Monday, November 24, 2008

Santa Monica Mountains Trail 50K

The Coastal Cuties had planned a fun weekend running; an easy 18-20 mile run on the sand at Huntington Beach, a relaxing afternoon by the pool at our hotel in Oxnard and then the Santa Monica Mountains Trail 50K on Sunday. Sometimes even the best made plans go awry; Maya (for once!) heeded Doctor's advice and decided not to chance further injuring her ankle by running on uneven terrain and Shelli was sick. So Kristen, Beiyi and I ran the Back Bay loop and then drove up to Oxnard where we spent the afternoon eating, shopping and then met up with Lorraine for dinner.

I'm fairly new to trail running but this was the best organized race I've entered: trails clearly marked, color of ribbons depended on distance, well-stocked and staffed aid stations, hot food and drink at the finish. Maybe it was because there were only 2 aid stations due to the "loop" course or maybe it was because the RD's are just good at this. Orange loop (La Jolla Canyon), pink loop (Sycamore Canyon), orange again, yellow loop (Ray Miller Trail) with downhill finish for total elevation gain of 5490 ft.

The only part of the course I really hated was a flat section on narrow single track through tall grass. I became convinced a mountain lion was going to jump me. Crazy really but I just couldn't get my legs to move. The only part of the race I hated was seeing the winner finish in 4:10 when I had another 3 hours to go!

Here I am still smiling as I head back up Ray Miller Trail (Backbone) for the final 5.3 miles. Finish time 7:19:41

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