Lemming Loop Race Recap

First recap at the Harvest! Seems fitting that it’s a trail race recap for some reason 🙂

Lemming Loop crossed my radar about 3 weeks before the actual event. It’s an awesome trail race where participants run a 3.3km loop as many times as possible in a selected amount of time: 3hrs, 6hrs, 12hrs or 24hrs. It’s a great challenge for runners of all skill levels from beginner to ultra marathoner. Super cool. I signed up to do a relay version of the 12 hr race as a team of 3. It was daunting given that I hadn’t trained for this and haven’t been running as much as I’d have liked for the summer due to constant calf cramping and time constraints. Knowing I’d have about 40 minutes to rest after each loop I ran made the challenge seem less overwhelming. I knew it was going to hurt but knowing that break was coming up helped me push through each lap when I was starting to hurt.

My day started with a 4am wake-up alarm. Ouch. We arrived at the Living Prairie Museum where our race was taking place around 5:15 in pretty good spirits. Keep in mind, our house was dealing with stomach bugs and colds for the two previous weeks so that I was even remotely feeling ready to run was somewhat miraculous. The 24hr runners had already been on the course for over 12 hrs when we got there. That alone just blew my mind. Running through trail at night. Yikes! Talk about inspiring!

The view from the rest tent after my second lap with the sun just hitting the horizon.
The view from the rest tent after my second lap with the sun just hitting the horizon.

After settling in, getting some pre-race instruction and gearing up, I was off for my first loop with the other 12hr pack at 6am sharp! It was chilly, pitch black but the sky was clear. So wicked running under the moon and stars. I was hoping to get in a couple of good, strong laps at the beginning knowing that I’d be slowing down with every lap as the day wore on. Being on a new course and being so dark, my first lap was spent trying not to get lost (which I did as I made one wrong turn and missed a chunk of the course in the middle. Don’t worry, I back-tracked and got it done, extending my first lap a wee bit. Oops) and trying not to trip and break my face. Plenty of time for that to happen. And it very nearly did. Several times.

After 2 laps, just over an hour into the day.
After 2 laps, just over an hour into the day.

I loved the course. Such a simple 3.3km loop but so scenic at the same time. I wasn’t sure how I would feel as the day wore on, seeing the same lap over and over again but it never got old for me. And as the aches and pains started to set it, it was nice having landmarks along the way so I’d know how far I had left before I’d get another rest.

Our team decided to keep it simple and each run one lap and break. It gave us enough time to recover, eat, stretch and then we’d be back out there. We kept a pretty good pace throughout the day. We slowed down in the afternoon and I remember at one point thinking that we still had hours left and started to feel overwhelmed. I can only imagine how the runners who weren’t on a team must have felt! By around the 9 hour mark, my hips were so tight and my knees were starting to get sore at the beginning of each loop. Suddenly, having such a long break wasn’t so much fun as it gave my body time to lock up and tighten. But as we approached the 100km mark, we were pretty stoked. My 12th and final lap was the widow maker for me as just as I passed the halfway point, my left hip decided to call it a day and not move anymore. That was the longest final mile of my life. Not in time but in trying to get a leg moving that clearly didn’t want to. I was happy to be done.

Toward the end of the day. So amazing that around this little piece of paradise is the city.
Toward the end of the day. So amazing that around this little piece of paradise is the city.

Our final tally was somewhere around 115km with my contribution being just under 40km, or 24 miles. I’ve never run anywhere near that far/long in my life so that I was able to do it and not be tired for the most part was pretty awesome.

The bounty.
The bounty.
Anyone who gives me a free coffee mug is automatically my BFF
Anyone who gives me a free coffee mug is automatically my BFF

The next day was tragic. Stairs were not an option and even lifting my legs was clearly not happening without help. My feet were killing me too. They hurt for several days and I had to wear my runners around the house because being flat footed was so painful. Funny because they didn’t bother me at all on race day.

All in all, it was an awesome event and I will most definitely be participating in it again next year. Hopefully with a little more (or any, for that matter) training!