Cougar Mountain Trail Series 2016 – 5k

With zero experience running trails (apart from quick run on a gravel path near the local YMCA) I decide to keep things simple and just pick the 5k race distance for my first trail race. It was at Cougar Mountain, in Bellevue, east of Seattle, where they have a 5 or 6 race series each summer (the Cougar Mountain Trail Series, presented by the Seattle Running Club).

Living only 5 mins from the race course made it an easy decision to pick this race for my trail debut. The trails looked very inviting – lush green surrounds even in the height of a Seattle ‘Summer’. I didn’t have any trail shoes, so I decided to go with my trusty blue Saucony Guides with over 500km on them, so I didn’t mind if they got dirty, rather than my brand new (and quite white) Triumphs.

I decided to ignore pace, and run on feel / HR – trying to stick around the top of Z3 and low Z4, it seemed to work well, as I felt like I pushed pretty hard and had a little in the tank for the finish. The course was great – the 5k has very little of the climbs of the longer distances. It was however fairly muddy, as it was raining. I didn’t loose grip too much but I did need to take it carefully on the descents and corners, as the Guides aren’t off road shoes, and mine were quite worn down by the aforementioned 500kms on road.

The trails were beautiful, lush green everywhere, trees overhead, and some bridge crossings over creeks that were flowing. Such a nice place to go running.

I managed a cheeky 3rd place overall Male (don’t get too excited, all the serious runners were doing either of the 2 other longer distances). It was great fun and I instantly decided I needed get some trail shoes and run a longer one.

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2016 and 2017 Update

Well, things have changed quite a bit! Since posting the Busselton 70.3 results, I went on to finally run a 12km road race at under 5:00 min pace, 3 weeks later. After that I broke a toe, started to train mornings during winter, and then did only two triathlons before packing up and moving to Seattle, having accepted a new job with Amazon.

Since then, I’ve been focusing on trail running, taking the most of the opportunities to do something a bit different over here. Longest so far was a trail half marathon at Cougar Mountain which too 3 hours, with a lot of vertical gain!