All week the weather channel showed rain for the whole race, so I was prepared for that and I knew no matter what, it would be muddy as we’ve had SO much rain lately. Race morning dawned with no rain predicted till 11 am, so that was cool. I packed a hat just in case. I live close enough to La Cuesta Ranch so I walled over in the morning. I was thinking “smart girl, your car won’t get muddy” and man was I right! La Cuesta Ranch is a gorgeous private working ranch in San Luis Obispo. Literally right in town, behind the college and on the way up the Cuesta Grade. Luis Escobar (Born to Run fame as well as the ultra races in SLO and Santa Barbara counties, put on the event. Check out allwedoisrun.com for more information or find him on Facebook at All We Do is Run. He’s a great guy, very funny, and a wicked sense of humor. When he gave the race start info he said “you’re gonna get lost if you don’t pay attention and email me tomorrow all pissed off. I will respond with the “f” word….fantastic!” LOL, gotta love that. Outfit is Asics trail shoes (didn’t wear my Newtons cause of all the rain), pro compression socks, Oiselle shorts and shirt and Brooks vest. With Nathan Hydration pack, Nuun, Honey Stinger.
Anyway, I plan to run more of his races he is that cool and the races are that epic. We started off with the owner of the ranch shooting off a shot gun! Totally authentic and really was super cool. What better way to start a trail race? We took off and right away there was a hill. Dang, trail race directors love their hills. I was doing the 25k which is roughly 15.3 miles. I was thinking of doing the 50k and my teen was razzing me about it “you have all this fancy gear and you’re only doing the 25k?” but I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew, so had picked the 25k. Very glad I did. I am working up to longer trail races and ultras and do not want to burn myself out mentally. I want to end each race still loving it; and that’s exactly what happened.
Above is a picture from the race; as you can see the rain has greened up our trails and hills nicely so I was in heaven the whole time. Sometimes running trails in California is a bummer cause of all the brown. Not today. I felt like I was running in Scotland (I’m Scottish so that was a thrill) or the Pacific North West. Less trees, but green and rain.
Luis prides himself on making trails for us. Sure, we had some ranch roads but we also ran on single track as well as just hillside; basically where the mountain goats would be or the cattle. It was SO much fricking fun. Seriously felt like a kid again and had a huge grin. Don’t get me wrong, this was a tough course and the hills were steep, I felt like they were at 80% grade!, but it was thrilling and fun and just awe inspiring.
Look at that! For us rain starved Californians this was magical. I took so many pictures, got choked up and just soaked it all in. There were no port-a-potties so we had to pee in the brush. Is it just me or is there something liberating about peeing in the woods? I totally love it. TMI I am sure, but trail runners get it I’m sure!
Yep, there was that much mud! About two miles of it and then back again through it. People were loosing their shoes in it; I was SO grateful mine stayed on but barely. I didn’t want my hands to be all muddy for 10 miles! This slowed us all down except the very fast of us. Somehow those guys soared through this muck. Now I am sure this could have really put a twist in our run shorts, but everyone just smiled and realized this was part of the journey.
Yes, that was the course, the trail! Straight up like a billy goat we went. I loved navigating the rocks and brush…and heading straight up sure tests your heart! WOW, that was a lot. But on top was an incredible view of all of SLO; every vista, 360 degrees. Un-Fricking-Real! WOW. I felt like an explorer back in the day, cresting a ridge and seeing the promised land. Everyone was awesome on the descent, some tricky navigating and we all just were helpful and aware of those around us. I am happy to report I did not fall nor twist and ankle. And again, I was SO grateful for my procompression.com @procompression socks. Not only did they keep me warm and dry, soothe my legs but they also protected me from cacti, brush and other ouchies.
I am also happy to report they washed up totally clean! YAY! Quality product. Throughout the race I wore my Nathan Hydration pack filled with Nuun (nuun.com) and I ate my Honey Stinger (honeystinger.com). This worked out perfectly and I didn’t find I needed anything else. I felt solid the whole race.
The above photo was taken by the race photographer. Please go check out his other work and other photos from the race at mattdayka.com. He is the nicest guy and also a trail runner. He was out there the whole day taking photos. Speaking of out there awhile was my friend, Dauntless Diva (find her on line or FB). She did the 50k and came in 4th for women I believe. KICK ASS! She is an animal. A mom (still breast feeding) and dealing with some health issues, but she brings it each time. Way to go!
Speaking of seeing folks I know, I saw Justin at the end of the race. For those of you who aren’t local can’t cruise into Running Warehouse, he is one of the dudes behind the whole store. Seriously we are SO lucky to have them here locally. Awesome organization and one that helped put on this whole race. runningwarehouse.com @runwiththehouse
This is a no bling race so be prepared if that is a must for you. At the end we cruise up to the tent, ring a bell, have a whiskey shot if that’s your thing (you would be carrying me home if I drank some!) and then showed your bib. That’s it. Plus lots of high fives and chatting. After that, I walked home, showered and ate the delicious breakfast my teen son had prepared. Laying on the coach in my PJ’s and compression socks the rest of the day, hydrating with Nuun and eating worked for me! Well, I did do some yoga and foam rolled but that was about it.
All in all an unreal amazing experience that I will do again. Thanks Luis!