Saturday, September 24, 2016

2nd Annual Crazy 8′s 5K September 24, 2016

Rancho Bernardo Community Park in Escondido, CA is the site of the fourth race of the Dirt Dog XC Series. The Crazy low entry fee of  $10.00 helps support Mission Vista High School XC Teams. This is the fourth race of the USATF-SD Dirt Dog Cross Country Series. Seven XC races plus one championship race. Combined points of your 3 best races plus the championship race points (double points) determines the winner. Same rules for teams. Be there or be square. The race series has an interesting history that you can read about at

Up early we again enjoyed a couple of espressos before hopping into the car for the 40 mile drive south on the Avocado Highway.

I15 in Fallbrook, CA
Along the Avocado Highway

Another beautiful morning in South County Riverside/North County San Diego. We arrived in a timely manner strolling over to the bib pick-up area and spotted a dog park and many dogs frolicking actively in the early morning sun while their owners sleepily sipped coffee. I was feeling a bit less frolicky! This Cross Country business is quite different from the road racing series. It has taken some time to get trail legs, but I feel stronger.

I have been trying to bump up my mileage, mostly for the SD-I XC Championship in November, despite not having any time or desire to run bigger miles.

I skipped registration for the 2017 Boston Marathon as I wanted to focus on running locally. I really have been wanting to run the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in Alamogordo, NM. I have two Uncles that were killed in the Shin'yō Maru incident, while I never knew them my Mom was always remembered them to me.

Long story short, I'll speak with Amanda about it and see if I can prep for the 2017 or 2018 run. I ran 12 miles Sunday when JoAnne and I took a drive to Carlsbad so I could have a change of scenery and run along the 101.

But I digress....

I pre-ran the course as my warm-up, starting on wet and soggy grass which lasted about a half mile. These folks are not shy about lawn watering. Crossing a paved parking lot the second half mile started on a dirt trial. At 3/4 mile was a 50 or so foot hill about a 1/4 mile long.

Then it was a mile downgrade with hard U-turn on the trail/road at 1 3/4 miles that sported some loose sand last year but was packed when I ran through today. Still a tight turn though!

There was also a nice view of Lake Hodges which I am sure I would ignore during the race.

Nice view of the lake.

It was beginning to warm up out of the 50's and into the 60's, still a nice morning. I headed back to the start area on the final mile, a slight up grade, crossing the parking lot again and onto the grassy and soggy finish area.

I looked around for Joanne who was kind enough to carry around my gear for me even though I am cranky before a race. My shoes were soaking wet and I wanted to change. Where was she?

My Sherpa
Changing from my spiked to my into my spikeless near a conveniently located, and comfortable, recliner sofa I was ready to go!

 I relaxed a bit while waiting for the start. I chatted a bit with teammate Patrick L, still on the DL. We, the San Diego Track Club, just made the three runner minimum to score points in the race series.
There were some instructions fro the starter that I failed to hear. There were some HS runners lined up behind us. I was not going to let one of them by! Then! Everyone started running so I...well...joined in. Amanda suggested a 6:10 first mile. The grass was soggy, so it was a bit of work to hold pace. The course crossed a sidewalk and my wet shoes slipped a bit giving me a scare. Soon I was on the trail and feeling ok.

The hill at 3/4 reminded me of HS XC and I pushed a little harder passing a couple of runners.

I felt my GPS vibrate and saw my 6:05 for mile 1. Just about right. As I approached the top of the hill a shadow began to grow to my left. I heard a runner gaining quickly. I glanced at the shadow's head and saw a bouncy ponytail. I then realized that I was about to be chicked! She appeared on my shoulder and I said "Go get em." She said "grr mmm hill" I pushed a little but she pulled away.

Mile 2 headed down a bit toward the lake. About 1 1/2 miles I saw the leaders that had already turned at 1 3/4. I closed on one Jamul runner and followed him through the U-turn and made the push to pass.

About 1 1/2 miles in.
He didn't go with me so I had to work the uphill alone. I knew there were a couple of 50+ guys chasing me and some series points. I clocked mile 2 at 6:01, a bit surprised and happy! The balance was uphill and then on the wet grass to the finish. My legs were a bit toasty, mile 1 and 2 quicker than I've done this year, and I ran 6:36 for mile 3. Considering mile 3 was uphill, a lot, and I went out a bit above my current fitness, I'll take it.

Approach to the finish line.
5k's are too short for me. I am so used to long road races that each XC race has been a learning experience. I am pleased with my opening 2 miles and did press during mile 3. Each race has demonstrated improvement in my fitness. This is a fun course and it did remind me of the courses I ran in HS in New Mexico. As they say, "Back in the Day."

Not a good look!
The gory details:
Official 19:19
Place 24th
Age Group 50-59 3rd
Age Group 55-59 2nd

We stayed for the awards ceremony, I received the 2nd place medal in the 55-59 year old age group. Decent, but I was trying to get the 100 winner points! Actually it is a very nice XC medal!

2nd 55-59 AG
JoAnne and I took the drive home and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast in the backyard. A quick shower and we drove over to Karl Strauss Brewery in Temecula for an Artisan Cheese Board and Beeramisu.

Next race takes me back to San Diego to...the 51st Annual Ursula Rains Balboa Boogie 5K @ Morley Field, San Diego CA. Great another 5k! OK less beer, more footspeed!