. It was slightly overcast and little bit nippy. Runners were stretching; some had blankets around them to keep warm while others jogged. I personally went back to the warmth of the car, to check over last minute items. My Fuel belt pack was full of ice cold Hammer Heed, I had my endurolytes, hammer bar camera, yep good to go!
Now personally myself I am not going to warm up for what will be a long day on the 32 mile trail run. Instead I look at the mixture of runners tall, small, skinny, big etc.. Then I take in the fashion statements and there was a few!The variety of running shoes (Mine were the best..bright red Cascadias!) Finally the gun goes off and slowly the runners burst into the once quiet Santa Monica Mountain Range! Some were wearing ipods, I was not as I enjoyed the sounds of nature and really wanted to hear a mountain lion of rattlesnake before they heard me!!
Looking at the profile of the course at home is one thing.. Running it is another and before the first mile was over I was already climbing the infamous Bulldog lateral section which really had some nice steep pitches in it!! Thankfully at mile 4 an aid station appeared and I drank the heed they had to save mine for later. I slowly kept up a jogging pace and finally I was rewarded with a nice downhill fire road and was soon half way through the first loop at Corral Cyn.
Before long I was running over huge boulders, and navigating the weird rock formations. Looking out over a vast mountain range, I laughed out loud gosh! I am so fortunate to be able to run , compete and train in these beautiful mountains of Southern California which I now call home, with views of the Pacific ocean on one hand and absorbing the beautiful nature of these mountains , I am truly blessed to have this available.
The trail is well marked with pink ribbons and white chalk arrows. My friend Andy Kumeda had marked this trail from 11pm to 5am; he had done a great job! Suddenly I am running downhill at a very fast pace a few 1000 feet to get to a complicated single track over a small stream.. Where I DO get my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes wet! And back up a mile plus climb again before completing the first loop!!
I take in my Hammer nutrition and set off for the final loop, this time I know I need to stay strong on the climb it has gone from 64 degrees to 94 degrees. Keep hydrated I tell myself, keep taking the endurolytes every hour. Remarkably enough I begin passing other runners I feel good and am enjoying this trail run as it is not difficult on the feet and once the steep climb is over the view will be just as spectacular atop the backbone , the volunteers just as friendly and before I know it I am running the last 2 miles. I really am running as I have just spied another female in front of me about quarter of a mile. I pick up the pace, and then I am behind her I am confused I cannot see the finish line I think it is the next turn I make my attack I go round the final cone and it is another couple of meters she overtakes me and nips me in the finish chute! Now if only I could run that fast through the entire race!!
As soon as I had finished a took my recoverite, and sprayed my aching quads with Kool n Fit. I turned off my Polar which had been a great training partner that day and felt very happy about the race.
My total time was 5 hours 34 minutes and 42 seconds! I placed 12th female out of 40, and 50th out of 165 runners.
The post race food (juicy sweet water melon) and awards were well organized. Just like the course well marked,safe.& spectacular views. All the volunteers were friendly and I hope to be on the trail next year!
I would like to thank AVON of Puerto Rico as I raised $224 for their appeal for a cure for Breast Cancer, Hawaiian Tropic sun care, Hammer Nutrition, Brooks shoes USA , Rudy Project glasses, Polar heart rate monitors, Kool n Fit spray, Fuelbelt
Special thanks to my friend Ray for taking me to the race and my husband who called me AFTER the race to mention he had had a bike crash and was in hospital!!!
photos Janos Schmidt