Griffith Park Trail Marathon

In spite of my lack of training the last couple of weeks – cold one week and then family medical issues the next – I headed down to Griffith Park in Los Angeles for a Trail Marathon Race. The event had a 50K, Marathon and Half Marathon. A couple of friends were in the 50K, Grant Barnett and Brian Pfeffer (from the @Hylandspowered group.) 

The 50K started at 6… I got there a little before 6 and looked around for Grant and Brian, but it was dark and I did not find either. As the race started I went a little ahead of the start line and I saw Brian and gave him a shout out… I don’t recall seeing Brian again… The way the course was set up, if he ran really well, I could have missed him… or it was dark and rainy… he could have run right by and I could have missed him… I did see Grant twice… official results are not yet available, so I don’t know how either did… Neither one seemed to be at the finish area either…

The Marathon started at 7.  We took off. My intention for the day was a long training run, so I held back going up the hills. It seemed that I settled in around 10-12th place. It had rained the day before and possibly overnight so the trail was a little wet, but not too bad… Maybe 30-45 minutes in it started to rain. I had a long sleeve shirt around my waist and I put it on, but soon found it still too hot, and I took it back off. The rain went from a drizzle to an occasional downpour. I probably lasted 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, the trail got wet and muddy. There was one single track section on the side of a hill where all of the sudden I hit traffic, two way traffic and the trail was just a sloshy mess. I made my way past those going so slowly in front of me and others were coming back. I was grabbing at bushes and trying to stabilize myself… running was not an option, but I tried to slog quickly. Eventually we go on the top of a little ridge and the footing was better.  Fighting through this section I felt like I my calves could cramp up… already… I had a bottle of pickle juice and I took it… for the next couple miles I still felt like I was going have cramp issues.

Me made our way down to a road and then ran up it to the top of a little hill where we turned around.  Looking down I could barely make out that I was looking down at the top of the letters of the HOLLYWOOD sign.

Besides the pickle juice I was carrying Hyland’s Cramp relief tablets. I took a couple at the turn around… 12 miles?

Heading back I had to slog through that awful section again… but at least this time there were fewer runners. The reason for the traffic is that I was catching 50k runners who had started an hour ahead of me.  On the way back I also believe I was passing Half Marathon runners. At one point about 18 or 19 miles in, on a dirt road section, trying to run along the edge for better footing. I went down..  As I was falling my right calf cramped big time… I found my footing and had to walk for awhile to stretch it back out. For the next miles I felt like I could cramp up, but didn’t… The trail alternated between downs and ups… The downs were the sections that wanted to trigger cramps, the ups actually provided relief.

Around mile 24 the cramps set in, I had taken another dose of Hyland’s but I think the mud and perhaps the fall had me just TOO fatigued.. I gingerly made my way to the finish pausing several times to stretch…. The last time I stopped I looked and noted I was only 30m from the finish… oops…

Still, my time was 4:41  and the timer told me I was 12th overall, 1st for my age group!  Yea!!!

post race, mud caked legs and shoes….

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