Lawson Lake Trail 5k Race Recap 10/14/19

I know, I know — I just ran a 10k a couple of days before this “race”. I use the term race loosely. Trail runs/races just tend to be fun runs for me. That’s the attitude I went into this with. A gorgeous weekend, a lake, trails, friends. What could go wrong?

This fire felt great while we waited to start!

Packet Pickup
We all picked up our bibs the day of the race with no issues. It’s basically a club run, although there are bibs and timing chips — but no tee (no problem!) and no swag. Unless you’re one of the overall winners, then you get a free entry to the trail race of your choice in 2020.

I picked up Darlene @ Myfirst5kon my way there, and we got there early, which was a good thing because the one parking lot open was tiny.

We ran around this area twice at the start and once towards the end

There are two races (which start together): a 5k and a 5 miler. This was only the second year the event has been offered.

Ok, so light capris are not so flattering (but they were comfortable)

The weather & dressing
Another beautiful day to run with low wind and temps in the 50s. I wore my Skirt Sports Blue Deco Watch Me Go Top (Skirt Sports Ambassador) and a Skirt Sports Pocketopia Capris with the Toasty Girl Vest. The Blue Deco top is very lightweight, and I knew a lot of the run would be in the woods, and hence shady and cool. I did get warm, but I’m also glad I kept the vest on.

Am I on the right path? Have I missed a turn?

My Race Plan
Again no race plan — run where I can, walk where it was steep or rocky or lots of roots. I didn’t think about the carpeting of leaves, and that certainly came into play.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 12:12. Slight downs & ups while we looped around the parking lot with views of the lake — twice. The road here was unpaved with a smattering of gravel, but it wasn’t a true trail for most of the first mile so I was able to keep a decent pace.
  2. Mile 2: 18:23. The fun began in mile two. About halfway through the race I found myself basically alone. Darlene and Running Buddy J were walking, and were behind me for a while here, but I’d lost almost all the rest of the runners. The leaves were deep, there were many roots and rocks, and I wasn’t sure if I was going the right way . . . often. There was a lot of walking. A lot of walking. I’ve never “run” a trail so slowly, LOL!
  3. Mile 3: 15:50. They had told us that we would go up a “small uphill” right before the downhill finish. Small my a$$. Okay, maybe to some runners it would be small — it was pretty darn steep in my opinion and just cruel at the end!
  4. Last .06: 12:40. It was, at least, downhill to the finish, and I’ve never met a downhill I didn’t love.

46:53 — Official Time
15:06 Average Pace
4 out of 5 in F55-59
40 out of 47 Runners

They were gonna walk (well, they mostly did). The final downhill to the finish.

I get a giggle that the runners who finished before and after me are from the same town as me — and both are 20 years younger than me. My first trail 5k, which was in the summer, was about 4 minutes faster, and one I ran earlier this year was a whopping 10 minutes faster. Both of them were in the summer, so no carpet of leaves to contend with.

Why do race directors always put a hill right before the end?

Was the race well run?
The race was well marked, although there were long stretches without flags that seriously had me wondering if I’d taken a wrong turn. I told everyone I really counted it as a victory that I didn’t get lost. There were a few course marshals here and there, too, but I appreciate that that is very difficult on trail races.

We thought there were pies in here . . .

I personally didn’t need the medal at the end, although it’s a nice touch, as was the cider donuts. We’d all seen the boxes, but thought they were pies for AG awards (there were no AG awards, not that that mattered for me) — indeed they were cider donuts and plenty of them, although they were really cold so not terribly enticing to me. That half in the box is from me.

What I really wanted? Water! Again, I understand that everything had to be hauled up there. There was an empty gallon jug of water by the food. Had there been water somewhere else? I’d left the water bottle I brought with me in the car.

There were burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers (two, which Running Buddy J and I snagged), and chips for post race food. Not terribly exciting. This was not a potluck — too bad, I think a potluck would have been much more fun!


  1. Another pretty park.
  2. Chip timing.
  3. Free lunch post race.
  4. Running with friends.
  5. A medal — I don’t need it for a simple 5k, but I’m sure others enjoyed it.
  6. Perfect running weather.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. A challenging course, especially with the deep carpet of leaves.
  2. More flags on the course, please!
  3. More water post race, too, please!
  4. Small parking lot.

What I learned
I’m really not sure I’d do this race again. Maybe I was just in a mood? My friends enjoyed it. It wasn’t expensive. Perhaps if I hadn’t been as anxious about getting lost I would have enjoyed it more. Or if I’d been running with a friend. I spent almost the entire second half of the race pretty much alone — worried that I’d missed a turn somewhere, and would never be found as there was no cell phone service out there. Although maybe Darlene wold have wondered where her ride was.

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


23 thoughts on “Lawson Lake Trail 5k Race Recap 10/14/19

  1. Oh that sounds really stressful not knowing if you’d gone the right way – surely they could have put out a few markers. Mind you, there was a bit in the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon where you had to run past the Cavern Club through a busy street with no cones, markers, tapes or marshals and I thought I’d gone wrong there! Also being alone with no one to compare views with is a bit deadly. I know what you mean about carpets of leaves – what could be under them? Anything! So a really good effort but I’m not sure I’d do that one again if I’d had that experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They did have flags — just not everywehre. I can get lost easily even when there isn’t a carpet of leaves over everything!

      I have had road races where I’ve wondered if I’ve made a wrong turn, too. Of course they do always say that it’s up to you to know the course but I didn’t even look at it — even if I do, I rarely remember it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not much to add since I reviewed it myself.

    I would do it again with friends and nice weather. Not racing it. Would do the 5 miler if I had company. It was a lovely location.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a nature preserve a few miles out of town. There’s a big figure 8-shaped trail, but I have only run it a handful of times…and that’s always been with a group LOL.It’s a beautiful setting, but it looks different every time I’ve been there due to the constantly changing vegetation.So, I can relate to your anxiety of being lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This definitely sounds like my kind of run. I think trail race directors are kind of sadistic sometimes. Trail runs are usually longer than the advertised distances. One trail RD told us he wanted to be sure we got our money’s worth when the course was over a mile longer than advertised (17 miles for a 25K)! Too bad about the water, though. That is an issue that should be addressed. Even if they have to haul everything in, the water should be the first concern.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about sadistic RDs. I don’t know if there was more water somewhere, and it was a cool day so that a huge deal, but still, I wanted some water!

      I would not be pleased with a race that went a mile long, for sure.


  5. That sounds like a place where I would like to run on my own but maybe not race. I tend to get turned around on trails anyway, especially ones I haven’t run on many times. That’s not cool at all about running out of water.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kudos to you for doing a trail race. I don’t have the confidence to sign up for one because I’m afraid I would fall and/or get lot, lol.

    I love what you said in your recap about the “small” hill at mile 3. Often what people describe to me as small looks like a mountain, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just run where it’s runnable, walk where it’s dicey. Which means really slow times, but that’s okay. Actually didn’t really think too much about falling this time, probably because I walked so much.


    1. That’s interesting, everyone says Chicago is so flat. In fact, my student just got back from it & she said it was really flat.

      There’s a pretty large trail running community in this area, and quite a few trail races.


  7. Why don’t you feel the light color works? I love that pattern. I can’t do patterned capris full stop though. They don’t work
    Cider donuts > pie any day for me.
    Hill before the finish — so glad most of our Wednesday group runs have gone the “wrong” way around the park so we can run up the hill before the finish. Way different of course at mile 0 than 26.1

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Light colors on my legs are just not flattering. I should’ve learned my lesson. I do love that pattern, but not all over my legs!

      All I seem to do lately is run hills, but at least it’s by choice. After a couple of weeks I probably won’t, although sometimes I like to do hill sprints.


  8. It sounds like you had a good time and the positives out weighed the negatives. Not knowing for sure whether or not you’re still on course is so frustrating. I’ve run off the course twice during trail races and fortunately both times runners behind me yelled loudly enough for me to hear and they directed me back on course. Both times I’d missed seeing a flagged tree, probably because I was looking down to make sure I didn’t trip on a root.

    Liked by 1 person

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