Here it is almost time for another weekend, and I'm finally getting around to posting about the last race in the Winter Trail Run Series. This time out it was 21K on completely new trails from the rest of the series. The maps and Garmins show 12.7 miles but I guess a 20.4K doesn't have quite the same ring.
What a beautiful weather day it was. We we so lucky throughout this whole series with the weather. It often rained the whole week before and even within hours after finishing but never on the race. I was kind of in a whiny mood at the start. I was cold (it wasn't really), I was tired (I hadn't slept well the night before) and my leg (the right one with the calf/shin issue) wasn't feeling too good. My bib number was 250. I hoped that that wasn't going to be my finish time.
We headed off down the road and it seemed like just about everybody took off ahead of me. I was taking it as easy as I could to assure a finish with the bum leg. As we chugged up the first climb up Main Divide, there were more than a few of us walking. The RD had counseled us to walk this and save our energies for later. We'd need it. I knew what was in store but I'm not sure how many others really did. Going up hill doesn't bother the leg.
After the aid station we headed down the Trabuco Trail, 1400 feet down. It was an amazing beautiful and fun trail to run down. The leg held up but I felt each step going down. I slowed to almost a walk on the steeper parts. There were some really rocky sections that made footing a bit of an issue.
Once we hit the bottom we headed UP and I do mean UP, Horsethief Trail, back up 1300 feet of the 1400 we'd just come down except up in 1.5 miles instead of the 2.5 miles down. I'd run this section before. There wasn't much running, but I did pass a couple of people even walking UP. As we approach the peak the trail takes on a different look, more sandy with ironwood brush. I was very happy to see this area knowing that the hardest part was over.
This time went we hit the summit we headed right on Main Divide back toward the aid station and ultimately down the hill again back to that starting line. Going down that hill was one of the toughest runs ever. My leg was throbbing with each downward step. I've never been a good downhill runner and on this particular day my downhill run was probably slower than my uphill walk. The last quarter of a mile or so was on a flat trail, except for the fallen tree we had to climb over.
My final time was 2:45:46, longer than the Boney Mountain Half in January by 10 minutes or so. I'm not sure which course is tougher, neither is easy, but I was happy to have completed the whole Winter Trail Series. This has been on my running radar for awhile. I wouldn't mind adding this as an annual event on the race calendar. You can't really beat a winter race where you can where a sleeveless shirt and get a head start on your summer tan!
This post has gone on long enough, so the current state of the leg "injury" will have to wait for another post. Sorry.