The course looped through Griffith Park and included turnarounds at the Bronson Caves (the 'Bat Cave' from the classic Batman television series) and the Griffith Observatory.
After putting in way too many hours at the office and not working out in days, my left calf started hurting on Friday.
The pain was so bad that even after extensive self-massage, I could hardly put any weight on it Saturday morning. I told myself I'd listen to my body and drop out if necessary.
I finally gave in and popped a couple ibuprofen before I limped back up the hill to the Starting Line.
By the time we crossed the Start, the ibuprofen had kicked in and my calf felt good. I was able to maintain a brisk walk as we hiked up the first incline.
I focused on engaging my core and silently thanked my friend, Hector, as we flew down the trail at an 8:30 pace.
I relished the feel of the dirt underfoot and delighted in the sensation of the cold breeze hitting my body.
Another one of my runner friends, Jessica, joined Janey and me for awhile. We chatted about our training and upcoming race schedules.
Even though my calf was no longer bothering me, I still made an effort to walk the uphills and only run on the flats or downhills.
The race was well organized so it was no surprise that the course was well marked and there were also lots of cheerful, energetic volunteers directing runners at all the trail intersections.
They also offered some amenities such as anti-bacterial gel and pre-moistened wipes.
As we were running another downhill, the toes on my right foot started cramping. I immediately knew that was an indication I was dehydrated. It suddenly dawned on me that I'd been waking up with pangs of thirst the night before.
I popped a couple Succeed! S Caps electrolyte pills and made an effort to drink as much as possible the rest of the race.
As Janey and I were coming around a bend, Jessica was heading in the opposite direction. She told us to go through the caves at the next turnaround and check out the view of the Hollywood Sign.
When we got to the other side of the caves, we spotted the Hollywood Sign. We all snapped multiple shots of the famous landmark before we headed back to the course.
The course was satisfyingly challenging and I cherished every minute I was out there.
We crossed the Finish Line with an official time of 03:29:29.