This past weekend Willow went to her first race (well, Justin's race). It was an early morning...wake-up at 4:30am, out the door by 5, arrived at the event by 6:15, and race time at 8 sharp. Oddly, I've always loved getting up and driving somewhere that early, while things are still blanketed in fading darkness, it's chilly and refreshingly still. I enjoy watching the day wake up as I'm heading somewhere fun and adventurous or even familiar, seeing things in the dawning morning light. This early morning we headed to Malibu Creek Canyon State Park, just a few miles inland of the famous (or is it infamous) Malibu, CA shoreline. It was a gorgeous setting, a low fog hanging between the soft mountains, green glowing woods with the sound of meandering streams tickling the air. A lung-full breath of fresh, unpolluted, non-grey air that sometimes seems hard to find near LA. This was a trail run event, with two different distances, a 6k and 22k, both with some gnarly hills and narrow, tricky paths.
I relish being at races just as much as I enjoy early morning travel. I'm always inspired by the different shapes, sizes, abilities, stories and motivations of each individual crossing the start and finish line. I love seeing those crazy individuals who have the drive to make excellent fitness more than a hobby, but a disciplined lifestyle, a passion. The 76 year old man completing the 22k trail run, with undoubtedly the toughest hill climbs in a west coast race, encourages me to get out the next day and push myself harder. As does the 40 something Mom who's barely finishing her very first 5k trail run, husband and kids waiting with cheers and proud hugs at the end.
Justin did great, finishing in thirteenth place out of over 130 male runners. We stuck around to watch the first of the 22k come in, knowing they'd be laying down some impressive times, and boy did they. We were thrilled to be able to watch the winning female cross the line when we found out it was Heather Fuhr, Ironman World Champ and professional Triathlete. I've watched her on TV several times competing in races, so to see her racing in person was pretty awesome.
Overall, it was a great morning and ended with a scenic drive home down the Pacific Coast Hwy. Willow did fabulously and I'm excited to watch her grow up hopefully enjoying early morning races too! Maybe one day I'll be cheering her across the finish line, or better yet, doing it along side her.