Happy Birthday, Dad! This race is for you!
Yesterday I ran the Holcomb Valley 33 Mile Trail Run. It was quite uneventful--which is a good thing! You don't want a lot of problems when you are trying to enjoy a good, long run! After a few lessons learned from my last few races, I wanted to make this a really good race. I did a few more long runs to prepare for this. I made sure to eat well in the days leading up to the race. I also started taking salt caps during the run, though I'm still not sure when to take them or how much to take. I just look at what the other runners are doing.
I spent the night in Big Bear, sharing a cabin with Corrinne and Lisa. There were about 10 members of the Trail Headz running either the 33 miler or the 15 miler, including, Skip, Sue, LT, Pete Vara, Jon R., Paul, Corrinne, and Lisa. While we were focusing our minds on this race, we were also thinking a lot about our fellow Trail Headz down at the SD100. This was a big race weekend for our club! So when I started my race at 7:00 a.m., my friends at SD100 were still running a race they had started at 6:00 a.m. the day before! They were in their 26th hour of running! Yikes!
So, with that perspective in mind. . .
The race began and I kept my strategy of starting out slow. I've always started out my races really fast. With all the adrenaline and excitement at the beginning of a race, I'm usually really pumped at the start, so I start out really strong. Knowing that the first section of the course would be uphill and rocky, I told myself to take it easy. Well, that wasn't too hard! Less than 2 miles into the race, almost all of the runners were already walking. As the course flattened out and people started passing me, I just told myself, "Don't worry about them! Let them go." Keeping this relaxed attitude made for an enjoyable race.
My iPod was loaded with some brand new music. I was sick of my old running mix of classic rock and 80's rap, so my friend Farrah put a bunch of electronic, trance, and house on my iPod. It was quite refreshing to have some new music. Even though this course was at elevations ranging from 6,700 to 8,000 feet, the altitude didn't seem to affect me at all. The weather was beautiful with clear sunny skies and temperatures ranging in the 60's and 70's. While there were lots of technical rocky sections, there were also plenty of very runnable, rolling, single track. The scenery was great, too! I'm used to the small dessert shrubbery we see on the Orange County trails, but up in the mountains there were lots of pine trees and views of other mountain ranges off in the distance. I even met a llama on the trail! Random! Like I said, the race was quite uneventful! I was able to think about lots of things, like my dad's birthday! He was born June 8, 1947--exactly 61 years ago! After the race, I had plans to head over to my parent's house for his birthday party. I always think about my dad whenever I am camping, hiking, or someplace up in the mountains. I give him credit for my love for the outdoors since he used to take the family camping a lot when we were kids. He is a geologist, so on road trips, he would point out extinct volcanoes off in the distance. Or, he would say, "See those lines on the side of the rocks over there? Thousands of years ago, there used to be a lake right here." And me and my brothers and sisters would look around us in amazement. He also took us to a place up in Idaho where we would look for trilobite fossils. I remember going to Meteor Crater and the Petrified Forest. At the Grand Canyon, he was like our family's very own tour guide. He liked telling us about how different types of rocks were made. And for some reason, I actually thought that was interesting. He also likes astronomy. So when camping, and the stars came out, Dad would point out the different constellations. "See those three stars over there? That's Orion's belt!" He liked to schedule campouts during the annual Perseid's meteor shower in August. I also remember waking up really early one morning in 1986 and driving out past the city lights to see Haley's Comet. He said if I live long enough, I'll get to see it again! I only hope I live that long if I can still run! Those were some great things to think about during the race. I'm so thankful for my dad and all the great memories! Thanks, Dad! I love you!
So I finished the race feeling good with a time of 7:56:29. That's a lot faster than my last two 50K's which were 2 miles shorter than this! I came blazing across the finish line, screaming, both hands in the air. . . And then I stopped, and looked around, and realized all the Trail Headz had gone home! Of course I didn't expect anyone to wait around for my slow butt to finish, but since joining the Trail Headz, I'd become used to crossing the finish line to find all my friends there, and all the high-fives, hugs, and swapping war stories from the race. This time, I crossed the finish line, looked around, shrugged my shoulders and then went to celebrate my dad's birthday!
Next race: Mt. Disappointment