This past weekend, I ran my sixth half marathon at Mammoth Lakes, CA with my older brother. Never would I have thought that I would travel all the way to Mammoth for a race, and yet, I did, and it’s funny to think about how I ended up there. Last March, my brother and I ran the San Diego Half Marathon together. The SD Half and the Mammoth Half Marathon partnered together to create a challenge; who doesn’t love a good challenge?! If participants ran the SD Half and the Mammoth Half, they entered the San Diego Mammoth Challenge and received an extra medal to commemorate their success. Now, who wouldn’t want that extra medal?! There is nothing wrong with some more bling to add to the collection ;) As this was the Mammoth Half Marathon’s inaugural race, it was even more special; it is always such a unique experience to be one of the first to run a particular race, and I am so blessed to have been able to be a part of this one.
Now there is one part of the race that I must point out. Before the race started, a prayer was said for all of the participants. Now I haven’t done that many races, but this was the first time I experienced this, and it truly warmed my heart. God is with me in everything I do, including my running, and it felt amazing to start off my run by thanking Him for His blessings.
The course started out at Horseshoe Lake (pictured to the left), which was breathtaking. There really was no better way to experience the beautiful alpine scenery and get yourself prepared for the spectacular views to come during the race. Now normally, I never run a race with my phone; it feels awkward in my hand and does not provide any comfort. However, knowing that I could not pass up taking some pictures, I chose to keep my phone with me, and boy, am I glad I did! Of course, the pictures do not do the area any justice, but at least they provide some beautiful memories. The course provided picturesque views of Lake Mary, Owens River Valley, and the Sierra Star Golf Course, while running on the Lake Basin path, Old Mammoth Road, and Meadow Trail; I definitely was not in San Diego anymore! I am so accustomed to running by the ocean and hearing the waves crashing, but the sound of the wilderness could not be beat.
Now, speaking of the ocean, my San Diego runs could not prepare me enough for the altitude change. The Mammoth Half started at an elevation about 9,000 feet, and ended at about 7,800 feet. This was an experience like no other. I honestly felt as if I was having an asthma attack considering the difficulty to breathe. The short uphill stretches (which weren’t even steep) took me out of breath in seconds. The course was challenging; there is no doubt about it. Altitude training tips I read to prepare myself encouraged runners to train as if they were training for a 15 mile race, and to arrive at Mammoth days before to start to become acclimated to the altitude–all of which I did not do.
However, but as odd as it sounds, I loved every second of it. Feeling my heart pounding and hearing the strength of my breath–I felt alive. And that is how I feel every time I run.
I think that OneRepublic’s “I Lived” said it perfectly:
“I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did, yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”