Sunday, September 21, 2008

La Luz Trail Run

After a grueling 3 hours and 52 minutes of running one of the most difficult trails in New Mexico, I feel that it is in order to reflect on this monstrosity of a run.  It is by far the longest time I have ever spent running, and it could be the longest distance, totaling 22 miles, of which half that distance was at a 12% ascend (and the other half a 12% decent).  The La Luz Trail is supposedly a world famous trail and the La Luz Trail Run is considered the "12 Most Grueling Trail Races in North America" by the fall 2001 issue of Trail Runner Magazine.  Yeah, its tough I guess!

We (Kris, Dana and myself) started at 10:30am.  This time of year in new mexico is a beautiful time since the weather is changing and the colors are starting to take change with fall approaching. Its also been said that hiking La Luz is "gorgeous this time of year", whoever said that, was definitely hiking and not running the damn trail. Nevertheless, I was excited beforehand, and we trotted up the paved road 2 miles before the trailhead. The trail itself is 7.2 miles straight up!

This is where we started, at my little truck. The paved road lead us up the 2 miles to the trailhead, which is basically at the base of those Mountains in the foreground. Then its up, up, up the trail. There were some points where the views were amazing. Damn, I should have brought my camera. Or maybe we should have brought some water.  At least we were half smart enough to bring some Cliff bars, on this 3 plus hour excursion.

So, while running up the mountain we experienced all sorts of hikers troting along. You could also hear the wind howling through the ponderosa pines and blue spruce trees. It almost sounded like running water or maybe 50 foot waterfalls. At least that's what I was dreaming of....water!  So nearly 2 hours later we crested the trail and ended at the peak, where a quaint little gift shop at 10,678 ft seems to be very practical. So after meeting Kris at the top of the crest, all I could think of was some water.  As I staggered over, tripping over rocks here and there, a young couple were asking us if we ran the whole trail.  With a delusional look on my face, and halfway out of breath I told them "yeah.... in about an hour fifty".  They were impressed and thankfully gave us a water bottle with some water; most likely out of pity and the stupidity of us not being prepared.  Once Dana made it up, I was ready to charge into the gift shop and fill up our bottles. Without a moment too soon, Kris told me "they don't have any water in there." And I came back with a remark along the lines of "WTF?!?!!? How can they not have any water in there!"  Apparently the only water they had was for sell, to all the tourist that drove up from the back side of the mountain! The lady was kind enough to inform us that 2 miles south on the crest trail was the tram and the restaurant. No shit! That's what I was afraid of..... 2 miles there and 2 miles back just to get some water!  "Well, lets do it!"

After we crawled into the tramway station to gaze upon onlookers in amazement, I quoted Dumb and Dumber, "We're there!"  Oh, water never tasted soo good!  A quick pit stop and rummaging through trash cans looking for water bottles, we filled up and headed home.  I remember hearing one women state, "I am inspired by your insanity!" Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking, we are insane... 

Now, getting down was entirely different. We had water, we finished our Cliff bars and it was a rocky down hill for the first half. Not as dramatic as climbing up, but still a journey.  Drinking on the go, seemed soo much better than burning our legs up the trail.  Kris took off after a few miles, and Dana stopped with only 3 miles to go.  I was running
 alone for the last 3, and once I hit the paved road, all I wanted was to see my truck.  I started to pick up the pace down the hill and became a little more delusional.  Laughing in my head, and sometimes out loud. Once I saw the truck and Kris laying in the bed with his feet sticking up I knew it was over. I took a breather in the middle of the road and then grabbed some water/tea. Dana appeared a few moments later and collapsed on the hood of his car.

All in all, it was a great experience! The run was Epic and I am sure we shall do it again, but until then I am just going to take it easy for a day or two.  San Jose is in two weeks, so this should be good!  La Luz trail is a run I shall never forget, I am ever so glad of the experience and the safety we all had.

One last picture:

After the run looking down upon the rain over Albuquerque.


Wes said...

Ustedes estan muy locos. Hola de california y Upland. su favorita ciudad del mundo.


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