(Romero Canyon-Buena Vista Trail)
(I can say that-- I'm from Southern California. From Santa Barbara, in fact, which is where this run is.)
So two years ago, I DNF'd at Santa Barbara 9 Trails. This race is legendary in Santa Barbara and holds a large amount of charm for me because it's on trails I hiked with my parents while I was growing up. I DNF'd because of my knee issues relating to my weak posterior, and then last year a) I broke my foot in September and b) the Tea Fire caused the race to be relocated to Ojai, which I have passing but not deep affection for. This year, the Jesusita Fire destroyed much of the Santa Barbara front country trails, and I was terrifically sad to think that I would be shut out from revenging myself on 2007's DNF yet AGAIN.
Fortunately, the RD Luis Escobar has created a new race, the Red Rock 40, that adds miles to the trails AND will be run on some of the more remote Santa Barbara back country trails. I managed to get myself entered (it's sold out already), and as I was down in SB for my father's inaugural wine bottling extravaganza (yes, he's making wine!!! and it's really good!!!), I decided to warm up the wine bottling by starting at the 1/2 way point and running along part of the trail to get myself used to it.
Now, in 2007 when my knee was an issue, I remember thinking this part of the race was very tiring, but I chalked it up to being exhausted mid-race.
Ha ha ha ha ha!!!
No. The reason I remember this being tiring is because the trail is RIDICULOUS. I couldn't believe how long it took me to do 5 miles. There was absolutely no flat or rolling on this section of trail. It was either grueling up or "I-need-to-walk-this" downhill. I seriously slid (yes, even in my fabulous Wildcats!) trying to WALK down a couple of sections. I decided I needed to do every single one of my long runs going up and down Eagle Peak on Mt. Diablo. Not just running Mt. Diablo--running ONLY Eagle Peak (Or walking and then trying not to slide downhill, which is how one "runs" Eagle Peak).
Over and over in my head I kept thinking, "You're doing 40 MILES of this in November. What on earth possessed you to do that?"
Fortunately, the trail affords plenty of gorgeous views while one is gasping for air, and I suppose that will be my consolation for spending a large number of hours running Red Rock 40.
Because, dude-- this race is going to kick my slowly-gaining-strength glutes.