Wow, what a week/weekend/month this has been. Can you believe we’re in the final week of September? I can’t. I’m definitely ready for the holidays and fall weather!
This past Saturday, I participated in the Malibu Canyon Dirt Dash. As I was looking for races online a few months ago, this one caught my eye. The price was right, and the challenge seemed like a fun one. You had the option to run a 5k Trail Run, 10k Trail Run, or 5k Obstacle Course/Mud Run. You could also choose to run the trail run AND the mud run. I decided I was up for the challenge and signed up for the 5k Trail Run followed by the 5k Mud Run. A decision that made me question my insanity multiple times on Saturday…
5am: The alarm clock went off and it was time to get ready and head out. We hopped in the car, made a few stops for staples like gum and egg/cheese bagels (this was a gamble as to whether it would sit well in my stomach; it worked fine), and made the 30 minute drive to Malibu.
6:45am: We arrive at the destination. I got my race bib and chip and we walked around for a bit to see what the competition was like. I’m not competitive at all. 🙂 There weren’t many vendors, as it was a small race. I was nervous for this race, as I’d been training a bit but mostly on flat roads, not trails. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
7:45am: They called all of the 5k Trail Run participants to the starting line. I grabbed my headphones, got my music going, and stood near the front while my heart raced. It was serious mode time and I was ready to go. I was excited and nervous all at once. I was really hoping to break a PR, but just didn’t want to finish feeling disappointed.
8am: The gun went off and out I went. The first few hundred yards of the race was through wood chips. If you’ve never done this before, it’s a cross between running through dirt and running through loose sand. It was difficult and kind of nerve-racking since my ankles didn’t feel very stable. Soon enough, we settled into dirt trails and I was feeling pretty good. I knew I was pushing myself hard, but when my 1st mile pace was around 7 minutes, I knew I had started way too fast. I am an 8-8:15 pace runner. I was surprised with how long I was able to sustain that. I came up on mile 2 and was still feeling like I could keep it up for a bit longer (although I was definitely feeling it). I think at this point I was running at about a 7:15 pace.
At mile 3, I realized we were about to run UP THE MOUNTAIN. I didn’t look at the course map too well beforehand and failed to realize that the final part of the race was almost completely uphill. My pace slowed a ton and I even had to walk for a few seconds at the top of one of the hills. I tried not to, but I couldn’t breathe at one point. I think I was at around a 9-9:15 pace through this.
After my short walk break, I started running again and decided that even if I felt like I was going to puke, I was going to run my heart out. The course actually ended up being longer than 3.1 miles (3.31) so I knew my time wouldn’t be the 25:30ish I’d hoped for.
I crossed the finish line feeling like I was going to die, but feeling that I had given it everything I had. I knew that I couldn’t have given it any more. That’s a good feeling. My final time was around 27:22. I was good with that considering the uphill and the extra .2 miles.
Since my genius brain had signed me up for the first wave of the mud run (I picked the 9am start time, so I basically got a 30 minute break before my next 5k on the SAME TRAIL, but not with obstacles too!), I didn’t have much time to chill. At this point, I was quite sure that I was crazy for signing up for both races. I didn’t have a ton left in me and made the executive decision that I didn’t have any time goals for this and it was going to purely be fun. If I needed to walk, I would walk (although I didn’t end up having to). I ate a few Sharkies and headed to the start once again.
9am: Once again, the gun went off and I set out on the same trail. My legs literally felt like led stumps. They were HEAVY. The first 1.5 miles was just running. I fell into a comfortable pace and just waited until I came up to some obstacles. I was probably running around 8:45-9 min. miles. At around 1.75 miles, the obstacles started. This was all new to me, but I knew I’d love it. There were piles of tires to climb over, walls to climb over, slippery hills, mud crawls, tunnels, rope climbs etc. I was tired and pushing everything I had, but it was SO much fun.
I crossed the finish line in about 38 minutes. I was done and felt completely exhausted. In an amazing way.
As I was showering off and trying to decide if I should just throw away all of my clothes and shoes (and maybe myself?), I heard my name over the loud speaker. It took me a second to realize what was going on, but my boyfriend and I looked at each other and realized what the announcer had said. “1st Place, Lizzy Ostro!!!!” My eyes got wide and I ran to the stage to collect my medal. It was SO unexpected and it solidified all the hard training I had put in and the hard work that I had mustered out throughout the race.
This race was SMALL, so it wasn’t like winning the Rock n’ Roll Marathon, but I was still happy with how I did. I got 1st place out of 10 in my age group, 4th female overall, and 10th runner overall out of 66 participants.
I would highly recommend running this race if you are local in LA. It was a small but well put together race. Everyone was extremely nice, the course was mapped out pretty well, and the price of the entry for both races was very reasonable. I think I paid around $65 total for both races.