This past Sunday was the final Summer 7 trail run in Auburn. I woke up that morning with mixed emotions. First I was sad because it was the last organized trail run and the chances of me coming back to this area and being able to find my way is (to be honest) slim and the second emotion was excitement because we were running the Blood, Sweat and Beers course that is next Sunday’s big race. The big Kahuna we’ve all been training for.
The day started off with a very cool morning considering the temperatures were supposed to rise considerably by the time I was finished. The course was “about” 10 miles (they are never exact) and consisted of pavement, single track and dirt fire road. Apparently next Sunday’s race will have over 700 people split into a 9 mile and a 5 mile group with two waves within each group. Just picturing the mass of people trying to run these trails gives me the shivers. I don’t think 700 people live in Auburn let alone 700 people (probably quite a few newbies and gym class heroes) running on a trail barely wide enough to fit one person. Next week’s post (if I make it) should definitely be interesting.
Back to my run. We started off on a downhill paved road. This is where Coach T and Coach M said we could probably position ourselves in a spot so that we’re not behind “slower” runners. All of a sudden we make a sharp right turn and we climb and climb up towards the water canal. The water canal path is pretty darn cool. You’re literally running alongside an open water canal system that is peppered with rocks and roots poking up out of the ground. One misstep and some unlucky person could end up IN the canal for an early bath.
About two miles into the course, we descended down a single track that is about a foot wide and goes just straight down. There are no outlets for stopping. There is no stopping on this path. You want to stop but you can’t because there is nowhere and nothing TO stop you from going down. Imagine this with 700 runners (sigh). Again, should be interesting.
The rest of the course was fairly disappointing. A lot more (and I mean a lot more) pavement than I would have liked. I mean it IS a trail race but compared to the secluded out of the way trails we’ve been running on lately, this was highly disappointing. However, I see why. With 700 runners of various levels running on rock covered, uneven paths, there has to be a way for an ambulance to get close to the trail. I mean the title of the race does have the word “blood” in it right? I definitely expect to see some on Sunday.
The course covered some awesome local hot spots like Cardiac Hill (and yes, I now understand why and how it got that name as I am still recovering), Robie Point (from the Western States Trail) and Last Gasp (again, very self explanatory). On Sunday I brought my camera along as any aspiring photo blogger should and in all honesty, I used it as a nice excuse to stop along the trail when my legs (and lungs) were screaming agony at me.
Next Sunday’s race will not be easy. The pressure will be on to run faster. I am not sure I can run any faster. I am not sure I want to run any faster. This course is definitely hard and Coach T’s assessment of the course was right on target. He said it was a “killer course” and he wasn’t kidding. I hope I am around next week to share how it all turned out. In the mean time, enjoy the pictures.