Soooo have you ever signed up for a race and didn't realize it was happening? Oh no? Is that not normal?
Well it has happened to be more than once ... and on one Saturday night (October 26) in LA it was no different.
Let me back it on up.
As we may remember when I left us off on Part 1 of my LA trip, I was in California to run the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon and meet some amazing social media friends.
Once we left the meetup, we headed back to my teammate's house to change and head to his brother's house. He had told me about the 5k his brother was racing that night. Ohhh hello race. My ears perked up. We chatted that morning that if they had an extra entry that I would be fact be interested in running.
Shocking I know. :P
As we headed to his brother's house to play with some puppies before heading to the run, I figured a free extra entry had limited chance of happening so I wore what I wore to the expo to his brother's house. It would be cool to cheer his bro on. I love spectating races.
While in the car, his brother let us know that it was a 10k. Oh cool cool.
We get to Paramount Ranch, where they apparently film shows/movies. Sure.
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As we walk onto the lot, BOOM! There is Linzie from SeeSharpRun! Whhaa?? He had told me he was running a race that night, but what are the odds he would be at this specific one. Well, turns out he is an ambassador for the race series. Hollah!
Ray (my teammate) asks the race director Keira if she possibly has an extra space for me - the girl that has come all the way from Boston. And generously Keira said Yes.
So there it was. After running a 10k training run that morning, it was time for my second 10k of the day. Bring it!
Sweet swag and Finisher's Medal!!!
I was ill prepared clothing wise, but thankfully had my Got Chocolate Milk #TeamReful racing t-shirt on and my regular running shoes. The two-sizes too big Lululemon yoga pants would have to work. :P
This race was also (if you couldn't tell by the name) being held at night and I did not carry a headlamp in my pocketbook. (Note to self: carry headlamp at all times) The rule was you had to have some sort of light with your person so out came my trusty iPhone Flashlight app. Yup, laugh away folks. ;)
Now the group offered me some little flashlights, but thankfully Linzie had the best headlamp ever invented so I decided that he would be stuck with me the whole race. What? We had met a few hours earlier that day so we were ready to become BFFs.
I have done three local trail runs here in Boston that aren't as intense trails as I would experience at this race and they were in the daylight.
Who doesn't love a new challenge right?
Here is how the site described the event:
Runners of all levels and abilities are given the chance to practice and experience trail running in the night. This race will be a fun and very safe event, and all the while everyone will be able to enjoy the spirit and festivities of the Fall season.
Join us for two 3.1 mile loops of runnable non technical single track trails. This course is a fairly easy course with very little hills or climbing. Witness the trails of the night become illuminated by glow sticks, goblins, and loads of fun! Stay after the race for a haunted post race party in the historic old ghost town of Paramount Ranch. This is a Trail Race that should not be missed!
Thankfully Linzie agreed to stick with me during the race so we lined up together and were ready for the two 3.1 mile loops. Keira let us know that there would be volunteers and glowsticks along the course letting us know where to go.
Oh! And since it was a Halloween themed events there would be spooks and ghouls along the course. Umm yay?
The horn sounded, we headed out and I started my Runkeeper. Oh yeah, I forgot the Garmin at the house. (Note to self: ALWAYS carry Garmin in my pocketbook)
Right off the bat I knew this would be challenging. Again wicked thankful that Linzie had his "it looks like noon on a Sunday" headlamp on because my flashlight app wasn't cutting it.
First incline in I knew I was in for a long race. Being sick didn't help with my breathing. Oh boy! I sounded ROUGH, but knew physically I could make it through.
Linzie was on my page. This race wasn't about time, but about conquering the feat AND making it through injury free. We both had that pesky half marathon in the morning. ;)
Let me tell you it is tough running at night (I rarely do it!) and I felt okay slowing down to avoid injury.
I tried to enjoy and soak up the experience as much as possible. It was great to chat with Linzie the whole time about running, the Boston Marathon, blogging, Run Disney, life, etc. We are both doing the Dopey Challenge so it was nice to commiserate on our craziness together.
And I loved that as we approached a steep incline Linzie would say: "Endurance training baby! Endurance training!"
Ummm ... yay! :P But it was exactly what I needed to hear.
I, again, am a newbie trail runner and I thought to myself how are we not done with one loop yet? We finally emerged to the Start to stop for water and start the next loop. My breathing was so labored due to being sick I thought about stopping. Then I caught a glimpse of the medal out of my right eye.
Oohhh no I will NOT NOT get one of those babies. (that enough nots?)
I grabbed a quick sip of water and we were off again.
Now, I thought the second loop would be harder than the first, but it really wasn't. I knew it would be rough, but I was okay with walking.
There were a few inclines where we had to walk up to catch our breathe and I said: "This is ALL counting towards my 1,000 miles run in 2013." Thankfully Linzie agreed. ;)
The terrain was uneven (as one would expect) and there were some turns where I started to slip slightly down the hill due to lose gravel, but with the help of the headlamp we were able to recover.
I wish I could better articulate the elevation we traveled. I unfortunately couldn't snap any pictures since well - it was pitch black out.
As we moved/ran/walked/hustled/chatted through that second loop, a sense of sheer joy came over me. I was going to do it. I was going to accomplish 2 10ks in one day. Damn pride came over my whole body. I would never have thought a few years ago that I would look forward to doing something like that.
We realized we were just 1/2 a mile from the Finish and it was time to kick it up. We wanted to finish strong and finish strong we did.
We came out of the trails and back to the main Barn area...
... and I was given my medal by the cutest little Star Trek character of them all. I wish I had gotten a picture of him. He was probably 5 or 6 and just the cutest thing ever.
I am beyond thankful for Linzie. I wouldn't have completed the race or had half as much fun without him. It is funny to meet someone you have chatted with online in person and you just hit it off. I felt that way with him.
The race was really well run, the course was easy to follow, the volunteers were excellent and the ghosts/ghouls along the course were definitely scary. I can admit I screeched more than once along the way.
And the post-race party/spread was amazing. These trail runners know how to snack ... and I like it. :)
My Runkeeper also did a really great job tracking the race since I was out in the hills.
I officially finished in 1:20:54 - good for 34th overall out of 69.
I can't thank Keira enough for this opportunity. It was truly life-changing.
If you are in the LA area, please please please check out on of Keira's trail races. The group was so welcoming to this clear outsider and I had a great time!!
Have you ever taken part in an impromptu race? Are you a trail runner?