One week after the Wisdom Tree Marathon, Sean & I made our way back up to LA for Keira Henninger’s Griffith Park 50k/Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. We had a ton of friends running and were excited because Keira always does an awesome job. We always have a great time at her races.
We drove up to Manhattan Beach on Friday to stay with Sean’s sister. Driving to LA on a Friday is always a bit stressful since there is so much traffic but it wasn’t horrible until we hit the 405. We managed to get to her house relatively early.
We got our gear out, did our flat runner photos and then headed to bed.
We got up pretty early to drive the 30 minutes to the park. This race started on the other side of the park, by the Merry Go Round, opposite from where we were for the Wisdom Tree race the week before.
Once we got on the road, we hit insane traffic because they closed one of the freeways for construction and had to be re-routed around the airport. It was super stressful since we were already running a little late.
I was texting with Kristina and asked her to pick up our bibs just in case we were really late. We managed to arrive with about 30 minutes to spare but I was a bit nervous.
We got lots of photos with the OM Team and lots of friends running the 50k and other distances.
Keira gave a quick pre-race speech and then we were off! Sean & I were with Kristina for a bit at the beginning and then we all separated on the first little climb.
Once we got up a little ways we were treated to the most spectacular sunrise! This photo I got of Sean really doesn’t do it justice but gives you a little insight into what we saw.
I really had no idea what to expect from this race except that the course was a little short (29.5 miles) and that there was going to be a LOT of climbing, over 6k. If you have followed me for a while, you probably know, I’m not a fan of climbing, LOL.
Anyways, I started off hiking the uphill and running the downs and flats. I chatted with a few other runners and Orange Mud fans. We eventually were treated to an awesome view of the Griffith Park Observatory. The guy I was running with at this point was telling me La La Land was filmed there and that I should check it out.
Just after this we saw Howie Stern taking photos and then we got to another uphill, where there were volunteers cheering us on and sending us down to the left to the observatory.
Down I went, I saw Sean coming back up not too long after I started down. I was having a weird feeling like my right foot was swelling even though my shoe didn’t seem to be overly tight and I had to go to the bathroom. Odd, but I kept moving and eventually got to the bottom where there were more volunteers telling us where to turn around. As I went back up, I saw a bunch of my friends, Jenn, Vanessa, Alexis & Kristina.
The only downside to this race, at least the first half of the race was that there were a lot of other people out on the trails which meant weaving in and out a bit.
I hiked the way back up and once up we headed over to towards the Hollywood sign. We went down a pretty steep trail and then up the road to the sign. At the road there were a few volunteers, I saw one of the guys I followed for a bit at Sean O’Brien directing us up the road. Once we got to near the top, there was a girl there telling us to go up to the flag and when we came down she would give us a wrist band showing that we made it to the top. Once I got to the top, I asked someone to take my photo since I was by myself at this point. Note to self…make sure to tell the person taking the photo to get your feet in the photo too so you can show off your Altras ;). The sign was the turn around spot at about mile 11.5.
I got my bracelet and headed down the road to the little hill that the week before I described as a slip and slide ;). And we did a portion of the course that we did the week before – on the single track section. It was a lot harder to run the single track because it was dry and there were so many other runners coming that it was hard to get any kind of decent pace going.
Once we got back to the road, that the week before would have taken us to the horse trails, this week we headed back up over towards the Observatory. My legs, specifically my hamstrings & glutes, were starting to really bother me around this section and when I saw Smitha, Jenn & Valerie, they asked me how I was doing and I was like my legs hurt! lol
Fortunately we didn’t have to go back down to the Observatory and just headed back towards the start. Those nice downhills were now pretty steep climbs and by the time I got to mile 17 I was hurting pretty bad. I texted Crystal and told her where I was, pretty much whining about the horrible hills. From this point until I was to the final turn around, I was not in the best of moods.
For some reason when I looked at the course map, I thought the course was a loop not a bunch of out and backs, I was kind of confused when I was heading back and didn’t know where the additional miles were coming from. Turns out all the out and backs look a lot like a loop.
Regardless, I finally saw Sean around mile 22 as he was almost back to the finish. I was not happy and complaining about why was I even doing this, I hated running, etc. etc. This has been a reoccurring theme during my long trail runs lately, especially when there are a lot of hills.
And the worst hills were still to come it would appear. I hit the last aid station and headed out for the last out and back. I was not happy when I got there and I was pretty calorie deficient by that point too. I’ve still got to work on my fueling. I got some more CarboPro and kept moving.
As I was heading up a pretty steep hill, another girl passed me and then was like this is horrible, how far up to we have to go. I felt at least a little comforted that it wasn’t just me who was hating these hills lol.
We just kept going up and up and up and then finally I saw 2 people and asked hows much further we had, they told me the turn around was by the trees, which was a lot further than I was expecting. Regardless I got to the turn around and then saw my friends, Jenn, Alexis & Vanessa coming down. Then on the second or third uphill, I saw Kristina and we got a quick photo before continuing on.
I could not wait to be done! Finally I got to the last aid station, had my bottles topped off and was told it was only 2.5 miles to the finish! Hallelujah! I took off and caught Tam shortly afterwards, we chatted for a minute and then I started running again. I’d hike the uphill, run the down.
Finally we got to the final turn back to the finish line. Raul & his son (Founder of Running4ThoseWhoCan’t) were there and cheering me on. I started running and didn’t stop until I got to that finish line.
I was so incredibly happy to have made it to the finish. That was a very tough race.
Sean congratulated me, got a few photos and then I got my medal & buckle from Keira.
We waited for our friends to finish, got a few more photos and then headed back to his sister’s so we could have lunch.
As always Keira does an amazing job and even though mentally I was not in a good place, this was a great race.