Capt’n Karl’s The Lake 60k Race Report

I didn’t have my blog before this race, so I figured I’d go ahead and my race report for it.

Cliff Notes version: DNF

Unabridged version:

I’ve decided to start keeping race reports from my races, if only for my own personal benefit. So, what follows is my (lengthy) account of the race (attempt) this past weekend.

I decided to sign up for the 3 60k night-time trail races in the Capt’n Karl’s series because I was advancing in my training, and I wanted a challenge (The shirt from the race appropriately says “Those who don’t take a chance, won’t get a chance.”). The first challenge was The Lake, at Ink’s Lake State Park in Burnet, Tx. The most scenic and beautiful trail in my year of trail running, and as I soon remembered, quite technical. I had done the 30k the year before, which at the time, was the longest distance, and the second trail race I had done.

I got to the race an hour or so before, checked in, and found myself with plenty of time to get ready and think about the upcoming 37 miles (6 10k loops). Finally the race began (I dread the time sitting/standing around in anticipation of the moments up to a race) and I was off. I tagged along with another trail runner I knew from previous races and we jogged together for probably 20 minutes or so. Soon I noticed my stomach wasn’t quite up to the task, and I slowed my pace. No problem, plenty of time to correct, and I’ve run plenty far before, but the feeling persists enough to be an annoyance, but I do think to myself this course is much more technical than I remember. Then ran with some other runners. One guy who ran Cactus Rose in Vibram 5 fingers, so we chatted about those for a while. Quite impressive. One thing I love about trail running is the ability to chat up another runners you’ve never met before (go ahead and try that on a 10k).

Anyway, soon I began my second lap, feeling slightly better, finding more company, and continuing on. The second half of the second lap, however, my legs were starting to cramp, bad. Body going downhill fast, decide to walk, but as I go into the aid station at the end, I am feeling pretty rough. Not used to feeling this bad after 12 mi, and not sure I can continue much further. But I decide I should tough it out, I can always just walk one lap back to the finish, and you never know when you body can rebound.

Manage to jog the first mile or so of the 3rd lap, which isn’t so technical. Soon the hills and rocks begin, and I am feeling pretty rough and can’t continue, so I find a nice rock to sit on. I’ll spare the details, but wasn’t feeling the best I’ve ever been, collapsed in the middle of the hill country on rocks/cactus. Tried to walk some, but my legs were cramping so bad I couldn’t even move, and my stomach was hurting big time. Never experienced that before. Luckily, all the runners who pass me by, ask me if I need help, and many of them lend me water as I wait to muster enough energy to wander to the aid station a half mile ahead. Thanks to all of them out there. Eventually I find the co-race director looking for me and head back to the start.

Not the finish I anticipated, but you live and learn. The doctor at the end said I should have been taking in 3x as much salt which explains my stomach pain and muscle cramping. I guess it figures, but I’ve never required that much in training and my legs have never cramped up like that, ever. I think the body functions different and the nutrition required is different for running in the evening than all other races where you start in the morning. So.. now I know the problem, it only took that aggravation to figure out! I didn’t feel bad at DNF’ing–only 53% would finish the 60k race, quite low. And I enjoyed chatting up the other runners/volunteers and marveling at the impressive job the other athletes who continued to brave the course and weather.

The next decision is whether to attempt the 30k or 60k at the next race in 3 weeks. The wise decision would be to do the 30k, but whats the challenge in doing something you know can do?


2 Responses

  1. Hello!

    Thanks so much for the report!

    I’m doing the 3 60ks this summer and was looking for some detail on the course…

    How technical is it? Were you able to keep a good pace or were rocks/obstructions preventing you from getting a good time?

    Are there any trails in the Austin area that are comparable?

    Again, thanks for the report!

    Hope to see you out there this year

    • Not too hilly but the large rock outcroppings I found were just kind of “uncomfortable” to run on, for lack of a better word. The biggest concern is the heat–just make sure you take in enough salt, water, and food–and running throughout the night is a different experience. My low salt intake (maybe too much water, too) was my downfall last year at The Lake which led to my DNF (I since learned and managed to finish the last 2 60k’s). Not much obstruction wise, just the large rocks are different surface than I’m accustomed to running on (not like Bandera rocks, or a normal single track trail (which some of the course is a single track trail)).

      I can’t speak to trails in the Austin area. I would suggest emailing Joe P. for advice on that, or if you get on facebook check out the Tejas Trails page–I’m sure someone will point you in the right direction. If you live in Austin, the park is only 45 min away. Good luck.

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