The runners ahead are disappearing into the mist as quickly as the ones behind are emerging. Man, my calves ache. Does this trail ever level out? It looks like it climbs straight up into the grey clouds.
“TIBBY!” At the tale end of her cry, her voice cracks with desperation. An unraveling woman, somewhere in the mist below me, is frantically climbing these hills…with a golf club. “TIBBY!”
Now I can see them. As I approach, the mist clears, and the wall of runners forming a barrier across the trail seem slightly agitated, as if their fast twitch muscles can’t stand being still. They manage to hold their position as they watch with hopeful eyes. Between me and the wall of runners, one man kneels down. His companion sits obediently by his side as he takes the leash and makes a lasso. With patient words, he reaches out with the lasso in an attempt to secure the frightened runaway. But Tibby, a wiry little Whippet, eludes him again.
Last Saturday I got to join the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon training run with about 70 other people. This race doesn’t take place until Saturday, November 17th. However, to foster the trail community and encourage folks to try trails at all, race director, Keira Henninger, sets up several training runs prior to her events and they seem really well attended.
So here is the course with elevation profile from the event website. Click the map below to enlarge. This course is pretty tough. It starts with a steep climb and has three out-and-back sections, and a cave! So, not for the faint at heart. Total elevation gain: 5,096 ft. Total elevation loss: 5,101 ft. I felt like I was either going up or down but rarely level. Actually, that was kind of a treat.
Here is a fun video of Saturday’s training run by Leo of Running LA. Can you spot me in my yellow Ultra Swift Running Skirt?
I HIGHLY encourage participating in training runs prior to a trail race. If you are a competitive racer, this gives you a chance to get a feel for the terrain and know how to approach the race. If you’re competitive but only with yourself, this helps you get to know the race day course and cuts down on the chances of you getting lost, so you can push for that PR. Most training runs like this are completely free and you are completely responsible for bringing your own supplies (water/fuel) – aka unsupported run. Great way to meet some other trail runners, too.
I have now unofficially ran the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon, making good use of my power-hike muscles. I was pretty beat, however. Took me about 3 hours. Woof.
Saturday was supposed to be a 20 mile day according to my wishful training plan…and I may have gone out for another 7 on the road later that day but fate dropped an old friend from China into my lap (aka downtown Hollywood) at just the right moment for me to catch up with her (i.e. rescue her from the street corner). Catching up with her was a blast! It’s been 5 or 6 years since we last met (in China). She is now a brilliant scientist in New York City studying the human genome and finishing her PhD in computational biology. What have I been doing with my life?! Oh, right. Running.
- Bumming a ride from Keira to the run. Getting to know her a bit was awesome.
- Seeing my old TNT coach, Kate, who is now a badass ultra runner.
- Meeting new trail runners (like Jessica and her husband Leo the video man).
- Hearing Jimmy D (SoCal Coyote leader) yell “Tibby!” through the canyons all morning.
- Catching up with Claire over another Slater’s 50/50 creation.