This was the hardest race I’ve run in a long time. The course was not too outrageously challenging on its own: 1800ish ft of elevation gain (concentrated in two big hills at mile 2 and mile 8) and some marginally technical rocky parts; but my dead legs made it really tough.
Why were my legs dead? That’s a great question, because I haven’t actually been doing that much with them. It was massively frustrating to just feel like my feet were covered in cement any time the trail started climbing at all. For the first four miles, my head was not in a good place. Neither were my legs, and neither was my stomach.
The first hill (in the picture above) was about a mile long, and I walked quite a bit of it. When we finally reached the top, it still took a mile or so to feel decent. The course loops back through the start/finish area at around mile 6, and it really wasn’t until I passed through there that I started to feel a little better. But of course, there was another hill right after that.
The second hill was at least run-able, but maybe “run” is not the right word, because although I felt like I was running but I’m sure to anyone watching, it was more of a pathetic shuffle. Once I finally reached the top of that, I got to run through some redwoods, which is always totally blissful even with super dead legs.
The last few miles were just sort of blah. It was pretty, but I just couldn’t get my head in the right place, and that was frustrating. I ALWAYS feel grateful to be able to run, and to get to do it in such a beautiful place is awesome. I’m not sure what the issue was today – possibly just a crappy attitude to match the crappy feeling in my legs.
Still, I stuck with it to finish in 2:01 and managed to eke out a 3rd place finish in my age group.
The best part of the day was getting to hang out with good friends. I love small, low-key races like this, and I love it even more when I’m there with some of my favorite people.
Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE Inside Trail Racing. They are so well organized, their courses are fun and well-marked, the races are affordable, and the post-race food is awesome. If you live in Northern California and want to run a trail race, do one of theirs! (this is my own opinion and they have no idea who I am or that I’m writing this)