Tuesday, August 03, 2010

La Luz Trail Run

This is a race I've wanted to do for awhile. The La Luz Trail Run is a hard race. I've seen a few of my friends complete it and I've been super impressed. If you don't know about the race, you should learn. You run up a mountain. This year I lotteried into the race, got a few practice runs up the trail a bit in May, and was feeling good.

Then I moved to Oklahoma and fell off the training bus.

Still, Paula and I made a trip out to New Mexico to see some friends and see if I could survive the mountain. So, a couple tanks of gas later, I found myself at the start line.

When the gun went off, I started running as slowly as I ever have in a race before. It was funny how slow I was going. I didn't know how the altitude and the incline would beat me up, so I took my time. The first two miles were uneventful.

At the trailhead, we bottlenecked for a little bit, but fell into a steady pace line. I was right behind a guy, and there was a dude right behind me. The pace was slightly slower than I wanted to go. I thought about busting through and getting into my own rhythm, but I decided to let the pack slow me down. I needed to conserve and not waste energy fighting the crowd. At one point, some dude came bashing through without announcing. Since it was a narrow rocky trail, it was annoying. As he went by, I said to myself, "I'll see you later up the mountain."

Once my watch hit 50 or so minutes, right before the second aid station, I decided to break through. A couple "on your lefts" later, I was solo. I was feeling good and enjoying the views. Again, I was holding back and hoping I might have something in the tank at the end. I met that dude from earlier and gave him "the look" as I passed him.

"The Look"

After the next station came the rock garden. It sucked. The rocks were slippery and jagged. My contacts were playing tricks on me, so I couldn't see all that well. Also, my legs were fatigued and I couldn't really put my feet where they needed to go. Running wasn't happening so I walked the rocks.

At the junction towards the end, I tried to HTFU, but couldn't. There was a set of stairs, totally out of compliance with the ADA. It ripped my legs apart. I pretty much walk/runned the last bit.

Just before the finish, there was another runner right behind me. He and I were hanging together. Once I thought there wasn't much left, I encouraged him to follow me to run to the finish. He agreed and we started hustling. Unfortunately, immediately we rounded a corner, there was the finish line, about 20 yards away. We "kicked" too late.

Paula and my Mom met me at the finish. It was fun all around.

I had the pleasure of driving back to OKC with an altitude induced headache. Some fried chicken and Braum's ice cream later, I was ready to start the work week.

Oh yeah, my time was 2:12:50. I'm not proud of that, but I'm glad I finished in relative comfort. Strangely, I felt nearly nothing in my legs the next day. Fried chicken helps recovery.

Now I have to see if Redman is possible.

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