xterra 15k trail race

I haven't had a post like this in a while.  Photos from a run with what-it-was-like commentary by me.  Let's return to the posting style of yesteryear!

A few months back my running friend Anne alerted me to Xterra's Black Mountain trail race.  Wow, it's so close to home and I didn't have any other races scheduled until late May.  I figured I could handle 15k without actually training for it.  At that time I had been trying to improve my hill running strength; that effort has since been abandoned.  So would I survive the hilly race without hill or even running training?  Read on to find out.

Christine dropped me off at 7:40 with the race start at 8:00...or so they said.  Due to parking and shuttle-bus issues the race didn't start until 8:30.

trust me, I'm bright-eyed at this point

It was a small group, 256 people finished the 15k and another 90 did the 5k.  Which means I walked up to check in and had to wait for 1 person before it was my turn.  Nice.

Then it was time to wait for that delayed start time.  The MC kept warning us to watch out for rattlesnakes.  Good thing Christine wasn't around to hear that!  If there were any on the trail they had long been scared away by the faster runners.

and we're off!

This is easily the most scenic race I've ever done.  Of course living in San Diego I've been on many-a-training run with great scenery.

Part of the early going was narrow and thus single file.  Sometimes we had to slow to a walk.  This would have been more useful later in the race.  Naturally I had an anxious guy behind me who kept wanting to pass everyone which was not possible.  Later in the race I left him in the dust anyway.  Ha!

single file

The race was marked with chalk, hash house harrier-style.  Mile signs were also posted.  However, when mile 1 came up I looked at my Garmin to see 0.75 miles.  The discrepancy got worse as the race went on.  I figured either the number of turns was throwing it off or perhaps the race was less than 15k.

i'm no speed demon but i eventually passed all of these people

I was worried about how well I'd do in this race.  As the bike miles have been ramping up I've been taking it easy running. Plus the threat of mud meant I wore older, less supportive shoes.  On trails.  But halfway through I was feeling really strong.  I kept up a run up almost all of the first big hill

at the top of the first big hill...

...where we were congratulated for conquering it

And on we went.  Remember I mentioned the mile markers?  Well 15k is about 9.3 miles.  So a bit before I saw this...


...I texted Christine to let her know I had about a mile to go.  She planned to take photos of me as I finished.  But as I passed the mile 9 sign (7.6mi on my watch) I was getting suspicious.  I didn't see or hear the finish line.

After a few more steps I texted Christine again to say I had a bit longer to go.  In a situation like this, I would usually let a typo through.  But when I saw my phone had corrected "still coming" to "stool coming" I could not let that, er, pass.

This sign caused me more troubles.  I picked up the pace when I thought I was more than 90% done.  But in fact, I was just nearing the bottom of the biggest hill yet.

doesn't do it justice since the lens was pointed down

Yeah, I walked most of that one.  A few feet later, Christine caught sight of me.

running as if I had run up the whole hill

And a shot of the finish!

i am waving, not making the asian photo sign

Not only were the signs early, the race was long.  Instead of 9.3 miles, my Garmin said 9.77.  I'm really happy I made it with no issues.  No hip pointer, no IT band, all good.  I was done with hills but otherwise I could have kept going.

Soon after that, someone mistook Christine and her honkin big camera for a pro and asked her to take a photo.

pro photogs always wear bright shoes

That's my race.  I hope my bike race in May is just as successful!  Following are a couple more photos of the scenery.