The Saddleback Marathon put on by Old Goat Races here in San Diego County was my first marathon, ever, and it totally kicked my ass!
Let’s be honest, I did not train properly and tried to fudge my way through the entire race, but who was I fooling? I could barely catch my break even when I was going down hill and at one point I began seeing pink and purple fairy’s flying around in front of my eyes. You would think that someone slipped absinthe in my handheld but I was just pushing my body way to hard. I made it to the top of Traubuco Hill and vowed to never sign-up for another race… three days later I signed up for the Ridgecrest 50K.
I got into trail running after taking a writing class in college and my Professor assigned us a book called Born to Run by Chris McDougall. The book consumed me, I read cover to cover in one night and I was fascinated by the idea of running any distance further than a marathon. I thought “how could any human possibly do that in today’s society?” Fast forward 6 months and I was training for my first marathon.
I had never experienced anything like this. FREEDOM. PAIN. COMMUNITY. Trail running is different from any other sport because there is no competition (in my opinion), just simple folk who are there for the same reasons as I am. To get some exercise and find your soul along the way.
Everyone is so dang friendly and there is never a dull moment on the trail. It took me 7:25:09 (hours:minutes:seconds) to complete my first marathon and it did not go without blood, sweat & tears. It was close to mile 18-20 when I thought to myself “what the hell am I doing here? I do not belong here. I am going to die out here!” and that was when I met Mr. Bud Phillips who led me the rest of the way across the finish line. He is an older fellow who has seen his fair share of Ultras (5 time Hard Rock Finisher) and told me the best stories just to keep my mind off of the blisters popping in between my toes. Bud did not leave my side the entire race and cheered me on until the last step, I’ll never forget that day. That is why I love trail running because it is about camaraderie and companionship above anything else.