I don’t know what I was thinking…. before vacation David Weary signed up for this race and I figured it would make me be sure to get at least SOME training over vacation, so I did too. So, I got home at almost 9 last night, got to bed as quickly as possible so I could get up for an early race.
I set my alarm for 3:15 but it was not necessary. Between 1:30 and 2:00 I woke up and remained wide awake…. jet lag, I suppose…. 2:00 am here is 10 am in Norway and Germany. At first when I woke up I turned my alarm off figuring the sleep was important, I tried to sabotage myself and intentionally oversleep. It didn’t work, as I said, I could not go back to sleep… So at 3 I got up and started getting ready. I left right after 4 and drove to the top of Mt Wilson in the dark. I arrived during twilight and got a nice view of the lights of Los Angeles.
Most trail races start at the base of a mountain or a trail. They start with a climb. They may have a number of climbs in the middle. You can count on getting a fun downhill finish.
The Mt Disappointment races are different. They have a 25K and a 50K. They both start at the top of Mt Wilson. You start with a 2 mile run DOWN the road back toward Hwy 2. Then you make a left and run about a mile and a half to the top of a ridge and then you run really steep…. lots of switchbacks back down to the road. You run the last part back towards highway 2 and then make a right onto a dirt road. From there you just run down…. down, down and more down. The road follows a pretty canyon down towards Pasadena (or somewhere). It has a creek running through it. This continued until the 10.5 mile point in the race…
I am getting ahead of myself…. My goal was just to get in a long run. I started with Dave Weary and we ran the first two miles downhill together. The subsequent uphill did not seem to steep so I continued to run up it. Most of the people around me were walking so I passed a few going up the hill. Going down the other side some got me back. This steep section of just a mile or so got my quads trashed very quickly.
Normally, I would love all the downhill, but it was HOT. We are setting records in the LA basin today. I am not sure how hot it was but it was in the upper 80s to 90s already by the time I was running through there. I had completely emptied my 20 oz water bottle before reaching the first aid station at the 10K point where we turned into the canyon.
Going down I held back, I took it easy, but it did not feel easy because of my quads… and the heat.
At 10.5 miles, bottle once again already empty I ran into the 2nd aide station. I nice volunteered filled me up with ice and an energy drink. I ate some watermelon and some chips. I jogged out of the station, at first enjoying the switch back to uphill. For a mile or so I ran all but the steepest sections. But soon the trail hit a section that was steep, gravely and shadeless. It was too much for me …. I started walking… The other runners I could see were all walking by now as well.
From that 10.5 mile aide station to the 14.7 part, just shy of the finish, was one REALLY LONG usually steep hill. It went from 3100 to 5600 – an average grade of over 11 percent. I walked almost all of the rest of the trail. I tried to find my stride but fatigue and heat stopped every effort fairly shortly…. So, I hiked up the hill. Even hiking, my breath rate remained fast. I went through my water bottle within 3 miles.
As the hill wore on, my new goal was simply to get to the finish without having a heat stroke. I made it. The long uphill walk took a lot of time. My unofficial time is 3:27:44.
Even with all the walking I was got to the finish dehydrated. My right adductor started cramping. I had to go lay down at some cots they had set up for recovery…
It took awhile for the legs to let me get up and around without cramping up again…
Dave came in about 10 minutes or so behind me. He did not seem as fatigued as I was… I hate running long in hot weather….
Of course I am sure the last 3 weeks of semi-training and ANTI-climatizing sure didn’t help….. oh, and I am bound to have picked up a couple extra pounds as well….