#35 Chino Hills


35 down only 17 to go.

This race was the first time during a HM that I felt truly tired of this whole project and wished it was over. I have done harder races (FOURmidable, The Enchanted Forest Wine Run) that were more physically challenging but this race was a mental low for me. It started off hard and just got harder.

My favorite thing about this race was getting a sleeveless T-shirt. This is the first race where we have gotten a sleeveless T-shirt. I think most runners do most of their running in a singlet.

It was chilly at 7am but warmed up quickly. Instead of taking my long sleeve to the car I put it behind the registration table. I promised myself I wouldn’t forget it. This is the 3rd shirt I have lost this way. I had this shirt less than 3 weeks.

#35 Chino Hills

Goodbye shirt – our time together was too short

I walked almost from the start. It quickly became apparent to me that I was still feeling weak from being sick last week (whatever was wrong with me started Friday night and I didn’t feel like myself until Wednesday morning). I hate feeling weak. I just couldn’t run for very long without walking.

I don’t want to write a long negative, poor poor pitiful me race report but I also want to be true to my experience so I am going to write a long negative, poor poor pitiful me paragraph that sums up my race.

#35 Chino Hills

It never looks as steep in the photo

What really slayed me was the heat. By the second half of the race I couldn’t even run without feeling nauseous. I was also having trouble breathing because of the dust. Dust is always a problem at the back of the pack in a trail race but other runners were the least of the problem. The real dust was from the many mountain bikers that went screaming by. That was not only dusty but scary. This race also featured steep climbs and descents, being chased by biting flies, mud, misinformation at the aid station, almost no shade, not enough water, and I was running by myself for most of the race (most people were way ahead but a few were behind me).

Even though I had a hard time physically (nausea, asthma attack from the dust, heat exhaustion, etc.) the worst thing about this race was that I allowed myself to get into a negative headspace. I know that no good can come from allowing my mind to go to its dark place during a race but I was out there having a one woman pity party. I was having such a good time at this party that I continued it after the race with an internal dialog, (I’m fat, I’m weak, What the hell am I doing this for? I’m tired, maybe I’m too old for this shit, who needs to run up a mountain anyways? etc., etc.) that soon had me telling myself to shut the fuck up and chill out. The big lesson here is not to let my negative mind spiral out of control. I felt just as ill and tired the week before and I was able to do what needed to be done with a minimum of drama.

Note to self: Do not give in to self indulgent whining that only depletes the body of much needed energy.

#35 Chino Hills

Yay downhill

The wonderful volunteers at the last aid station took a look at me and gave me a chair in the shade. Another volunteer got me ice. Thank you very much. However, I also got some misinformation that made the second half of my race even harder because I was expecting something else. A volunteer told me that the last 6 miles of the race were all downhill and shady. It was mostly downhill (but by no means all) but there was almost no shade. Please – if you are a volunteer make sure you know what you are taking about.

#35 Chino Hills

Looking back fondly at the downhill

With all the dust and heat I couldn’t help but worry about Tim. He is allergic to dust and heat is a major trigger for his a-fib. In the distance I saw him sitting on the ground talking to a bicyclist. I totally forgot that he sometimes comes out on the course to encourage me across the finish line. Maybe because my mind had been hanging out in the dark side for the last couple hours, I panicked, thinking he had been hit by a bike or was sitting under the tree because his a-fib was acting up. I was so worried that I was able to run up to him. But no – he was there to make sure I was OK and had even brought me a bottle of water. Somehow I managed to stop walking and actually run across the finish line. I’m glad I did because the photographer (Skip Rodgers) was selling the photos, for a donation of any amount, as a fundraiser to buy iPad Minis for his 4th grade classroom. What a great cause and I love Tim’s photo.

After the race all I could keep down was a sprite. I tried some potato salad about half an hour later but my tummy still said, no. Tim was wonderful. He reads me pretty well and could tell how gone I was. Shortly after getting me a sprite he went to the car and got our dry clothes. I was so exhausted that I had to sit on the toilet to change out of my sweaty, wet clothes. It took me about 10 minutes. I felt wrung out for the next couple of days. How ridiculous is it to get heat exhaustion in March! I’m worried that we are going to be in for some hot races before the end of July.

#35 Chino Hills

I’ve had better runs


  • We heard it was 20° hotter than average
  • Dust from scary fast mountain bikes
  • Aid station misinformation (it was not shady)


  • Beautiful course (so I am told)
  • Sleeveless shirt that I will actually wear
  • Left out gallons of water after last aid station
  • Very nice medal
  • Nice after race food spread
  • Photos for a donation to benefit his classroom (he emailed a thank you)
  • Well organized

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oddly enough I would recommend this race. I would not recommend the HM for anyone who is new to trail running but they also had a 10K that had quite a few first time trail runners. If you don’t mind some climbs and eating some mountain bike dust this is a beautiful, well maintained course. This race was well organized and had a great food spread including hamburgers, hot dogs, and salmon burgers on the grill. Maybe it won’t be so hot next year.

#35 Chino Hills

comment (please)


  1. Who has the energy to jump that high at the finish line of a trail half marathon??!?

    I am sorry you had a rough time! Those pictures of the hills almost gave me a vertigo attack. You managed to pull off a very hard run while still feeling unwell, so give yourself some major “I’m a badass” points. You have proven that you would survive the apocalypse — you climbed a mountain despite the heat, RATTLESNAKES, and stomach flu. And that IS an awesome shirt! This weekend’s run looks like it will be ridiculous enough to lift your spirits, and if you don’t feel good, you can hang out at an aid station handing out “love beads.” I wish I had a mantra to share about getting out of the negative head space, but I find myself in the same spot every time I get passed in a race by someone wearing jeans and/or a backpack full of snack foods. We just gotta keep on keepin on I guess! Plus, I tell myself “hey dumbass, you paid for this! Now get in front of that 81-year-old!” Hugs to you!

    • You are so funny. I was in a coffee shop and everyone looked at me because I laughed so loud I just saw that you responded to my comment last week and no need to sleep in the car. We have a futon waiting for you. Check out the SD rock and roll. Yay. Tomorrow’s race looks flat.

  2. desertmarilyn

    What can I say but “yuck!” Sounds like a really challenging experience, not in a good way. I hope you’re recovering, and yes, I’ll bet you’re going to run another HM this weekend. I totally admire your stick-to-it-ivity, but still think you’re nuts (in all the right ways!)….Please be careful. I actually worry more about you two after seeing an HM than I did before. I hope your HM this weekend will be cool (can I say foggy?), shady, flat (with lots of downhills), have lots of bottles of water, no bikes, no dust, and that you will both finish feeling healthy and happy. Hope to talk with you soon. Sending you my love and my virtual sign YOU ROCK, SHARON & TIM!

    • Hi sweetie. I just got your card and letter. That was so thoughtful. I’m glad the rest of your trip went well. It was so fun getting to show you our new life but mostly it was just great to see you.

You must be logged in to leave a reply.