With Ragnar just a a few short weeks away, I have been training hard. The last two weeks I have put in over 30 miles each week along with about the same on the bike trainer. I still have some aches (hip/priformis) and pains (shins), but nothing that will stop me from racing with 11 friends over 200 miles.
While gearing up for this epic adventure, I decided to throw my name in the hat for another – the La Luz Trail Run. The race is run on National Forest trails, so they limit the number of runners on the course to 400 people, hence the lottery system to get in. I kind of feel that this is a right of passage for an Albuquerque runner and after living here 13 years I thought I should give it a go. On Monday afternoon I got the email:
No turning back now! I’m in! Did I mention that when I signed up for the lottery I had only hiked La Luz once in all my years living here? I remember it being hard, but I had hiked it with a bunch of girlfriends and I remember the miles flying by. As a Mother’s Day present to myself, Tom and I got a sitter last Saturday to ‘run’ the trail and see how it felt.
We started out at 7 a.m. with some water and a couple gu, and I stowed away 6 fig newtons for us to celebrate with once we got to the top. We started out strong. We ran all the flat parts and hiked up hills quickly for the first three miles.
It was beautiful looking down on the city from so high up.
And then we got to this…
The Rock Fall area – switch backs of boulders, rocks and pebbles for at least a mile and a half. Last time I hiked the trail I didn’t remember it going on for so long, but this time I certainly noted it. We practically slowed to a crawl to get through this area without falling. I don’t know how the people in the race attack this section of the course, but I am going to make sure that I just take it easy so I don’t twist an ankle and DNF.
After the rock fall, the course twists and turns a few more times and then your at the top!
And while this sign marks the end of the race, you still have a mile or so to get back to the tram that returns you to the bottom of the mountain.:
I would say the run to the tram was probably my favorite part of the day because you are on top of the mountain, running fairly flat trails and have a beautiful 365 degree view of New Mexico.
We finished the course trail in about 2 hours 4 minutes – that included a couple Gu stops and photo ops.
We did not start at the actual ‘start’ of the race – which is 1.8 miles of forest road, so I guess I can hope for about a 2hr 40 min finish in August. The course winners last year completed the course in 1hr15min for men and around 2 hours for women. I certainly won’t be the last person up the mountain, but I won’t be anywhere near the front. I’m looking forward to the training this summer, although spending three weeks at sea level in Wisconsin probably isn’t going to help much – even their largest hill is nothing compared to our mountains. But, the best thing about running a race for the first time is no matter what I complete the course in it will be a PR!