Published December 6th, 2009
Considering I returned to the scene of the crime yesterday for the first time since the race, I figured it’s about time I write up my report. The Carkeek 12-hour is advertised as “The hardest 12-hour out there. Period.” Boy howdy, they ain’t kidding. Actually, I have nothing else to base that on — after all I haven’t run another 12-hour — but given how much this race whipped my patootie I’m going to take them at their word.
The race is held in Carkeek Park just northwest of Seattle. Although it’s a trail run, it’s not particularly technical. However, the elevation gain/loss for each 1.93-mile loop is 430 feet. You run as many loops as you can within a 12-hour period. Many folks opt to stop after they reach a certain distance (14 loops for just over a marathon, 16 loops for a 50K), although a couple of diehards go the full 12 hours. Me? I wanted to run at least a marathon distance, although I was hoping for a 50K depending on how I felt.
Given the dire warnings, I decided I needed to get some practice on the trail before race day. After signing up in early August my darling and I ran it a couple of times. But when we saw so many of our friends were signed up we decided to meet every Wednesday evening for as many laps as people wanted to run. We even met on our 9-year wedding anniversary where we celebrated afterwards with snacks and champagne (shhh… don’t tell the Seattle Parks Department).
I typically could get in 2-3 loops before it got too dark, however, I found some days the trail would chew me up and spit me out, especially if I had had a particularly long cook day. (One day I couldn’t even finish an entire loop). I averaged 26-27 minutes for most loops; my best time was 23:46, my worst was 28:13. I had hoped to run at least 7 laps at once before the race, but only managed to get in 5 before I cried “uncle.”