FKT: Josh Sanders - Lakeshore Trail (MI) - 2018-11-23

Gender category
Route variation
Standard route
Finish date
Total time
2h 33m 36s

Additional report on Strava.

The Lakeshore Trail is a 21.1 mile trail that runs from Holland State Park to Grand Haven State Park mostly parallel to Lakeshore Drive and Lake Michigan. The trail is paved and overall fairly flat but has some fun “up & down” sections rolling over the dunes that make me think of paved mountain bike trails. I decided for Black Friday’s “opt outside” day that I’d establish the FKT for this route.

I started from the “Holland State Park” sign on the corner of Ottawa Beach Road and S. 168th Avenue at 7:52am. The “real feel” temperature on this crisp Black Friday was 20 degrees. Since it’s “only” 21 miles and temps were cool, I ran with only an 18oz hydration bottle of smart water and 5 gels. I wore a Garmin Forerunner 235 on each wrist to ensure as much accuracy as possible.

My plan was to run a decently fast time but not race the trail. I was hoping I could do sub 7:30/mile pace while keeping my heart rate under 150 bpm (essentially a MAF/base run). Right out of the gate my heart rate was elevated. It was weird seeing the difference in heart rate on both watches. They are literally the same watch (one is new and on is two years old) and the heart rates were often 5-6 beats per minute different.

I decided to just screw heart rate and run for fun. I took off and just tried to keep my mile times around 7:30/pace. The trails elevation is nothing compared to hilly trails in Yankee Springs or Pinckney but it does have some sneaky little hills. Lakeshore drive is fairly flat with gentle grades but the trail has some more traditional up and downs that slowed me on the ascent and bombed down the descent, it was a nice change up after expecting it to be flatter.

I had an alarm on my watch buzz every 25 minutes and I ate a gel. In theory, if most people can digest 240 calories of carbs an hour, this would ensure I had the maximum amount of digestible energy without having excess food in my stomach. I ate 500 calories of Reese’s Puffs cereal for breakfast and then had a banana and McDonalds hash brown about 30 minutes before starting. If you’ve never had a ripe banana and hash brown together, it’s an interesting experienced. I burped a few times the first few miles and the taste in my mouth of banana flavored grease potatoes was a little shocking.

After 4 miles and my first gel, I picked up the pace from 7:30ish a mile to 7:20 a mile. Around 7.5 miles in, I had a shoelace come untied and I had to take off my gloves to tie it. I accidentally stopped the watch on my left hand which was my watch that connects to my Strava. The “total elapsed time” on my Garmin Connect was 8 seconds more than on Strava which is also what my Garmin on the right hand showed. So, the FKT is actually 8 seconds longer than the Strava segment I created for this route.

I was feeling good 11-12 miles in and decided to get under 1:37 for my half marathon split. That required a sub 7 mile for mile 13, so I picked it up a bit and felt really good. My plan was to relax a bit in the 7:20ish pace range and then try and break 20 minutes for the final 5k. I ended up pushing it a little bit and didn’t quite have the gas the last 5k. There is also a dune you have to climb to get to the beach for the final half mile straight-a-way and that sucked the life out of me. I felt like I was going in slow motion and my 2nd mile of the final 5k was 7:05 and I ended up with a 21 minute final 5k.