Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Runday: Cinco De Mayo Trail Run

I got home from the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon on Tuesday night, so of course Saturday had me running another race.

As part of my "run all the holiday races" resolution, I had signed up for the Cinco De Mayo Trail Run.  Cinco De Mayo may be a more minor holiday than say, Valentine's Day, or Halloween, but hey - it's a holiday and there's a race.  Yay!

I didn't do a lot research when I signed up, but I noticed that the 5k was the same price as the 10k, so I figured I'd get the most bang for my buck by signing up for the 10k.

And then the week for the race we got our email from the race director with last minute information.  Which is the first time I noticed the word "grueling" before the 10k.  Crap.  Reading on they describe it as a "Punishing one-of-a-kind 10K."  Crap. Crap.

"The 10K adds to this course — with a grueling out-and-back trek (or up-and-down if we’re being honest) into Blue Sky and a quad-burning +10% climb to the Ramona Dam. Take our advice and start training now!"  Crap.Crap.Crap.

So here I am, having just run a half marathon, about to embark on a 10k into "Blue Sky" which is literally Blue Sky Ecological Preserve, but works just as well as a figurative metaphor for this race which climbs into the sky.

It was the perfect morning for a run.  The weather was cool and slightly overcast, which made for some beautiful views.

The race emails warned about limited parking at the race location itself, and of the fact that at 7am the lot would close.  Both of these warnings turned out to be untrue, and as the race started there were still cars coming in and parking in the numerous empty spaces.  But since I didn't know that until it was too late, I parked at one of the off-site locations and took a shuttle to the start.  Not knowing how often the shuttles would run, I got there extra early, and then waited around for quite a while for the race to start.  Just waiting and worrying.


The race started in waves and we were off!  I got a little cocky once the race started.  I'd run my fair share of trails, and this didn't seem so bad.  Sure there were hills, but I can do hills!

And like I said, it was the perfect day for a run.  With beautiful views of the lake.







The first 2 miles were fairly typical trail miles.  Loose rock, narrow trails, and uneven terrain.  No big deal.  And then we started the climb up to the dam.



As many people slowed to a walk I thought to myself "don't walk, that will just make it take longer.  You can do this, just slow your run."   That didn't even last a full mile.  Sometime before mile 3 I gave in to the walk.  Walk a little, run a little, just make it to the top.


But finally I did make it to the top.  Yay! And then I got to run back down.  And run I did.  It was much more pleasant running down than it had been attempting to run up.  I felt good, I felt like I could finish this race.

I had looked at the course map before the start, and the course was a loop.  But for some reason I still had it in my head that it was out and back.  So once I got to the top of the dam, I thought the hard part was over.  Those are obviously famous last words.


To get back to the finish line, we had to climb another, well, really, the best way to describe it would be a mountain.    There was no other way to get back, so onward I went.  Probably the longest 2 miles of my life!  I think this sign best sums up my performance during the race.

So at least I can comfort myself with knowing that I was following instructions?   The very last portion of the race was uphill to the finish - quite the opposite of most races I've run where you can go sailing through the finish.  Instead I got to struggle up those last few feet, while  a mariachi band played me in.  Everyone should have a personal band playing them in.

When the race finished, I went and waited for a shuttle so I could get to Thatkid's last baseball game of the season.  The race had taken me almost 20 minutes longer than I had expected, and waiting for the shuttle definitely made me precariously close to being late.

This was a really challenging race, probably the hardest I've ever run.  But the course is really pretty, and I wouldn't mind running it during non-race times with some friends.  Or maybe just those first 2 miles!

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