I think one of the best ways to get in a good trail run is to sign up for a race. As someone who is still pretty new when it comes to trail running, I am not sure where exactly to go without getting lost and don’t always have people to run with. Both of those things are solved with a race! When I saw that there was going to be a race in my backyard, I figured it would be a great way to get my long run in for the weekend. I talked Chris into signing up too and that was that… we were running a trail half marathon!
We have run Mt. Diablo a few times together, bust mostly as shorter runs. We did an almost 10 mile trail run 2 weeks ago and last weekend I was sick on the couch. I knew this was going to be my longest run since Nike, but I knew I could do it.
I picked up our bibs and shirts Saturday afternoon and we fueled up with our standard pre-race meal of pizza. I went to bed pretty early and was very grateful that we would get an extra hour of sleep with the time change!
The race didn’t start until 9am and was only 15 minutes away, so we really were lucky with the sleep. We got up with the alarms at 6:45 (7:45), got ready and headed over to Castle Rock Park where the race started. We picked up our timing chips, dropped our stuff off at our car and headed to the start with no problems. I love small races for this!
It had rained all night the night before but the sun was shining and the air was crisp. I knew it was going to be perfect running weather. I wore shorts, a short sleeve shirt and sleeves just incase that I ended up pulling down for most of the race.
I had no strategy or pacing plans for this race. I just wanted to run and finish. I figured I would have to walk a number of the big hills and that was just fine with me. The first 9 miles were all climbing of some sort and then would be pretty much downhill to the finish.
I started off feeling good and ran for as long as I could. We turned onto a single track trail that was pretty steep and the walking/hiking started. I would run where I could and hike the other parts. We kept getting higher and higher and the views were so pretty!
I was very much enjoying myself and having fun being outside with the dirt under my feet. The miles were ticking by and I was eating shot blocks every couple miles. There was some mud out there from the rain the night before, but nothing too bad (compared to what I have experienced before). I would just kick it off my feet when they started getting heavy.
I knew the top of the climbing was at mile 9 but I kept thinking maybe we would get there earlier, but nope we kept going up up up until mile 9! Then we had a super steep downhill for a mile+ that I had fun flying down.
I was pretty much by myself at this point and for the next couple miles. I had picked up the pace with the downhill quite a bit but could tell I was getting generally tired. I just told myself I was getting so close and to just keep on running.
Then I ate it.
With about a half mile to go, I was running along and must have stopped paying attention to where I was putting my feet and my right ankle twisted which made me fall pretty hard. There was a guy in front of me and a guy behind me who both stopped to help me up and make sure I was ok. I had blood on my knee, hands and elbow, but I felt ok and just wanted to get finished! I thanked them and told them I was ok and started running again. It kind of kicked in what had just happened and I realized I had totally lost my breath or had the wind knocked out of me, so I stopped to walk for a minute to catch it.
I know a lot of people who trail run a lot (or who don’t trail run because of this) and fall a lot. Although I am not an expert or that experienced trail running, but I have done a bit of trail running and a few races. I have always waited for this first fall to happen, so today was that day. I figure it was just my rite of passage and was bound to happen sometime!
I started running again just wanting to get to the finish line. My knee was hurting a bit but I kept on running, just slower than I had before. Finally I saw the finish line ahead and was so happy!
13.63 miles/2:29:29/10:58 avg pace
Chris was at the finish and I laughed and pointed to my knee. After I got my medal, I headed over to the first aid tent and they gave us some supplies for Chris to fix me up. This was the first time he had used his EMT/Paramedic skills on me, and I was happy to have him there.
Since then my knee is feeling ok, the scrapes aren’t too bad but I have some road rash on my thigh in addition to the other scrapes. My knee is a little swollen and will probably have a pretty bruise on it tomorrow. I am icing away and covering everything else with Neosporin like a good girl!
Overall, it was such a fun morning, even with the fall, and I am so glad I did this race. It was so pretty out there, the weather was perfect and this race is great. On top of everything, it has been forever since Chris and I have ran the same race which made it even more fun. I have big plans with trail running in my near future, so this was a great place to start. Today I just loved running and I can’t wait to get out there again very soon.
Also for all you bay area runners, I highly recommend any event put on by Brazen Racing. They put on a such a well organized race, with great volunteers, great swag and great finish line food. I was very impressed by everything today and I can’t wait to do another one soon!