This past weekend found me racing again, a trail race even.
After my 18 miler on Saturday I headed down to San Diego for the Mission Gorge Trail Run, a 15K race. This race is put on by the same folks that put on Boney Mountain a couple a weeks ago. I probably wouldn't have gone done for the run except for the fact that #1 son lives there. This weekend was supposed to have been the Twin Peaks 50/50. It had been postponed due to the fire damage last fall. I'm sort of glad it was postponed. At this point I don't feel ready, but of course my training would have been different if it had been on the horizon. Instead I've been having fun doing these shorter trail races.
I spent the night at Tyler's place. The night before we'd gone to The Oceanaire Seafood Room for a great seafood dinner as part of Restaurant Week in San Diego. Being a culinary arts student, Tyler had been aching to go there. I didn't realize until later that the executive chef, Brian Malarkey, was on Season 3 of Top Chef. If you are every in San Diego, I highly recommend it. I think reservations are required. Ask to sit in Ishmael's section. He will take very good care of you.
The superb weather that we enjoyed last weekend was no where to be seen for this race. We awoke to a heavy mist that turned into a light rain as the morning wore on. Tyler had wanted to run the 15K with me. An injury down graded him to the 5K and then ultimately to volunteering. He was definitely chomping at the bit for a chance to go run in the mud.
Run in the mud we did. The rain was steady the entire race. There was no escaping the mud. The trails became mini rivers. This course was one of the toughest course I'd run. The rain and mud made it even more challenging; a heck of a lot of fun, but challenging. There were two really big hills that we pretty much ran straight up. No switchbacks here. Running down the hill around mile 3 was more like sliding down the hill. I didn't see anybody fall, but each step you took was accompanied by a slide of 6 to 8 inches. My back got a great workout trying to maintain balance. Listening to the girls behind me going down the hill and screaming and laughing with each step was fun.
The biggest hill was another big straight one up, but this time with stairs. There was no running those babies. We ascended the stairs into the clouds. The wind on top was tough to take since we were all soaked to the skin. I was very glad that we weren't going back down the stairs.
After we'd made most of the descent back to the valley floor for the last couple of miles of the race, we crossed back and forth across a river about 4 times. There were rocks available to cross but at that point just crashing through the water couldn't get you any wetter. Besides it washed off some of the mud.
It was fun to cross the finish line to see Tyler there taking the tags off the bibs. He was soaked to the core as well. Someone had at least given him a trash bag as a rain coat. After some food, I began to cool down quickly. I went to the car to strip off the wet jacket and shirt and sat in the car in my shorts and my leather coat. Tyler worked for 20-30 minutes more before they relieved him of his duties.
When I was waiting for Tyler I had called home to let Lisa know I'd finished and that it had taken me 1:50 to run less than 10 miles. Her response was, "you suck!" We both got a laugh out of that. 12:00 pace is pretty slow for me but considering the hills, the mud and the rain, I guess it wasn't half bad. This was my first 15K, so setting the bar low assures a PR next time around. Right? After a shower and dry clothes back at Tyler's place, we went out for breakfast and then I headed home to a Super Bowl party.
At the race I saw an advertisement for the Big Bear Marathon, an inaugural event. You all know how I feel about inaugural events? It also fits in nicely with my other race plans for 2008 (which I still haven't had time to disclose).