For the past two years on the first weekend of August, I've run the La Luz Trail Run. Billed as one of the most grueling trail runs in North America, it's a nine-mile, straight up hill at a 12 percent grade trudge up the craggy west face of the Sandia Mountains.
Because the Sandia Mountains is also part of the Cibola National Forest, the run is limited to 400 people. So entry is done entirely by lottery.
I guess my luck had to fail sometime. I didn't get picked this year. I am, however, a top-of-the-list alternate. Which means if a handful of people come to their senses and fail to send in their entry ballots by mid May, I will most likely win a spot.
Still. There's something about not being picked in the first go round that tells me I might outta fuggedabout it and train instead for something that won't kick my ass so hard. Like the New Mexico Half Marathon. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Tourette Syndrome Association and nothing makes me more happy in my misery than knowing that my pain is going to a worthy cause.
Still, I'm pretty bummed. Because, darn it, La Luz holds special meaning for me. Besides being breathtakingly beautiful and a little scary (my favorite combination), it also almost always falls on the weekend of my mother's birthday (it was her favorite trail, too.) So it's not just a run, it's a kind of pilgrimage. Albeit with a lot of cursing.