In October, I volunteered at a race put on by the Endurance Race Series. Not only did I have a blast seeing what happens on the other side of the start line, I also received an entry into one of their future races. I quickly signed up for the Del Dios Trail Half Marathon—I had heard great things about the race and thought it would a great way to end my race year.
The week before this race, I ran the Ray Miller 50K and I can’t lie—the elevation of that race impacted my running more than I anticipated. Though I am still streaking, I was also actively resting and had a low mileage week. The Del Dios event offers a half marathon, a 10K and the 5K distance. The week leading up to the race, I kept telling myself I would make a race day decision about what distance I would run.
I woke up the morning of the race and felt pretty good. I had run ten miles the day prior and it didn’t feel awful. I quickly got ready but made a rookie mistake—I didn’t eat breakfast. I don’t usually eat a lot before a race but I always have some type of protein drink and a banana. I definitely know better and I definitely paid for it during the race.
I knew within the first mile of the race that I really had no business running it. My body is still in recovery mode and I could never find my groove. I struggled from the beginning and that struggle lasted most of the race. At one point, I even texted a friend and said I was going to DNF. I contemplated turning at the 10K turnoff and finishing that race (the first part of the half and 10K were run on the same course) After a pep talk and a reminder not to be so hard on myself, I decided that I would finish the half. I knew it would not be my best race. I was even prepared to be the last finisher. But I kept pushing along, running when I could, walking when I needed to and taking it one step at a time. Shortly after mile ten, I caught up with two runners in front of me. We chatted a bit and I asked if they had done the race before. One told me it was her first half marathon—how awesome is that! What she doesn’t know is that was just the little push of encouragement I needed—her accomplishment was a great reminder of how far I’ve come in my own journey and why I love the running community so much. So thank you random runner!
Aside from my performance, there are some awesome things about this race. There were wild fires in Southern California the days leading up the race and the pre-race communication was on point, with updates letting us know what was going on with the race. The course, though a bit rocky, is scenic and was well marked. The volunteers at the aide stations were great, cheering for every runner as they came through. ERS also does finish line areas right—not only do they have the standard fruits and waters, there were chips, pastries, grilled goodies and beer. The swag is also pretty sweet—I love that they offer a fitted tee.
As my race year came to an end with this race, I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings. And I’m excited to announce that I will be joining the Endurance Race Series Ambassador team. With five races in the Sunshine Series, I look forward to seeing you there. The next one is the San Pasqual Valley Half Marathon/10K on February 17, 2018.
How did your 2017 race year go?
Until next time, happy running.