While this was not a trail race, knowing the grade that I would be running approximately 8 miles on terrified me. I admit it, I did not train/practice any downhill running which is my own fault. This is 100% on me. What was this going to do to my muscles? Can my knees handle it? How do I run downhill that long? Oye! I was also questioning my abilities with pace going into this. 2 weeks ago I ran my slowest 1/2 marathon in a very long time at the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon. While it was a race full of me being sick and fun selfies, it wast still slow. I was a nervous wreck all week.
We were assigned buses by our last name to take to the summit of the mountain. Lucky me, I was on the 2nd bus (out of 4) which got me to the summit early. Well, the bus driver go lost! We blazed past the start area and started making our way down the other side of the mountain! Finally we got the driver's attention and we turned around but now the 4th bus would be late since we were detoured a few minutes. The bed & breakfast at the top of the mountain was kind enough to allow the runners to wait inside for the race. We had a total down pour for a few minutes so I am glad that we were indoors. I am beyond thankful that I had my friend Mandy there with me that morning. She is an incredible athlete and friend and she really helped my nerves and confidence. We took some goofy selfies together which helped clear my mind before running.
The gun went off and I ran. Just as I have done hundreds of times before - I just ran. About 2 miles in I smiled and thought to myself "you are doing it!" I took smaller strides and leaned slightly into my stride as I ran. I made sure to start off slow and get my legs in a rhythm before gaining any speed. The views were pretty beautiful coming down and a few of the residents on the mountain came out to cheer on the runners. Before I knew it, the first 8 miles were done! I had conquered my fears and I did it! I actually ran the first 9.5-10 miles at my 5K pace which I was very pleased with.
The last few miles were rolling hills through the town of Chattsworth. THIS was the hard part! Most of the runners all said the same thing - the last few miles were tough. While I am usually one who does really well on hills, my body panicked. My legs were unsure what to do now. It was not that I was in pain, my body was confused. I slowed down a bit, but kept pushing. At mile 12.9 I smiled - Becky was along the road waiting for me to arrive and cheer me into the finish!