Sunday, May 26, 2013

Welcome back to the Mt. Wilson Trail Race!

It's odd how my memory can be so defective...  I just went back through Athlinks to find my prior race years and times... I was POSITIVE I had raced this course at least two other times, possibly three.  It seems, I've only actually raced it ONCE... in 2009.  I joined the community in April 2006, in May 2007, I wasn't quite running that distance yet, in 2008 I was registered to race and broke my foot in April, then in 2009 I finally did race it in 1:51:14... (close, but not exactly the 1:50 I recalled.)  I guess it must just be that I've trained on that mountain with Eric since the beginning and have run a bunch of time trials through the years.  But, only one official race. Wow, aging is humbling.

On a photo hunt to verify my memory, look what I found... 2009... I do believe it was also the last year Beth or Michael (aww, MK with hair!) ran it too... Not sure if Shannon made it back in 2010 or not...  Cool photo.

Check out the race photos from 2009 to 2013...

I may be a bit older and slower, but I'm definitely better dressed!

OMG, I think that's even the same water bottle.  Too funny.

Enough lollygagging down memory lane, about yesterday...

To begin with, it was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC to run this race with my friends.  We had the perfect weather for this course, in fact, the best that I can recall since I've been involved.  The sun only came out a few times and it never got hot.  Perfect race conditions.

I know I've talked ad nauseam about my big toes, but I was really worried about how they would impact this race.  I had wrapped them in bandaids, then duct taped them just to make sure the nails didn't keep lifting.  It worked perfectly.  When I finally got the shoes and socks off, the nails were still intact, but a hell of a lot sorer, darker and more swollen.  22 hours later, swelling is down along with the majority of pain.  All good.  Thanks to Summer's recent AB post on non-critical injuries, I know that running with bruised nails hurts, but doesn't hurt anything.  So, as long as I can tolerate a little discomfort, I can keep running.  Good thing too, because I have two more 10k races next weekend!  (Can you say Camp Pendleton bound?)

So, I started the race next to Rose, Amy, Rich Tipping and Marleigh.  We all danced back and forth on the Baldwin climb, then we started spreading out, with Amy taking a lead she held the entire race.  I hit First Water in 38:56, not a record but my fastest time this year.  By the time I hit the Helipad I was starting to seriously bonk (and get passed by way too many people, including an old friend in some seriously bright pink shorts!) and forced myself to eat a Hammer Gel.  It helped a bit and I finally regrouped right about when Eric came by the other way.  (To this day, just seeing him on the course can get my head back in the game.  Strange the relationship between athletes and coaches.)  I reached Orchard Camp in 1:12, breathed a sign of relief with a hint of fear for my toes, and started the real race, back downhill... 

I LOVE running downhill, and thankfully the endorphin's kicked in and I didn't feel my toes until the final descent down Baldwin, so I was able to open it up a bit at least on the non-technical parts of the trail.  It was so much fun!  Within minutes, I was passing people who had passed my on the climb and had picked up a tail.  The gal drafted off me the entire way down the mountain, using me to cut a path through the slower runners.  It was too cool.  My whole goal for the first 2-3 miles down was to just not let her catch me.  Then I saw Rose's white tank, and I had a whole new goal... CATCH ROSE!   I chased that tank for a good mile before I finally caught her at Razorback.  Admittedly, it was a shallow win because I should have never caught her.  Rose is normally way too fast on descents, but her knee has been seriously bothering her and was giving her a lot of trouble at that point of the race.  (Thank you Donna for running down the final leg with her.)  

One last note, as I started down Baldwin the gal behind me started to "make her move" and I had to really dig deep to pick up the pace yet again.  I caught up to a guy in a bright orange shirt, who started talking friendly smack, goading me on to race him to the finish, so I did... and barely beat him, both of us dusting my stalker.  (It's the little victories, lol!)  

On a side note, this year Eric and I had an agreement... it was his turn to handle everything business/race related from the shirts to the booth experience and it was my turn to just run the race. I took that agreement a little too literally and left sooner than I should have.  Granted, if you had been walking in my shoes once the endorphin rush wore off, you'd have wanted to get them off as fast as possible too, but still...

My congratulations and apologies to our medalists for not staying to cheer you on at the medal stand, you all rocked and I am very proud of you!  My thanks and apologies also to my partner for handling everything solo.  I should have at least checked in before leaving.  My gratitude, thanks and apologies to the MWTR Committee.  I thoroughly enjoyed being on the committee and already know new ways of contributing next year. I now know up close just how challenging this event is to organize and you all did a fantastic job.  Thank you for making this race so spectacular and my apologies for not knowing about the final photo op.

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