This weekend, Saturday, was the Sequoia 30K race. There was a storm in the area so I was quite unsure how the conditions would be. It rained a lot in the south bay on Friday so I was thinking of backing out. But, I have the Oakland Marathon coming up at the end of March and needed a good training run in.
I woke up early and make the drive across the bay. I arrived at the same time as my running friends. One was coming off an injury, another was recovering from a very long flu and another was running the 50K. I knew they would be there, but it was great to see your running friends from the get go. I overheard someone introduce herself to someone (I was just standing near my friends waiting to start). I knew aron was running the race and this person sort of looked like her (from what I could recall) and it sounded like she said her name was aron. I was maybe 60% sure it was her so I introduced myself and she confirmed that it was her. It was great to see another person that I knew on my first trail race!
The race started and I felt good. Though, I was very conflicted. Two of my running friends can generally go faster than me (but one was injured and one had been sick so they were taking it slower). I was not sure if I should wait for them or keep going on. I promised my wife I would try to be back about 1:30/2pm so I wanted to maintain a solid pace. I ended up going ahead (still feel a little bad). :( I enjoy running with people and talking with people, so it can also be very fun to run with your friends. But, I needed a good training run.
Well if I knew what was going to be a head of me, I might have waited for them. The conditions were . . . well . . . muddy. I hate the mud now! There were a lot of rolling hills. Which means a lot of downhills. Which means many muddy downhills. Oh, I was also running in running shoes, not trail shoes (due to my prior knee problems I only feel comfortable in 1 type of shoe and it is not a trail shoe). The downhills were a nightmare for me. I could not stop my speed or, frankly, my direction. It was very frustrating. I would try to go slow and then I would build up speed and I could not slow down. The mud gave me horrible footing. I felt horrible because I almost ran into a couple of runners at various times (including aron . . .sorry). I decided (it was early in the race maybe mile 4 or so) that I would have to walk downhill if it looked muddy. I did not want to hurt myself or, worse, someone else.
I battled the frustration of running in the mud for a while. I actually was not having that much fun. And, running a race is suppose to be fun. Luckily, I ran into this:
The trail is now a little river.
And, the best part of my day was coming home to Brooklyn: