#38 Foxy Trail

  • April 19th, 2015
  • San Diego, California
  • Sharon: 2:45:34
  • Tim: 2:36:00

 

38 down only 14 to go.

Although I would have done a few things differently (I can sat that about almost everything) I loved this race. I was a little worried because most of my – what the hell was I thinking – races have been trail runs. This was a beautiful HM with some challenging climbs but nothing as scary as we faced in FOURmidable. My quads (front of thighs) also known as my – you shouldn’t run so fast on the downhill – muscles, were sore for a couple days after this race. This usually happens to me when I run trails. I do love to run downhill as fast as I can. Yes, I have fallen but not during the 52 T-Shirts project.

This race was on trails around Fletcher lake about 40 minutes NE of San Diego. At the packet pickup I had to go back to the car and get my ID. Actually, Tim went back to the car and got my ID while I stood in line for the bathroom. I thought having to show ID to pickup the bib was a bit of security overkill for a race that didn’t even have chip timing. I think any race that has more than 100 people (this race had almost 300) should be chip timed. We always start near the back (as we should) but apparently some people don’t get it. Hint – if you know you will be walking in the first mile you belong in back. I understand why people would want to start towards the front. Gun timing makes the final time of slow runners appear even slower. I ran about the same pace (according to my Garmin) as I did last weekend but the course was much harder (in a good way) this week.

#38 Foxy Trail

All our before pictures are starting to look the same.

Once again, this race reminded me how important it is to be mentally prepared. Because it was a trail race I told myself to expect hills that would make me cry, roots and rocks that would try to trip me, and no shade or clouds. This was actually a beautiful trail with lake views and even bridges. I’m still not sure why bridges make me so happy. There were hills but I was able to briskly (for me) walk up them. There was a rocky section but it wasn’t very technical and there were no mean roots. It did get hot towards the end but I never got nauseous. Well a little – but that was during the first 2 hours because we had leftover pizza for breakfast. You might want to pay close attention to the next sentence as it is full of hard earned advice. Never eat pizza for breakfast on race day. I find it works well for me to think the worse will happen then be pleasantly surprised.

#38 Foxy Trail

Brilliant – And single ladies, he was a nice guy

Not even a mile into the race I followed up my pizza breakfast with a bug chaser. It made me gag but wouldn’t come out even though Tim stopped to whack me on the back. All this talk about how healthy it is to get out in nature doesn’t fool me. I know that nature is just as likely to drop a rock on your head (or a bug in your mouth) as it is to give you a spiritual experience. That said, I actually enjoy trail running more than road running.

I'd rather see this on TV - just kidding

I’d rather see this on TV – just kidding

This was one of the most beautiful races we have done. The course was a, sort of, out and back. The return trip covered some of the same trail and some new parts as well. I was slow enough to see the front runners fly by. The first guy was so fast and elegant that I just stopped and watched him run. I didn’t lose much time on that one – he was out of my sight in about 4 seconds. After the turn around there was a different trail for a while that then merged with the first trail. Tim must have been on the turn around trail before it merged, because I didn’t see him coming back. ūüôĀ Much of the trail was shady which I love but poses a unique problem for me. About 16 years ago I had 2 detached retinas and I now have very little depth perception so everything looks slightly off of where it really is. Shadows make this way worse for me because I can’t quickly read the terrain. There was only one rocky section where I had to slow way down, otherwise this was a very smooth trail. It sounds like my eyes would make me hate trail running but it is the opposite. I enjoy the deep focus I have to have on trails. It’s a meditative experience for me. OK, maybe running in nature can be a spiritual experience. In fact, beware – embarrassing woo woo confession ahead – sometimes when I need energy I will put my hands on a tree and ask for help. Don’t make fun of me until you try it – it works.

#38 Foxy Trail

I have trouble distinguishing shadows from rocks or holes

I tried a new hand held this race and loved it. I usually carry a 12oz, this time I carried a 20oz. I only had to refill it once and didn’t even finish my water. I have 2 goals before this adventure is over. One of them is to run a HM without stopping to walk (9 miles is my current longest) and the other is to break 2:30 for my time. This means taking almost 7 minutes off my fastest time. I think my new handheld will help me at least take a couple seconds off that each aid station stop. There are a few net downhill races in June that I am targeting for these goals.

#38 Foxy Trail

I love my new running gear

Close to the beginning (and end) was a fabulous bridge. I have no idea why running over a bridge gives me energy but it does. There is just something cool about running with air under the feet. I got excited when I saw the bridge in the distance and couldn’t wait to run on it.

I like tiny bridges as much (if not more) than larger bridges.

#38 Foxy Trail

You’re so cute

Tim likes signs almost as much as I like bridges.

#38 Foxy Trail

Not only did I not see any frogs – I didn’t even see this sign

This course was really well marked. My biggest fear during trail races is that I will get lost. During the race briefing the director said that some of the signs had been tampered with. I have heard of this happening at races before. What is wrong with people? Why would someone try to mess up a race by destroying trail markers? It sounds like he suspected mountain bikers. He warned runners about aggressive mountain bikers, saying, “They think they own the trail.” Most of the bikers I saw were very polite but there was a group of 3 who, it seemed, were trying to run runners off the trail. Tim knew exactly who I was talking about when I mentioned them after the race. Tim said he saw them almost run someone down, in front of him, so he stopped in the middle of the trail to tie his shoe. Damn – I love that man.

#38 Foxy Trail

Well done

Even though I faded in the last 3 miles, I was able to sprint in. Because of my asthma I usually cross the finish line wheezing and looking much worse than I actually am. This time it worked out in my favor because a very concerned looking person on the medical team lead me to a chair in the shade. One thing I liked about the race was that once you crossed the finish line and got your medal you went to a little table and got your t-shirt in a beer glass. And there was free beer. What I didn’t like about the after race was that they had no food. None. They had pizza that was supposed to be there at 10:30 but we left at 10:40 and there was still no pizza. I’m guessing the reason they did this was to encourage people to hang around for the awards ceremony. To be fair they did state this clearly on the website and recommended that fast runners bring a snack. Still, I question the wisdom of serving beer but not food. Come on Dirt Devil racing, how hard would it be to have some bananas available.

#38 Foxy Trail

Look closely – it’s a bird tree

Cons

  • Port-o-pots were not obvious and the park bathrooms ran out of toilet paper
  • No food at the finish line
  • Watch out for speedy mountain bikes

Pros

  • Close parking
  • Port-o-pots (once you found them) as well as park bathrooms
  • Very scenic
  • Well marked, well groomed trails
  • Bridges
  • Good beer (Lagunitas)
  • Frequent (for trail races) aid stations
  • Attentive medical personel
  • A ramada that allowed runners to get out of the sun

I loved this race. It came at the perfect time for me and reminded me of what I love about trail running. We have done some pretty gnarly trail HM’s so it was nice to be in a trail race that I could run instead of just survive. I would say this race is beginner friendly. It was well marked and had plenty of aid stations. Most of the course was very runnable. However, if you are a road runner who has never done a trail race this did have some pretty good rolling hills and a rocky section. Don’t expect to PR. Overall a well organized race with a beautiful scenic course. Just watch out for bikers and bring your own banana.

#38 Foxy Trail

I was beaten by a pregnant cow

And now for something totally un-running related. We love living in SD by the beach and Tim loves his new job. Life is good.

#38 Foxy Trail

This about sums up our new neighborhood

Please leave a comment.

2 Comments

  1. Sharon,
    I finally have the time to write a quick note and here a new post has come up! I admire your blogs and the time you put into them.. I just wish I had the time and soak them all up. We are too fast in the fast lane.
    Love how you enjoy trail running and due to my vision I have no depth perception either. When hiking the shadows play tricks on me so I go very carefully to miss the rock and holes.. I know exactly what you mean!
    When I ran I ran on the left side as far as I could since no depth perception at all on the left side, but the right was o.k.
    You both really rock and we are so proud of you! I know you love your new life in SD and on the beach. Off to the gym for our three hour workout so will read your new post later.
    Much love,
    Double JJ’s

  2. I love love love the PB sign at your local neighborhood dew-drop-in! I also got a kick out of your photo, with the caption that all your before photos are starting to look alike. NOT! (Different T-shirts, hahaha!) All my comments are starting to look alike, too. Hard to find something original to say after 38, or 37, or whatever number it is, races. I love all the photos you post, and especially I love the personal comments about the two of you and what keeps you going during the HMs. Neat bird tree, thought the pregnant cow was adorable, and I like the bridges, too. I hadn’t thought about how it must feel to run with air under your feet. Maybe the bridges make you feel lighter? Anyway, you two just keep on rockin’ your races. Awesome project, and I’ll bet you’ll miss the weekly schedule once you finish your 52 races. Stay healthy and happy. I know PB and SD are perfect for you two! Sending you lots of love, always!

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