Saturday I ran the Great Race of Agoura Chesebro Half Marathon. I flew into Orange County Friday night and then drove up to Calabasas to stay at my friend’s house. I got there at 12am and wake up was 5:15am.
I had 2 cups of coffee and then we left the house around 6:15am. The race was only a couple miles away and started at 7am.
We parked in a grocery store parking lot and headed to the start with plenty of time. I ate an energy bar on the way over to the race. My friend Reese ran the half as well so it was fun to have someone at the start with me for once.
Her husband Jim played chauffeur, bag check boy, and personal photographer for us so we were pretty much like celebs practically.
The race started at the top of a steep hill so you had an immediate decline for maybe a quarter mile or so. We started right on time or even a minute early.
The first 3 miles were on roads, the next ~8ish miles were on trails, and then the race finished back on roads. I knew this would be a hilly, hard race so my goal was to pace myself well enough so that I wouldn’t completely die on the hills.
The first mile I ran a 6:58. I don’t think I could run a 7 min mile if the cops were chasing me so I obviously DIDN’T follow my race plan right off the bat.
Around mile 4 we hit the trails and the gradual incline started. I have never ran trails like this before and never in a race. This was legit, hardcore trail running where you have to dodge rocks and mountain lions and bears. Ok maybe not quite but almost…
Part of the trails were single track meaning it was only wide enough for one person at a time. Since I started off pretty fast, I never had to worry about getting stuck behind someone, but I did pass a couple guys on the wider parts.
Around mile 7 or 8 there was a big, long switchback hill. These hills were steep. I’m pretty sure I could have walked up that hill faster than I ran it. But once you got to the top there a nice, long decline. I was flying down it and thinking happy thoughts that the hills were done. WRONG.
Mile 9 or 10 was the last behemoth hill that just spanked me. I had to walk up part of it and I’ve never walked in a race before. It was so long I think my roots grew out and needed touching up by the time I got to the top. But I picked up the pace at the top and kept trucking along.
At mile 10.3 we left the trails and that’s where the volunteers were handing out Clif shot bloks; I had 3. I definitely needed some because I didn’t bring any gels or anything with me, and I was tired. I actually would have liked them to be a little earlier like around mile 9, but if I got everything I wanted, we’d have 2 Heidi Klum supermodels roaming the earth and it’d get a little confusing.
After a short incline it was all all downhill on paved roads for the last 2 miles to the finish. Despite getting thrashed on the trails, I was running low 7 min miles near the end. I think running marathons really helps you mentally in a half marathon because you’re like, Only 3 more miles?! Bring it on! I do that as a warm up! (which I don’t. ever.)
I finished in 1:41:07, 40th person overall, 8th woman and 3rd in my division. My average pace was 7:44 so I must have really slowed down on the hilly parts; I didn’t look at my garmin much but at one point I was running 8:45min/mile on the trails. (On a side note: I think I do a lot better and don’t psych myself out as much when I focus on just running hard instead of obsessively checking my garmin.)
I’m happy with my time; I knew it’d be a hard race and it was. Trail running is a whole ‘nother world from road running. You have to put so much more effort in to keep your balance and focus on where you’re stepping, etc.
After I crossed, me and Jim hung out at the finish area (which was awesome, best post-race party I’ve ever been to) and then I ran back and finished the last mile with Reese.
It was a really fun race, partly because I was with friends which made it a lot more fun… and because we scored so much free stuff afterwards:
booyah! Guess who’s not going grocery shopping this week??