I “ran” Billy Goat’s 1/2 Marathon and Hill Climb on Saturday. I typed “ran” in quotes because there was much hiking involved during the first 6.5 miles. I don’t know why it was so dang tough – just as the race director, Steve Harvey, promises, “it ain’t but one hill.”
That one hill is called Indian Truck Trail. And it starts at the base of the mountains in Corona, California and climbs up, up, up to The Main Divide. That “one hill” though quite strenuous, would have not been so bad if it weren’t for the heat. It was hot out there in Riverside County on Saturday. HOT. And being as spoiled as I am living on the cool coast, my body just rebelled.
The trip to the top was uneventful, meaning, I didn’t feel like I was going to die. I took up the very back of the pack, noticing that nearly everyone suffered from the heat. Boy was I ever happy to turn around and run downhill. You see, there was little shade along Indian Truck Trail, so there was not much opportunity to cool off.
On the way down, I told myself to maintain between a 12 and 14 minute mile, which was asking a lot in the near 100 degree heat. (I heard that it was 98 in the late morning). This got so tough (keeping up the pace) that I resorted to song counting just to make the time pass quicker. “You can’t look at the garmin until you listen to three songs,” I’d tell myself. After a few miles, I felt that I would collapse if I did not slow down. With absolutely no shade whatsoever for those last three miles, there was no relief. I filled my cap with ice at the aid station, and aside from dripping salty water into my eyes, I’m not sure I noticed any difference. Amazingly, I learned that the woman running alongside me for mile ten through eleven was 4 1/2 months pregnant!
Oh how immense my misery was! Miles eleven though thirteen, I wanted nothing more than to drop to the mountain floor and pass out. I felt nauseated and a little confused. And the only thing that I could do to cool myself down was to stop running. And this I did often. Then out of frustration over time passing too slowly, I’d pick up my feet again and trot some more.
I crossed the finish line with only a few runners remaining on the mountain. Immediately I held onto the timing table, wanting to fall to the ground. My blood was boiling, I felt so hot. People were so kind and helpful getting me to a chair in the shade, where they waited on me hand and foot – I got cups of cold water, ice on my neck, you name it. Within about a half hour, my blood had stopped boiling and I was feeling almost back to normal. Billy Goat is an event that I’m glad I finally got out to do – but I can’t put up with that kind of hellish misery anymore. My God, why do I do this to myself?