Saturday, May 5, 2012
With an endless amount of 5k and 10k race opportunities out there, you may be asking yourself what draw there could be to a race in a off-the-radar beach town. Besides providing peeks of the beautiful pacific coast and a brief escape from urban life along shrub lined dirt paths, this race shouldn't be missed for the workout challenge that defines it. If you are one of those masochistic individuals (*cough*cough) on the hunt for the a truly challenging race, the kind that makes your legs scream, causes you question the reliability of your judgment ("at what point in time did I think this would be fun?") and leaves your lungs feeling desperately deprived for air: this race fits the billet.
Having recently read The Hunger Games series, I was transfixed by the idea that I had landed myself in a racing arena designed by a calculating game-maker out to test my will with a physical challenge. Most 5k, 10k, any-k, courses will have hills. They are the accents of the race that you gear up for, the challenge points. Not the case here. The entire course is a seemingly endless series of hills: one giant challenge point. You find yourself surprised when you come around a bend without a hill immediately beckoning you forth. There are, of course, some flats and downhills: savor them. And keep in mind: whatever you go down with an internal shriek of joy (as you increase your speed due to gravity's alliance with your legs) you must also come back up at some point in the not-too-distant future.
The challenge is thrilling. You end feeling exhausted - yes - but also with a undeniable sense of accomplishment. More so in a course this challenging, then the typical race which has a few hills here and there. Even as you are running it you are already thinking about who you want to recruit to join you in this rugged trot next year. So don't let the rigor of it intimidate you, if nothing else this race shows you that your body is capable of more than you think, its a real confidence boost actually. Metaphorically speaking it becomes tangible proof that you can get through the obstacles of life, no matter how many or how steep they are, and reach your personal finish lines.
So if you live in So Cal or simply want an annual excuse to travel to beach town, make the San Clemente Trail Run a tradition.