So today was a comeback of sorts for me. I ran the Bulldog 25K in Malibu Creek State Park, Calabasas.
Well, technically I didn't run the Bulldog 25K "race" today. But I did run the Bulldog 25K. Huh? I was signed up for the 2-loop Bulldog 50K but called it a day after the first loop. And am very happy about it.
If you've been reading this blog, you may recall that my last long run of 20 miles took place on 7/26, then I took a week's vacation, but 5 days after returning threw out my back in a big way. The last several weeks I've visited a local chiropractor 6 time and, finally, after repeated treatment, am finally past my latest injury. In the meantime, my training over the last 4 weeks has been light and my fitness level dropped.
So while a month ago I fully intended to run the full Bulldog 50K as a training run for the Santa Barbara Marathon in December, today I was THRILLED just to be able to get out there and run!
Years ago, before my life was overtaken by rugrats, I won the Bulldog 30K (now the 25K) 2 times in 3 years and was 4th the other year running with injury. The nice folks organizing the race sent me a complimentary entry this year. I figured, what the heck, let's try the 50K.
My training was not geared towards this 50K as some of my runner friends, especially the trail runners, avidly pointed out. The Bulldog 25K is a challenging (some might say BRUTAL), run that starts at Malibu Creek State Park off Las Virgenes and has a net elevation climb of 4,000 feet. There are 2 4-mile climbs up Bulldog Mountain (elevation 2,528 feet)! The 50K is double the net elevation gain...and pain!
Given the fact that I hadn't run longer than 6 miles over the last 4 weeks and I'm coming off an injury, it really didn't make sense to run the 50K, which at 31 miles is nearly 5 miles longer than the marathon distance...heck, I've never run over 26.2 miles.
But, I figured I could nail down 15.5 miles, even on the brutally hilly course. My goal was to start the race I see how I felt. It took the 2 climbs to the top of Bulldog Mountain for me to realize that I didn't have 50K in my today...and if I tried, I'd probably injure myself.
So I pulled off my number after 25K with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes. The time was a little slow for me as I walked up many of the steep hills (as do many others). The race volunteers looked shocked at my departure as I wasn't hobbling in pain or anything. And I'm pretty sure I was in the top 3 to 5, after having battled a bit with the lead woman in the race who was like a billy goat swallowing up the steep uphills! But I'm happy to be back and to get a good 15 miler in!
If you are looking for a challenge, check out the Bulldog races. They are well organized, the volunteers are very good and they have their act together! The Bulldog 50K has been run since 1992 and is one of the few "ultra" (i.e race longer than the traditional 26.2 mile marathon length) runs near Ventura County.
The 50K starts at 6:30 a.m., which generally means you have to wake up at 5 a.m. to start preparing, drive there, register, etc. I'm not real good about waking up at 5 a.m., but I got there at 6 a.m. and the parking lot was packed with several hundred people. One might expect to see a cast of crazy offbeat characters willing to put there bodies through this 31 mile fire road early on an August morning. But not at all...in fact, these people were very mainstream looking for a challenge.
Time for some ice...and maybe a beer.