Sunday, March 9, 2008
up $%#@*&! horsethief and beyond...
My road to recovery continues with my second race in as many weeks. Saturday was the last installment of the Winter Trail Run Series–a distance of 21K. This has got to be one of the toughest half-marathons around with a total elevation gain of about 3470 feet. Wow! The worst part of the course is the climb up West Horsethief Trail–a brutal and exposed 1400 feet in less than 1.5 miles.
I carpooled with Skip and arrived at the race a few minutes before the start. I was happy to see several OCTR mates out there including Chaz, iMichelle, Keira, Corrinne, Jon, Bee, Nattie, Jess, and Leon. At around 8:30am, a hundred or so runners took off for the initial climb up Main Divide, to the first aid station at 3.4 miles. Another OCTR member, Kirk, and his son were busy dispensing water and Gatorade. From there the trail rapidly descends down to Trabuco Creek before the infamous ascent up Horsethief. The runners get back on the Main Divide to Kirk's aid station and coast down to the finish.
At the initial climb my calves felt tight, and I soon fell back. Corrinne and Jon, who I was running with were soon out in the distance. I caught up with them on the way down to the creek where I was able to loosen up my legs and make up some time. More climbing up Horsethief, and I was reduced to a walk again, and C and J left me in their wake once more. When I got back to the Main Divide, I was able to jog and catch up with Corrinne who I ran with the rest of the way. Jon was nowhere in sight by then.
If you're thinking about running the Old Goats 50K which I'm still contemplating, this is a great training run since this is the last 21K of that race. It familiarizes you with the course, not to mention train your legs and lungs on those hills. This course also allows you some nice views of the snow capped mountains and Lake Elsinore on clear days as today's.
Corrinne and I crossed the line in around 2:54. To put it into perspective, my PR for a road half-marathon is just under 2 hours. I ran this one almost 50% slower than that. That's how tough this race was. Still, I'm quite satisfied since I did it about 10 minutes faster than the previous year's, and I got to put in some good training on a beautiful Saturday morning.
Course photos courtesy of Corrinne Wallace.