Yesterday was the third part of a mini challenge I made for myself – 3 marathons AND 3 half marathons within 90 days – I made it at 84 days! Whew! Either you’re in one of two camps that thinks “Pfft, that’s nothing” or you think “But don’t you need to recover?”. To that, I say I’m in the latter camp…
And yesterday’s race was NOT the race to recover on. The Valley Crest Half Marathon kicked. My. Ass. But in a good way!
This was my second race with Trail Run Events, the first being the Ahmanson 12k which was absolutely lovely by the way! If you love trail running and live in the LA area I HIGHLY suggest running with them.
So yesterday’s race, to me, was hilllllyyyy. And I was the fool who didn’t read the elevation change note, I only saw “fire roads” and being new to trail running thought “good enough!” ha-ha-ha. Yeah. Fire roads they were. But my stumpy little legs were tired and worn out. My GPS says I got a good 1,600 foot climb. And after the race I felt it! I nearly broke all the china in a tea shop we went to later that day – but I tell you what today I’m walking absolutely normal again. Turns out an ice bath, a massage, some BCAAs, a little pain reliever and maybe a glass of wine topped off with a good nights rest was all I needed to bounce back.
But back to the race! The course was just absolutely stunning. I didn’t care that I was toeing the line for damn near last because I couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty. I took over three hours yesterday, but other than the sun moving I didn’t even notice. I was just too distracted by the trails and the people. This race calls itself the friendliest race in LA and I think they nailed it. Everyone was so sweet and encouraging. We all chit-chatted when we were pacing one another. Words of encouragement flowed back and forth. No one was shoving others, and if it sounded like someone fell people stopped to look around. It was just the most positive experience ever! I want to touch on one particularity touching moment. At the start I knew I was way behind and struggling. I was being down on myself for getting in too deep and looking like tourist to the sport, or an idiot to all these beautiful and fit trail runners. I was huffing and puffing and “over it” before mile one. I thought about stopping and getting my first DNF. As I was run/walking I was in my head saying all of these negative things when I saw the first female coming back towards me from her loop. I shouted out “Good job!” as I normally do and she – the girl sprinting in first- shouted good job back at ME, Putzy McGee! I know it sounds corny, but that just completely made my month. I’m going through so much stress and failing left and right on my running goals, and here this amazing runner tells ME I’m doing a good job. Just. Thank you, runner girl. Thank you for being kind!
After that I had the gusto to at least try. I didn’t break records. Everyone I passed later passed me. I’m fine with all of that. I even employed a new trick my friend Saeed told me before the start. If there’s a hill and I don’t think I can handle it just try counting my steps rather than minutes. 25 steps walking. 25 steps running. 25 walking, etc. Not only is it in nice easy to chew interval chunks, but it was actually therapeutic. It’s pretty hard to think negative thoughts when you’re trying to count each steps. I’m going to start employing this method whenever I see more hills I want to give up on in the future.
Albeit… Not so much for that downhill finish. It was pretty steep and I think I’ve established on this blog that I am queen klutz so to keep from breaking anything I just walked down. Saeed was there cheering me on at a nearly dead finish line. It felt great to hear his voice telling me I could do it. : )
I’m rocking the super comfy and well designed race shirt today with more pride than any other race shirt. Not because I had like, the totally best finish time ever you guys (lol) but because that race did something more for me than I thought it could. It made me feel like I was doing something as well as I could despite the odds.
The medal is super rad. I love that it’s the perfect medal size and doesn’t feel gaudy and tacky like some of the others I’ve picked up over time. I’m considering putting it on a key chain to have as a reminder of “Hey buddy. Just keep trying at all things life. Good job.”
I learned something else out there yesterday too – I don’t think I’m a trail runner! I love the nature, I love the people, but man are the courses difficult!!! I think I will sign up with the race director’s training group Ultra Ladies before I make another attempt at trail racing. Training, positivity, and race entries?? Yes, please!!