The King of the Hill half marathon at El Capitan nearly broke me. I guess it was a beautifully rugged course, but in reality, I wasn't really feeling up to soaking in the view. The trail was steep, both up and down, and much hiking was done on the day. Towards the end, I couldn't really muster up more than a slow jog on anything except the few portions of the race that were downhill, and even the downhills were brutal and not very runnable.
The race started with ten burpees, then each aid station on the way to El Capitan peak had some type of exercise that you were required to do before going on. At one, it was mountain climbers, and at another it was tuck jumps and starbursts. It was a hot day and towards the end I was seeing stars. I remember finishing, walking to the shade and sitting on the top rail of a fence, swaying forward and backward and thinking I should probably not be sitting up there, but too tired to do anything about it. I eventually summoned the strength to down a couple of barley-based recovery drinks and felt better almost immediately.
I finished 4th in the under 40 "whipper-snapper" division in 2:10. I'm not sure of the overall placing, maybe 7th.
It was grueling in the true sense of the word, but I wouldn't expect anything less from race director Joe Decker (of Gut Check Fitness). Driving away from the race, I swore to myself that I'd never do that one again, but I hear they're going to be putting on a full marathon early next year.
That might be fun.
|The turnaround point at the summit|
|Some boulder-scrambling towards the halfway point|
|I think I ran that first 20 minutes and the last 30 minutes|