I’m a SLO runner, and SLO is not just an acronym for me. My legs typically go one speed, straight ahead, and this morning was no exception. Up bright and early on this dazzling, clear sunny day, I threw on my running clothes and drove to one of San Luis Obispo’s infamous sites—Madonna Inn. Today this iconic resort hotel provided the backdrop for the inaugural SLO Marathon’s 5K and SLO Life Expo; tomorrow the half and full marathon participants will cross through the finish line here.
Before traversing through the finish this morning, I lined up at the start with hundreds of other runners and walkers. An excited energy buzzed through the crowd and at 9:00am the horn sounded. We were off! The 5K course led us up and around the base of Cerro San Luis Mountain (also referred to as Madonna Mountain or San Luis Mountain), where breathtaking views of the surrounding SLO hills blanketed in spring green provided a lovely backdrop. The pastures below were equally beautiful, and the horses and cows ran at their own pace as if to cheer us on.
This double loop course allowed participants to glimpse the remarkable view both times around. Unfortunately, a setback ensued and I wasn't able to enjoy this dramatic milieu as much as the first half of the scurry. As I started the second loop, an annoying side ache caused me to scamper through the rest of the race in quite a bit of discomfort. But hey, that’s how runners roll—up and down the hills, one foot in front of the other, until we reach the finish line.
A sense of relief washed over me as I crossed the final line, as did a mountain of sweat. The warm temperatures and 3.125 miles of partially hilly terrain made for a sweltering combination. But as always, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and deeper appreciation for my surroundings. What a fantastic and well organized race set over a stunning course. Of all the 5K's I've run, this one takes the cake. Yet another reason to keep running SLO!
|The SLO Life Expo was full of SLO runners and walkers.|
|Participants scrambled to view their final race results. 33:02 for me!|
|The infamous Madonna Inn.|
A lovely venue and perfect time of year for a SLO race.
All text and photos copyright @ 2012 by Elizabeth in SLO. All rights reserved.