Saturday, April 21, 2012

Diablo Trails Challenge Half Marathon

El Diablo. What can I say about that little Devil. There is just something about those horns and pitch fork that gets everyone worked up. I, for one, am not a fan. You may recall that I DNF'ed at Satan's playground last September and I want more than anything to avenge that loss this year. 26.2 miles in hell is quite daunting, so I figured I do a little warm up by running the Diablo Trails Challenge Half Marathon.

A part of me wanted to just go for broke and run the 50k. What better way to kick that El Diablo in the Beelzebub than to conquer 31 miles in his backyard? I thought about going for it, but there was no way this was going to happen. I am not trained for this distance on this hellish terrain, so I am not going to take any risks. I can't imagine why anyone would upgrade to the 50k knowing that they are not physically nor mentally prepared for it. Had I done this, I would have just set myself up for failure. It's no fun having to stop your race halfway through with the park ranger taking you back to start line.

I showed up to Diablo ready to rock and roll. Along with my Camelback, salt tablets, and GU, I stuck devil horns on my head to scare away Lucifer and his minions. I'm not going to let El Diablo stop me this time!

Take that, Diablo!

I'm glad I made the decision to stick to the half marathon. It only took a quarter of a mile before the climb started. It didn't help that Mother Nature turned up the furnace. I bet Mama Earth is having some sort of debaucherous love affair with the devil. Why oh why would she do this to us? She definitely sold her soul! In any case, I tried not to let this get to me and I kept plugging along. I wasn't fast, but I kept moving. Had I attempted this race two months ago, I don't think I would be able to get too far. However, I am in BEAST MODE now, so I will do what it takes to get to the finish line. 

As I got deeper into the race, I got more delirious from the heat. The sun penetrated through my skull and pounded at my brain. I quickly developed a migraine. I had to pull over to sit on a rock in the shade and catch my breath. I popped in a pain killer and prayed that the headache would quickly disappear. I was only a little half way through this race and I was already feeling like I wanted to quit. I could only imagine what the 50k'ers were going through! Since I was out in the middle of nowhere, I knew that I had to keep moving. I got up and put one foot in front of the other, whining and complaining as I did so. When I got to the final aid station, the volunteer gave me some ice and a shot of caffeine. Those two things along with the down hill finale helped propel me to that finish line.

Almost there. Almost there. Almost there.
Love seeing the Brazen arch. I'm Done!
HA! Take that Diablo! I win, you lose!
Getting my much needed massage.
Oh Dear! I think the masseuse just hit a nerve!
This guy cracks me up. Remember Chris Jones from Lagoon Valley, the guy who made me luge down that muddy hill? 
Group pic! Check out that giant dog in the front row. No, it's not Chewbacca on steroids.

I learned something very valuable today. When I attempted the Diablo Marathon back in September, I created drama in my head. Yes, I was dehydrated and physically drained, but I let that get to me. I kept pushing myself to get it done when I should have pulled out sooner. I lost my cool, had a few panic attacks, and DNF'ed in the most pathetic fashion possible. I learned today that I must stay focused and run my own race. Even when I mentally lost it, I kept plugging along. I knew when to stop and rest. At any point if I felt that I could not physically move forward, I would have pulled out, unlike back in September. I see too many people trying to achieve other peoples' goals. Running a race to impress someone else is wrong. I learned quite a bit of running and life lessons on the trails today.

I am very happy to complete this very difficult race. I ran smart and was able to finish under five hours. I'm slowly getting back to my pre-Titanium form, which is awesome. There was no way I could have completed that 50k today, and I'm fine with that. Upgrading would just have been plain stupid, being that I am in no shape to do it. Oh how nice it would have been to stick it to the devil though! Nonetheless, I am very proud of my accomplishment today. BEAST MODE!

Yeah Baby!

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