beach

Results: 56:00 (6.75 miles because I missed a turn)

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/4207702362

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Good social distance setup. Staggered starts, simple policy about face coverings.
  2. I like the mixture of paved with trail. The trail was muddy and grassy at times, but the 2/3s on pavement meant I could get moving.
  3. This supports education and efforts to restore an endangered species of salmon: The Kokanee. One of their primary tenets is educating fisherman on how to identify and properly release Kokanee salmon. I’ve been fishing lately and wouldn’t want to harm an endangered species so this was cool to be a part of!

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

  1. Would prefer Gatorade over water at the aid station.
  2. It was a bit rainy!
  3. I mean, I’m happy to have had ANY race since the pandemic, but obviously I wish we could have celebrated properly afterward

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Trying to manage a face mask while running. By mile 3 it felt like waterboarding myself and despite my thin buff from Run the Rock 50 miler last year, I really cannot breathe at all once it’s all wet.

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

Pre-race prep and warmup. I was really cognizant about eating early and easy energy food the night before: Mod Pizza, bread and some greens. I also made sure to go to bed early. Then in the morning I timed my warm up to practically end right as the race was starting. Did a lot of butt kicks, high knees, side to sides and some strides. Got me flowing and I hit the first couple miles feeling good. Really good benchmark workout for me to see where I’m at, gauge training needs and set the bar for near term improvements.

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

You may not want to plan a P.R. for this race for a couple reasons. Yes it is flat, but it is also likely to be slick and densely populated (see below about course-specific knowledge).

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

The prep was worth it. I should have eaten a light breakfast though.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

If the course is unaltered (this is the 9th year of this race) expect the last mile of the 5k loop to be on trail and this time of year likely to be slick. It’s along Tibbetts and Issaquah Creeks, so recent rains will soak the plains pretty badly. I didn’t feel comfortable going all out how I may have at the end of a race like this. I think miles 2 and 4 would be the “go hard” times because unless you’re really good on slick terrain, liable to take a spill.

Finally, because this is a fun run with walking and family friendliness (which is great!) you are likely to be slowed by folks with children and pets along the course. This is a very popular park, even in the early morning hours.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, Lake Sammamish State Park is very nice and the water is soothing.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No it is mostly flat and 2/3 on pavement. I wore my road running shoes, though the traction from trail shoes would have been nice on the grassy and muddy parts. I’d still run it with my roadies though because of the 2/3 on pavement. Lighter and faster (Altra Paradigm 4.5)

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Well-oiled. The social distance stuff was done well and the staggered starts made a big difference. Enough competition but felt like I was running alone for a lot of it.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There were some fast folks who went off on the “Elite Wave” and there were more than a handful. I haven’t reviewed official results yet though.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nope, but apparently the shirt sizes become limited as the race date approaches.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Standard fare for a NW Trail Runs event. Healthy stuff, candy and water 🙂 The usual BBQ and brews is off this year, of course.

Weather and typical race conditions

October in the Pacific Northwest. Wet, slick and gloomy. Though we did get some sunshine. This time of year is variable in my experience here.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Just the trail vs. road shoe comment above. I don’t think it matter that much but the traction is only going to help you on 1/3 of the race.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yep. Open public park, even on the course. I went to go find my fiance afterwards and didn’t bother anyone really.

How’s the Swag?

The shirt is fantastic and there is a participant raffle usually.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

It’s hard to fault this one since its the only race I completed this year so 5 starts. Given the options of other usual fall runs, I would be more inclined to do distance or an exclusively “all trail” or “all pavement” run. However, my target was to get a superb tempo-like workout to pair with a subsequent long run for 50k training, and it fit the bill nicely.

run with the kokanee 1ok