I love the name of the race, Westmonster. It has multiple meanings and sounds kinda cool. There is a hill on the course (well, as it turns out, there are MANY hills on the course) that hits in the middle of the second mile. The 15% grade is nicknamed the "Monster." Yes, fitting. I love the Monster. It sucks everything you had left right out of you, gnaws slowly on your lungs and heart, picks pieces of your soul and will away until you simply wonder if you will not just drop dead right there and roll back down to the observatory.
So, last Thursday evening I arrived with my son to the Westmont campus for my second consecutive Westmonster 5K. Now, just a side note, it is August, it is late afternoon on a muggy, hot day. The time of day that acts as a funnel, taking the rising heat and humidity and concentrating it into an impossible summer heatwave. Now having said that, I should also admit that it was only 80 degrees. It was humid, making it feel like 90 degrees, but as you can see, I have become a coastal wimp.
So as I was saying, I arrived early to the campus so I could walk much of the course. Although it covered basically same area and terrain as last year, the course had been rearranged this year and I had yet to find out if it was going to be harder or easier. I took my time on the first loop as I walked, noting the subtle and sometimes not so subtle inclines and declines. There was dirt, gravel, sloped grass, some kind of powder dust that was the consistency of flour, flat, firm pavement, meandering sidewalks, sudden turns off the main path onto hidden, shadowy trails. There were even a few lovely U-turns or close to it. I noted with moving discomfort that there appeared to be more uphill than downhill, but that's because the Westmonster gives you one sweet gift: a final mile of almost all downhill. Of course the downside to that is the first two miles take almost everything and give nothing back, and then tops it off with the Monster.
So the walking of the course was productive and having made all the mental notes I could afford, I spent the next half hour warming up. The warm up left me feeling hot, drenched and thirsty and I decided to stretch until the start. I bypassed my typical routine of strides and drills knowing that I would likely feel the lack of these within that first mile, but didn't want to risk loosing too much precious energy at the end of an already long day.
|Jessica Meyers Left, Cindy Abrami Right|
This was the first of four races for me that come all within 10 days. Ha, it usually takes me 14 days to recover from one race, let alone handle four in 10. But I'm thankful to have it in me ... or to at least see if I have it in me.
The Westmonster is an awesome 5K. It is now dubbed by its organizers as Santa Barbara's toughest 5K. It raises funds for the Westmont athletic programs and the Westmont athletes were out in droves cheering us on. They lined much of the course with youthful exuberance and made it even that much more enjoyable. It is well organized, the course is well marked and directed, the timing was accurate and to top it off, there was a fabulous catered healthy dinner enjoyed by athletes, volunteers and spectators, as the sun began to set over the horizon. And it was a spectacular sunset. Just beautiful.
Presidio Sports posted an online article and video which can be viewed at the following link: Ho, Abrami Knock Out Tough Westmonster