Such a nice, temperate summer this year. One of the coolest summers I can remember...until LAST WEEKEND, my longest AND hilliest run of the entire year for me. In fact, I haven't run 15.5 miles (25K) since the Tucson Marathon last December and I ran a couple 5Ks earlier this summer. Sheesh!
Well, all things considered, I had a great time. Didn't take the Bulldog 25K too seriously this year, especially given the heat topping 90 to 100 degrees. My lack of heat training took its toll before I reached the aid station at the 7.5 mile mark. I was toast around mile 7 and for the most part walked all uphills and a handful of downhills after that. Was happy to jog it in in 2 hours, 22 minutes, good for 15th place overall.
The winner nailed the course in 1 hour 56 minutes, 6 minutes slower than last year but very impressive regardless. Even more impressive was the 3rd place finisher, 39 year old Anissa Faulker, who set the women's course record in 2 hours, 19 seconds. Wow! The top 3 in the 50K finished in 4:04 to 4:08...EXTREMELY impressive and in the HEAT!
I froze a bottle of Gatorade the night before the race, which started at 7:30 a.m. It was completely thawed out within 30 minutes. I just couldn't seem to keep enough fluids in and felt like I was going to get a heat stroke. A nice woman poured some icy cold water over my head at the aid station at mile 7.5 and boy was that refreshing. But...it didn't have a lasting effect.
An outstanding age group marathoner friend of mine refuses to run a marathon in the heat after a bad experience at the Los Angeles Marathon 20 years ago. Obviously one needs to train in the heat (or simulated heat...e.g. run in sweats) to race well in the heat. But I personally just don't enjoy that. Give me cool weather, or give me a beer!
So getting back to the race, I finished on a gimpy note. My big left toe has a recurring soreness after hilly, hard races and my psoas muscle continues to act up...in fact, it was subtly bothering me during the race. Not enough to stop me, but enough to distract and irritate me. That's the breaks. But I'm THRILLED to have completed my longest, hardest run so far this year!
Would I go back? Certainly. This damn brutal course is irresistable. And the views at the top are to die for. Next time I'll bring my camera.
On a side note, I left Malibu Creek State Park to get home and start the recuperation process when I was pleasantly surprised by a convalcade of over 400 motorcycles...the 4th Annual West Valley Memorial Ride.
Some scenes before the race below.