This race was my first 5k I’ve done in months. And, I mean months. I’ve been so consumed with long distance swimming, biking, and running I thought I might opt for a fun, fast race…on trails nonetheless. My first trail race, and it was AWESOME.
This race had a 15k and 5k option. I’ve heard the 15k is brutal with a lot of hills. So, I opted for the 5k. The packet pickup was on the morning of the race, opening about two hours before the 15k departed at 8:00am. I got there early so I could park in the small dirt lot right next to the starting line. It was freezing, well, freezing for CA weather that morning but I walked right over to the volunteer table and got my race bib, timing chip, and t-shirt. All went smooth, and the t-shirts were pretty cool as well.
While waiting for the 5k to begin (8:30am start time) I sat in my car for a little while before getting out to warm up. It was freezing at the start and I even wore my running sweatshirt the entire race…another first for me. Anyway, it was a beautiful morning. I was thankful to be up to witness the sunrise.
So, the 5k kicked off with some music and very enthusiastic trail runner people (among who I stuck out like a sore thumb in my brightly colored Oiselle gear and road shoes). About a quarter mile into the 5k, there was one huge hill. If you looked up, it seemed to reach into the sky. It was a little brutal. After it was over, it was mostly flat, some rollers as us roadies would call the terrain. But, since it was a trail race, there were a ton of rocks. Rocks are not my friend. I am extremely clumsy, but somehow managed not to trip a single time. It was an easy run, technical at times, but the scenery made it well worth it. I now understand why so many people love trail running. Maybe if I ever find a buddy to run with, I’ll do it more often.
The finish line was small, but there were people cheering everywhere!
I’ve always heard that trail races offer better food choices than road races. And, boy, are they right!!!! I have never had so many options to choose from. I got a free frisbee that I used as a plate and crammed some bananas, muffins, Kashi cereal, and a powerbar on. It was amazing. They even had free Naked juice! and I heard there were breakfast burritos but I didn’t get one. And, oh yeah, they had ice cream too. Sweet!!!!
So, the post race food didn’t disappoint, and the 5k people even got an XTERRA Trail Series Medal that said “Mission Gorge” on the back. After gathering all my goodies, I went right to my car and got out without any congestion or traffic. Best logistics ever. Thanks XTERRA!
If YOU want to race this SoCal Trail Series check them out at trailrace.com