We started the morning at 6:20, since we were staying in Escondido and didn’t have to drive all the way down from LA. The morning was cold, I hadn’t slept well, and I did NOT want to get out of bed. Or get dressed. Or run a race.
We grabbed our go cups of coffee and headed out. Try as I might, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. We drove through the fog/drizzle to Lake Poway and checked in at the race site. We listened to the briefing for the Bad Ass racers (they carried 30-50 pound packs and all their own water) before they set out, and then we had a half hour to wait before we took off.
I was miserable. I was positive that I was going to get lost, die, be unable to finish, or be the last one across the line (strangely enough, all of these fears felt exactly as awful…yay type A!) I tried to talk Leo into changing our “racing alone” strategy to stick with me, but he gently refused and reminded me that I had signed up because I wanted a challenge.
Which is true. I’m trying to fail at more things, rather than not trying anything at all. But I didn’t expect a challenge to feel so scary. Lesson learned.
I ate a Larabar (chocolate chip cookie dough btw, the only flavor I really like), before pulling on my gloves and getting out of the car. It had started to rain, and I briefly thought about putting on my thicker shirt, or my fleece but decided not to. (I would think about this decision ruefully a little later).
We heard our briefing, then took off. I really focused on not killing myself too early on in the race. Basically, we raced up a mountain, then back down, with a few fitness challenge stops along the way. The worst one was definitely the station that started with 10 tuck jumps and 10 pushups, then 9 tuck jumps and 9 pushups, and so on down to 1.
We all slowed down a little when we got to steep switchbacks partway up the mountain. It was raining pretty steadily, and I was already soaked. But it was strangely fun to just keep trudging along up a mountain. I couldn’t see very far in front of me, or any distance off the mountain, since we were essentially inside a cloud. Gradually, I was all alone on the mountain.
I had been really worried that it would be too steep for me to handle (since I do not do well on actual “climbing”), but it was all do-able. At the top (where I later found out it was sleeting), we had to do 100 mountain climbers before heading down the mountain again. After my mountain climbers, I decided that my goal was to run the entire way down the mountain without stopping.
It was quite an adventure, as it was raining harder now, and I had to perfect a glasses wiping manuever that involved taking my glasses off with the least muddy portion of my gloves, wiping them on the back of my shirt (least muddy part), and then putting them back on. I did this probably every 8 minutes or so down the mountain. My arms were really numb at the top, and I started smacking them to get the blood flowing a little.
Despite all this, I was having a FANTASTIC time. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, and I felt like such a badass covered in mud and sprinting down a mountain in the rain. That feeling only intensified when I was ordered to drop and perform 10 burpees in a mud puddle, before running up the hill to the finish.
I came down with a brutal cold later that day that I’m still recovering from, but it was totally worth it. Best run of the year so far.