Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race Day: Point Mugu 18K - XTerra Trail Run

The Empire State Building is 1250ft tall.

The peak of the Point Mugu trail run hits about 1190ft above sea level. And yes, we started at sea level. That sea level at the bottom of picture. And that peak you see at the top of the picture. All the way up. And down.
I signed up with my friend to run the 11 mile trail run but she got sick and I decided to brave the trip to Malibu myself anyway.

I've never run a trail race before, and that's probably a good thing because I would have be stressed out, knowing what I know now. That's not to say I didn't have a great time, I did! But there is a whole different psychology to the race. Let me explain:

The course took the group up Up UP into the La Jolla Canyon on the northern part of Malibu. It's a quiet, narrow (single person) dirt path that went so vertical at points that you had to use your hands to negotiate the rocks and creek beds.
In a trail race, as I've learned, the racing mentality sort of goes out the window. Because of the narrow path, you can only go as fast or as slow as the person in front of you. And in combination with the tricky terrain, you end up with inconsistent splits:
Mile 1 - 16:38
Mile 9 - 8:45

Basically, you just can't predict it.

Also - dirt. Everywhere. I got dirt on my toes. Which were in my socks. Which were covered by my shoes. ... Defies logic, I know.

The hills are not hills, they are mountains. The race is not a race, it is an extreme group hike. And the view from 1200 feet overlooking the La Jolla Canyon and the Pacific Ocean was not just a view, it was a humbling experience.

I really enjoyed spending the morning with other trail runners. They are a different breed of racer. It takes something primitive, maybe a little crazy, to run up into the woods, outside of civilization and take up the challenge of nature before you. Very inspiring. Always a good excuse to get out of the head space that is "LA" and "Hollywood".

Now it's back into the head space, at least for the next five days. Here's hoping to morning runs this week!

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