Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Mount Laguna Trail Marathon race experience

I was woken up at 5:30 am and quickly got started getting all my stuff ready to head out the door. I had about a 45 minute drive ahead of me. I am also not the best at directions so, even though I have been to this start line before, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get there without stressing. The race started at 7:30 so that gave me plenty of time to get there. I always stress about having everything I need and what I am slowly learning is that you really don't need that much stuff. Honestly, I think I know that I just don't trust that I don't need all the stuff.
This was definitely a race I have been looking forward to running. I have great memories of running this course. It is a very serene place to run. We got an email the night before from the race director Kathleen Baker letting us know it was going to be a cold morning. She was right. 

I got there on time and checked in. I saw Gayle a familiar face at check in and that was nice. I got a big hug from her and we got a talk from the race director telling us all the last minute things we needed to know and off we went. 

 I think I started in the middle of the pack. We quickly spread out so I ran alone for 90% of the race. It was cold so I had on two long sleeve shirts on and a jacket and pants. That's a lot of clothes for me but they kept me warm and I kept the jacket on until I got to the second aid station.  The aid station volunteers were  great people. I was thinking on my run it would be so cool if in life we had aid station volunteers just helping us out every couple months. Smiling telling us you look good and asking us how can I help you? OMG this world would be a happier place. The Mount Laguna Trail marathon had a very sweet caring group of aid station people. I got everything I needed quickly and was on my way. They made me laugh too. 

The views took my breath away or maybe the altitude took it away but let's just say it was the view. I loved the crisp air and the smell of winter even though its only fall. There was nothing but mountains all around me . The colors varied all sorts of shades of green and browns and yellows going on. The sky looked huge and full of clouds with cool grey tones. I felt a little rain once in a while it was a beautiful run. 

I really appreciated how well marked the course was it helps that side of me that always afraid of getting lost relax and just enjoy the reason I was out there. This is definitely a race I want to run every year. I really did not get tired at all. I am not the best at running down hill on theses trails either so I was careful. I will say that I know I really need to run on trails a-lot more if I want to get better at this. My better would be to run these races at a 10:30 pace instead of 12/13 minute pace. I know I can do that I just need to figure out how and write it down. I did not listen to my music once. I never thought that day would come but I did not want to miss out on listening to the mountains. I did not want to miss out going were my mind was taking me. I was in running heaven. This course  is a single loop of technical single track trail covering mostly rolling hills. The elevation gain is 3,358 feet with the first half marathon running on Pacific Crest Trail overlooking Anza Borrego Dessert. The second half climbs Champagne pass and through the meadows of Big Laguna Lake. 

This is the meadow you see 2 miles before the finish. I saw a friend Rachel there and said hi. She looked strong. I tried to take it all in at this point . How much I love this sport. How beautiful the meadow was. How lucky I always feel to be healthy enough to be able to run. I thought about my sister a-lot on Sunday and if I had one wish it would be for her to be able to walk or run so she could feel what I do. My sisters name is Carmen and if she was not severely handicapped I know with out a doubt she would be out here running with me. This is the race I would choose for her. 

My race experience was a good one. I would give it 5 stars. There was around 70 people running and only 1 dropped I think. The winner ran it in under 3 hours! (WTF) that is what I thought. That is amazing. The fastest female was 4:13. My time was 5:51. I was happy with my time. 

This is what I look like when I want to cry after a race. I missed my people. They couldn't come so this was my first time finished and they were not there.  I do have to say that when I crossed the finish line I did not feel alone. The race director cheered every one across the finish line and gave me a huge hug. She was very kind to me and I even stayed and hung out after.They had good food and good beer too. Cookies and a nice heater to keep you warm.  The group of people who run these races are very cool and grounded people.  The race director of The Hodges 50k was also there so I told him what a good time I had running his race too. So what I learned is I really do love running on trails. So remember I told you my medal I received at this race a couple years ago was my favorite. Wait till I show you what I got this time. So if you live in Southern California you should put this race on your list. It is a race you do not want to miss…             MT. Laguna Trial Marathon.

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