Um, that was hard. Really, really hard.
The alarm went off at 5:50am, as usual, I wondered what the hell I was doing getting up so early to go running, and a trail run? Really, what had I been thinking. As I rolled out of bed and checked the outside temperature it said 68 degrees. What? 68 degrees at 6am, I didn't even want to think about how hot it would be at 8:20am when the 5k started.
Arrived at the park around 7:30am and promptly found mt running friends Myla and Mary Sue. We were all nervous about the run and then I looked at the elevation chart on the map, what? Had I really signed up for this? Again, what had I been thinking. I tried to put it out of mind and not think about the hills. But as the horn went off it was hard to ignore the hills as the first 3/4 miles were uphill. I ran, I ran slow, but I ran all the way up the hill, I slowed to a walk when we got to a level service to catch my breath. It seems like a weird strategy, run the hills and walk the flat part. Well, I would be walking the entire course if I only ran the flat parts. It was hot and dusty, no shade to speak of. I found myself passing some folks, which felt good, even though I was barely running. As we came to the top of the hill and it leveled out I could see the turn-around! Awesome, I thought, until the photographer at the turnaround told me I had almost reached the one mile marker. What? That's it? Good thing he said that after he snapped my photo. The awesome part, was the rest was downhill, I ran most of the downhill portion trying to gain some momentum.
We than came to a turn and I could see the trail looked shady, finally! I asked the guy, hey, this part looks shady. He told me it was his favorite part of the course. I could see why, it was downhill and nice and shady. We were still on gravel fire road and so far I was having no problems with the trail itself. Than, all of a sudden, all I saw in front of me was uphill. and steep uphill. Seriously? Damn, this must be the halfway point uphill that I saw on the elevation chart. It seems like it went forever and ever.
As we came up to a flat portion I was never so relieved to see an aide station. I don't normally take water on a 5k, but I was dying. I took a cup of water and a cup of gu and went on my way. Just as I was catching my breath and had started running again, we entered the single track portion of the track. I noticed the flags indicating that all runners, 1/2 marathon, 10k and 5k runners were now on the same trail. Single track is hard, especially singe track downhill with leaves. I nearly lost it on the first steep downhill portion as I took it a little to fast, that was scary. I slowed down and made sure there would be no tumbles or injuries on the course. I had been by myself mostly along the single track but about halfway in I could hear runners coming up behind me. I tried to stop and pull t the side to let folks pass. But on my right was a steep ravine, and since most people pass on the left, pulling to the right would send me over the edge. This was one of the reasons I didn't bring my i-pod, I wanted to hear people coming up behind me so I would have enough time to find a safe spot to pass. I had one jerk who yelled "on your left" and then "your other left" as I tried to find a good place to stop. I refrained from yelling any obscenities and my desire to not fall over the edge as he passed me. I bit my tongue and called him names under my breath, I do know my left from right. Other than every other 10k runner said "thank you" as they passed. The single track kicked my butt. The downhill was hard and when I hit the uphills I felt my legs burning. I knew I was getting close when I saw the 13 mile marker and 6 mile marker for the other runners. I could hear the announcer at the finish line, but we weren't there yet. I still had to navigate stairs, yeah, trail stairs. down the stairs than up the stairs, it seems endless. Finally I saw people and someone calling out numbers to the announcers as we rounded the corner. I booked it, we were so close to the finish line and it was finally flat!
I'm not going to lie, I was dripping in sweat, it was the most difficult run and most difficult workout I have ever done. But I got a nice finishers medal and technical shirt and now I can say I've done my first trail run. The jury is still out on whether there will be another trail run in my future. Maybe I should make the decision tomorrow when I see how much pain I'm in.