Sunday, June 24, 2012

SoCal Women's Wine 5k & Half Marathon Trail Race 2012

I think it's safe to say, no matter how well you train and plan for the unexpected, things don't always go as planned.
The SoCal Women's Half Marathon was the most challenging and toughest race I've ever ran! This was my first trail run.  There was no expo and no timer chip. You simply pick up your bib at a small running shoe store. The bib was generic and without logos or your name on it. Talk about being spoiled with the big races! I had my daughter decorate it for me :)
June 23rd, 2012, I woke up and did my usual prep and drove to Vail Lake Resort in Temecula.  There I met my running pal Ann.  We were told we had to check in and found a small table where they said we didn't need to check in if we already had our bibs. Ann and I chatted with a nice lady while waiting in line at the porta potties. We laughed about the facebook site for the race who joked about the differences between road runners and trail runners.  Here's their take:
• Road runners show up in snazzy matching outfits and Nike track suits. Trail runners have been mistaken for homeless people.

• If you go down in a road race, the road runners will jump over you and let volunteers know at the next aid stat
ion; trail runners will stop, pull out their meds, first aid-kit, emergency beacon, give you CPR and carry you to the next aid station.

• Road runners check for flat fast courses; trail runners look at elevation charts and the scenery.
We also shared the same point of view about the planners were probably were not women or they would have had more than 5 porta-potties available!
 There were many new things I've not seen in other races, like a outdoor wash station equiped with real soap dispensers and water, waist belts that could can hold two 20 oz g-raids, and ankle shoe covers!

The race started out with a guy giving a speech about the trail. He informed us there's no porta potties on race course and how it's not very well marked so you may get off course. Women laughed at this, but little did they know.  It was hard to hear what he was saying because women and MEN were talking.  Yes there were men running it with their wives or girlfriends.  There was no National Anthem, just an on your mark, get set go! There were no corrals, so off went approximately 233 women a little after 0700.
It's approximately 65 degrees and the sun is coming up fast. The Vail Lake Resort is a camp site. It's very pretty as we run through the camp ground with the smell of coffee brewing in the air.  This paved road is half of a mile before we quickly turn left and head down a tree covered dirt road.  Dirt is flying up and I dodge a low lying tree branch.  I say a smart ass comment, "no wonder the girl needed both bottles of g-raid, to get the dirt out of her mouth".  I will stick my foot in my mouth and eat my words later. 
The faster runners are pulling ahead. There isn't any room pass, so Ann and I slow down.  At almost mile marker 1 the coarse veers to the left and we head up into climbing rolling hills. These are mountain bike trails.  It's tough going.  The single tracks change to double tracks then back to single tracks quickly. There isn't any elbow room. Women are very polite. There's no shoving. Women are stopping at tops of hills waiting for their friend or group to catch up. Quickly, I realize, as a  road runner, will not have PR today because I have to walk up some of the killer steep hills. The terrarin was brutal.  Everything was jagged with tons of pointed rocks and cravasses.
At  mile 3, into and area of the resort used for paintball, a race volunteer tells the women passing by, we missed our turn before the 1 mile marker which would run towards the lake.  He said our race will only be  a 10 mile race!
Wow right?! I was shock, but keep running.  As I ran, I begin mull over how unfair to cut us short.  At mile 4 & 5 I was thinking, 'why complete this run if I am not going to be doing 13.1'?  I can't tell you how disappointed we were about this news. The aide stations volunteers were super friendly and worked very hard passing out very cold wonderful water and electrolytes.  Ann & I stopped and hydrated at almost every station. At times I wish I was carring two bottles of g-raid. The scenary was pretty boring. We spent a lot of time getting through miles 4 and 5, climbing up hills and trying not to falling down them.  Several times we commented about almost rolling our ankles. It has become a race of survival !
Heading into mile 6 takes us directly up onto a ridge over looking the resort . Most would say this was beautiful, but I am scared of heights and hate this area. I take off through here trying not to look out at any direction. The shrubs are over grown and my arms and legs are scratched.  Coming out of mile 6  there a wicked down hill. Part way down, no joke, I begin to say prayers, a few hail marys and and our father, hoping to get down safely!  Mile 7 and 8 we head back through the paint ball course and back through jagged rocks.  At mile 9 a couple of guys were telling the runners to  head towards the lake to get in the last 4 miles.
It was bitter sweet. 
Miles 9, 10, 11, 12 terrain was similar to road races with long rolling hills. I made really good time in here.  The heat was getting to me as I hit another aid station at end of mile 10 up a HILL! Ann knew one of the volunteers and began to chew him out of suggesting the race.  She had worn the wrong socks and was suffering from blisters. Head back towards the finsih line, I thought this was my favorite part of the course.  As I got back onto the paved road and camper woman wearing an all white jump suit is walking in front of me smoking a ciggy. It seems as though she is walking faster than I am jogging!  As I come up to a turn, I asked the man standing there which way to I go? He points and the woman with the ciggy turns around and says, "oh you don't want to follow me. I am going to the crapper"!
I turn into the final stretch.  I am a lone until a woman goes blazing by me sprinting to the finish line. There really isn't a crowd. I think they were campers.  Someone said "good job".  A guy with a clip board was jotting down your time as you ran through a roped area.  One of the volunteers says "Congratulations Best Mom" and placed a medal around my neck. Another one handed me a dixie cup wine glass.  The volunteers were amazing and I appreciated their hard work.  Inside the dixie cup wine glass was a pink ticket for wine.
Time: 2:43:34
Pace time: 12:30
Place: 118 over all

This trail race kicked my butt bad! I'll need to do heavy thinking before I'll sign up for another one. 

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