With the Chanoko 30k behind me I was now ready to step it up and tackle the Knickerbocker 35k. Seemed like a great progression towards my goal of the Gold Rush 50k May 14. Before signing up I loosely studied the course map. Although I have not run these Auburn trails before, racing in Auburn is essentially like racing in my backyard so I was familiar with the area.
Heading into this race I was more concerned about the race distance than the climbing but I can tell you once I got out there it was a different story. I had NO idea what it meant to climb 5000 feet in 21 miles; let alone 1000 feet in less than a mile. Walking/hiking up these steep climbs was far more painful than running 21 miles. My calves and glutes burned – from walking! I don’t think I felt anything like it before. Halfway up the climb I lifted my head and uttered “You’ve got to be kidding me.” The runner next to me advised me not to look up and keep plugging along. Perhaps the best advice I received all day!
When the top finally arrived it felt so good to be running again. With limited trail experience I am not used to having to walk because of the terrain and it was mentally hard to wrap my head around it- especially since there were 3 of these steep beauties in this race!
The race was a challenge to say the least. Despite the suffering I kept pressing on. With 4 miles to go I was told I was in the top 3 for the women so the pressure was on to make sure I didn’t get passed before the finish as I wanted to secure that top 3 finish! And I did.
As far as courses go this was definitely the hardest I have ever done and the longest outside of triathlon-ing!
One step closer to that 50k in May!