Saturday, February 11, 2012

Drinking leads to the Mt. Wilson trail (again!)

A pattern seems to have emerged - meet certain friends for drinks at Amigo's in Pasadena, drink a potent margarita that makes my lips go numb while my mind latches on to crazy suggestions, and then somehow find myself in the quaint little town of Sierra Madre, CA in order to 'conquer' the Mt. Wilson trail.  Just like back in May, right? This morning, however, was just a practice run to work up to the 2012 Mt. Wilson Trail Race.  Last year, I ran it illegally, my first and only bandit run to this day.  I plan on running it as a legitimate participant this year!

But back to this practice run.  Our margarita-drinking friend is a trail running fiend and has been running the trail on a regular basis since November, and he threw out the proposal last night - meet up at 10:00 and run 4.3 miles up, up, up, with a gain of 2100 feet.  When we arrived at Sierra Madre this morning, I confess that for a brief moment I hoped that our friend would have forgotten about the idea he proposed.  No such luck!  Before we started the climb, I felt just like I did on race day last year - pretty damn nervous, almost scared, which seems silly because I knew that I could turn around or stop or walk at any time.  However, the trail is a beast and intimidates me psychologically as well as physically!  We started in town, climbing up a steep hill that leads to the trail, and then we were on the trail.  It was a pretty perfect day, overcast but not cold, and everything was still green, flowers blooming even, unlike the trees and brush in May which have already turned golden.  Rob took off at a strong pace, leaving Michael and me trailing along behind.  I hoped to make it at least 2-3 miles up the trail and then turn around when Rob was on the downhill.  However, when we met up (he going down, I still trudging up), he told me that I was almost at the turn-around point and encouraged me to continue.  So, I did, in his company! And then we headed down, soon meeting up with Michael who was also close to the "top" (not the officially summit but our turnaround point), so we all three headed back up to the turnaround.  Finally, we committed ourselves to the long run down the hill - or mountain.  I always forget how the downhill presents its own set of challenges, different from the uphill trudge.  It is faster but not necessarily 'easier' as I have to pay close attention to my footing and at times can't look beyond the next step for fear of falling off the side of the mountain. On this occasion, I probably would have walked a bit more on the downhill, but it was chilly at the top, and I had to keep running to stay warm!

We made it back to the car around 12:00, put on more clothes, grabbed some food and bragged about our run.  Okay, no bragging rights.  We (I) mainly moaned and groaned as we talked about the challenge of Mt. Wilson and how humbling it is!  However, there was a general sense of contentment that we actually survived the entire 4.3 miles up the mountain through a combination of running, walking, shuffling and gasping.  I admit that it wasn't pretty, but we all made it!

Before we departed, we made plans to do the run all over again in March.  Craziness must be contagious.

6 comments:

mindful mule said...

Awesome running with you guys! Hope y’all are recovering quickly… Can’t wait for the next round (Marg’s and Wilson, both).

ChezJulie said...

So did you make it to the top? Did you have a good view?

If you don't mind me saying, I think your posts would be a LOT easier to read if you added paragraph breaks. They're already a bit challenging because it's white text on a black background! Maybe that's my age...

Kristina said...

Rob - We actually feel better this morning than we expected! We've got our eye on March for that wicked combination!

Chez Julie - We made it the turn-around point for the race. One of these days we'll hike the entire trail, not run it. Thanks for the points about extra paragraph breaks (because of course there are breaks, just difficult to see).

Kalli said...

love that you comitted over drinks -hee hee done that a few times and love that you survived and want to do it again!

Ameena said...

I love that you ran a race illegally. Who knew that could actually be the case? So funny.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day my friend! I think your blog is great, even without additional breaks. :)

Kristina said...

Kalli - Oh jeez, the drink commitment is such a common occurrence! You would think that I would learn but no such luck.

Ameena - I didn't even know that there was a term for illegally running a race, but there is. The only reason I felt bad about not paying is that they do have people giving out water. Which I didn't take because I felt too guilty! And, well, there are all these people who DID pay to run, so it felt as though I was cheating.