Man, I don’t even know where to begin right now. I should start by saying that I took photos at the post-race celebration and put them on Shutterfly so feel free to look at or download them if they include you (http://hutchssocalhalfphotos.shutterfly.com/).
About the event itself, there’s so much I could say but I’m going to make it easy on myself by keeping it to a High’s and Low’s list. Pictures are at the end.
1) My first trail race and it was fittingly difficult but also lots of fun.
2) I met some awesome women (and men)!
-The Will Run for Wine mom and daughter duo were hardcore. Mom broke her shoulder during a 10 mile training run for this event exactly 6 weeks ago. Her Dr. said she needed 6-8 weeks to recover before she could run. So, since today was the 6 week mark she figured she’d come out and run, brace and all, with her daughter. Not only did she fall on the steepest hill (I’m calling it the goat hill) on the course and bust up her chin, she was pulling away from her daughter around mile 10 and looking strong.
-Angel was in a car accident last week, during which her feet went through the windshield. But no worries. She was killing it out there and has her sights set on bigger badder races.
-Mom of a 3 yr old who has her sights set on her first full marathon soon. Ran with her quite a ways.
-Also ran with a ponytailed, pink socked gal for a while. Talking with her really helped me climb above the lake in the last few miles. Thank you! Wish I would’ve gotten more names.
-I spotted Vanessa Runs on the course and she shouted some encouraging words as she zoomed past us on the last out-and-back section.
-I also encouraged a woman out on the course who turned out to be one of my tweeps (Cassie)! I didn’t get to really meet you in person today but thanks for letting me know via twitter that we saw each other out there!
-I got to meet and talk with Denise P several times! Wish I would’ve caught you at the finish celebration! Would’ve gotten a picture!
-I got to meet Cheryl Kellond of Bia (hopefully the maker of my birthday gift) and some of her friends. What a great woman! We were matching, too!
-And of course I got to meet, in person, Race Director Paul and Carrie Jesse, and Orion, the official course inspector, who all did a great job putting on this event, gracefully handling the unexpected.
3) I finished in under 3 hours. That was Goal #1.
4) My husband was a freakin rockstar volunteer! He makes me look good.
5) I didn’t fall! I tore down ‘the goat hill’ screaming at one point though. That was kind of awesome.
6) I was recognized at the awards ceremony for picking up other people’s trash along the trails (3 Island Boost packets, 1 Gu packet and 1 Power Gel packet). So, you’re welcome, whoever yous are. [o:
7) My friend, JZ, did really well in spite of being sick!
8) I actually liked the Cab Sav they were sampling at the post-race celebration.
9) I got 3 extra wine glasses so now I have a set of 4!
10) My husband even got some great swag (sunglasses, water bottle, protein mix) as a volunteer!
11) I saw a rabbit on the trail! And no snakes!
1) I don't think I was properly fueled/fueling and was frustrated with feeling like I couldn't get enough liquid out of my hand-held when I needed it. I definitely lacked energy in the second half.
2) We all (and I mean everyone) missed the out-and-back section in the first mile that was supposed to have sent us up by the lake, and my husband's aid station, in the beginning of the race. I heard a volunteer had directed us the wrong way because they were confused with the signs. So I was expecting to see J at the first aid station. Instead, I saw girls in red shirts, and then a mile later, I saw a 6 mile marker. I knew I hadn't ran 6 miles. I stopped running at that point. I was texting J and trying to decide if I should head back. I lost time there and some of my mojo because I was partly worried we weren't going to end up doing a full 13 miles. It all worked out in the end, though. Since we ran back by that turn later in the course, we just did that part toward the end. But poor J ended up being out there all.day.long and sweeping the course at the end. He's such a trooper.
3) Because we didn't do the lake section in the beginning, the field of runners didn't spread out before we hit the single track. It was pretty congested, especially during intimidating down-hill sections where I wanted to run but couldn't without bowling through other ladies who were inching their way down. Truthfully, there were a few hills that even got me to stop and consider my options.
4) I felt slow. Admittedly, I knew I would be slow but had hoped that I'd do better than that and surprise myself. Well, no surprises.
5) J wasn't able to be at the finish line for me. Purely selfish low, I know. But also he wasn't able to be at the post-race celebration until it was half way over. When he did get there, he went to clean up RIGHT before I got called up for my Clean Up Girl award. So he missed that too. How is he supposed to know how awesome his wife is!?
Okay, maybe I'm reaching for lows here. I am overwhelming satisfied with the race. And mainly because of the great people. Seriously nice and kind people who, for the most part, were fine with the last-minute course changes and able to enjoy themselves even though they might have really struggled on the trails.
When I first heard about this event I was super stoked and Paul was a generous RD, allowing me to give away a free entry to help promote the event. I'm was very pleased to hear that my efforts to promote his event were very successful. Perhaps I can give away another free entry to an Off Road Pursuits event? We shall see.
I plan on doing this event again next year. I hear it may be moved up a month and the course may change so that running by Vail Lake toward the end is intentional. I would hope there is a plan to give us time to spread out more before the single track section. There will also be more port-a-potties (the line was so long at the start that they delayed the race by 5 minutes to accommodate us).
If you plan on doing this event I highly encourage you to plan on sticking around and hanging out afterwards and buy the meal ticket. It was good food. I know folks got things to do and lives are busy, but it was really enjoyable to eat, drink and mingle at the finish and talk about your race and congratulate the other people you met while out on the course.