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Great Race of Agoura Half Marathon

April 5, 2010

I completely signed up for this race last minute and at a total impulse. Someone had mentioned it on Twitter and that had me checking my race calendar immediately. Turns out it was the week right after the L.A. Marathon, which is probably why I didn’t scope out this race sooner. If it weren’t for the trails all throughout this course, I probably wouldn’t have signed up…well maybe, I lied. I love running on trails and after the disaster of the L.A. marathon, I wanted to redeem myself. Not talking about setting any PR’s or anything, I just wanted to feel good after I finished.

I had a fairly quick recovery after L.A., but was cautious to do too much because of my bad knee. Trail runs are really great because the dirt is a lot kinder to your joints than the hard pavement. I try to scope out trails whenever I go on vacation and you can’t beat the scenery and peacefulness that trails have to offer. Not only are the trails more isolated, you get a great workout in because of the challenging terrain.

The race itself was fairly small with 5K, 10K, and two options for the Half Marathon. I choose to run the Chesebro only because half of the course was on trails. The course wanders through Old Agoura down Chesebro Road and onto the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Check out the elevation chart:

See that pretty hefty climb from Mile 6-8? Needless to say, this course was pretty challenging and especially running it on tired legs from the weekend before, I was glad to take it easy. I still wanted to finish in under 2 hours which I thought was do-able even with the elevation gain and nasty climb. We started the race literally in someone’s neighborhood, like right in front of people’s houses. I feel bad for whoever lives in that neighborhood to have all these runners quarantined in front of their house along with the loud speakers and music playing at 7 in the morning. We started the first 3 miles going through the neighborhood before hitting the trails. My friend and I planned to take it easy, but of course, that never really happens whenthe horn goes off for the race. Our first 3 mile splits were 7:04/7:48/8:11. A little fast, but I knew we were going to make up for the time on the trails.

Once we hit the trails, it was mostly single-track on the fire road. I loved winding through the forest and trees, but had to be careful of the footing. It was pretty much a steady climb until Mile 6 when a guy behind me yelled “Oh shit”, I looked up and saw the mountain in front of us and all the littler runners climbing their way up to the top. Wait, we have to run up that thing, seriously? It became more of a hike/climb rather than a run. I focused on trying to run 5 steps and then walk, run 5 walk, repeat. Not going to lie, but it was pretty tough, everyone else was also struggling with the steep climb. After we reached the top at Mile 8, there was a significant downhill. My legs were already worn out from the climb so I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted to on the downhill. The views from the top of the mountain peak were spectacular. There is a sense of calming and peace about being all the way in the mountains, the kind of isolation that is hard to find living in L.A.This is why I run. To explore the outdoors in ways most people don’t and enjoy the times where I can breathe in fresh air and live in the moment.

There was one more climb before we exited the trails, but it wasn’t as long. Back on the road, there was a good amount of downhill before we finished in Chumash Park. It was a strange finish, as we ended up on the grass of the park. Even though my finish time is nothing amazing (1:55:04), I felt really good about this race. Not only was it a change from the usual half marathons, but I was okay with not really “racing” it and being able to enjoy the outdoors. I barely listened to my Ipod while on the trails as I took in the beauty of everything around me, and there is something soothing about hearing my feet pad along the trails.

Overall, great race and one that I would repeat. Just a side note that they do give out medals for the 10K as well, which is unusual for a race, but hey it’s a medal nevertheless!

Next up..Sycamore Canyon 18K Trail Race

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 4:34 am

    Great pics and HOLY MOTHER of SWEET elevation! I SOOOO have to do this race next year – SOLD SOLD SOLD!


  1. Sycamore Canyon 18K Trail Race « L.A. Easy Meals

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