Thursday, May 13, 2010

XTERRA Malibu Creek Challenge Trail Run 14 miler Race Review

OK OK First of all, a HUUUGE "sorry, yah?" (gotta love Pepper...!) for being a bad bad bad blogger. I am wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy behind on my posting and commenting.
However, I hope to soon be able to reveal to you all, for better or for worse, what has been going on in my life. There's been a lot of things put into play, and within a month or two, there may be some big changes in Chocolate Shoestrings land. Till then, I greatly appreciate your patience and continued support! I really do :-)
BUT! I do have an exciting blog post today:
The XTERRA Malibu Creek Challenge Trail Run 14 miler Race Review!

This past Saturday, May 8th, James and I drove down to Santa Monica to run this XTERRA event with one of my besties and her man. I mean.... I cannot think of a more fun double date idea than a 14 mile trail run. Can you? Sure beats going.... bowling...?!

On Friday night, we appropriately carbo-loaded with pasta primavera, Girl Scout Cookie flavored ice cream, and Mrs. Fields cookies. Perfect, no? :-)
We arrived at the race held at the beautiful Malibu Creek State Park, and we were blessed with freaking gorgeous weather and high spirits. We got our bibs, I picked up a few samples, we applied sunscreen, and started getting ready.
But my dear friend insisted on waiting in line for the bathroom with a LOOOOONG line. Ok.....
We were the last people to start. 19 minutes late. 2 mile head start for everyone else. There are no timing chips. Wonderful ;-).
Of course, not more than half a mile into the race, there is a bathroom with no line.
C'est La Vie.

My friend and her man had done this race previously, and raved about the "challenging climbs." I took a look at the elevation profile to gain an idea....
3,284 feet of elevation gain, what what! Don't ask why, but somehow, I thought "no biggie. I'm in good shape."


So we start the race 2 miles behind everyone. The climbing starts at mile 2.5 ish. It's tough, but runnable. I am starting to hate this race just a little bit. "How the EFF am I gonna run 12 more miles of this?"I quickly discovered the answer: You don't.Just to give you an idea of the pace most people were going at, we only passed 6 people by mile 3, and didn't start seeing clusters of people until past mile 5. Why?
The climbs soon get STEEP!!!!!

Take a look at the angle of James' feet to see how steep it was! It wasn't long before it became way too hard for either of us to run for more than a minute at a time. I have never experienced this while running (only on bike) before, but a funny thing happened to my thighs while trying to charge up the mountain. I would go,go,go,go, and then suddenly.... psssssssssssssst. It's like a balloon deflating or something. I could literally feel the glucose from my legs disappear and get supplanted by lactic acid. My legs would literally just stop. Guess my muscles aren't really used to miles and miles of steep climbing... on loose gravel and sand, nonetheless!

Since we were going slow enough, we had plenty of opportunities for photo shoots!
I only ran for the photos! haha, cheater!
Though the "run" was tough(!!!), James and I were having a BLAST! It was just SO great to be challenging ourselves on a different kind of run, be outdoors on a beautiful day, and make friends with other trail runners. We met a man along the way who to me, did not look a day over 62. Turns out he is 73, has run 84 marathons so far, and is aiming for an even 100. Wowza! We also met a woman who turned 65 the day before, who was kicking out butts! I mean.... talk about inspiration and motivation right there!
That's the lady charging down the mountain. Doesn't the rock formation behind me remind you of Lion King?

On the elevation map, it looks like the climbing eases after mile 6.
The climbing remained relentless well into mile 10 before the true descent started. Oh how my hammies and glutes were a burnin'!
There were some really "interesting" parts, like running through a GIGANTIC BEE HIVE ( HOLY SH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!T!!!!) and scaling boulders. It certainly lived up to its name "Challenge Trail Run!"
And the thing is.... even when the brutal climbing ended and the downhills started.... it didn't get any easier! Running downhill on loose sand/gravel for 3 miles is.... painful, scary, and dangerous! After a while, both James and I couldn't help but wish for more... uphill! Who would've thought I would ever crave an uphill at mile 13, right? haha.

By mile 12.5, I was actually quite spent, and ready for the run to be done with! All the uphill was really taking a toll on my energy level. But thankfully, we were lucky enough to form a kind of "group" with an experience trail runner who set the pace for us. This helped tremendously.
I had enough energy to sprint to the end!
Look at how dirty my compression socks/shoes got!
My friend sprinting towards the finish line.
My friend is so cute. Look at her stylish shades. Underneath she is wearing mascara. In answer to my shock, she explained "I don't sweat. I glisten."
Haha, LOVE IT!
Come to think of it, I don't sweat either. I pour. Dump. Get sopping wet. hmm.... not quite as cute!
They had burgers, scrambled eggs, hot dogs, fruit, and chips for us when we were done. Yay! I was quite hungry by the end! Though they had run out of finisher's medals, we were promised we would get them in the mail. I can't wait to receive mine!

I've only done one other "true" trail run before, but I can see myself getting more and more into it. It doesn't hurt my shins (I've been plagued with shin splints recently... time for new shoes?), it's an amazing interval workout, and it works my hammies and glutes like none other. James is now in love with trail running too now. Perhaps it's not a bad idea to invest in a good pair of trail running shoes!

Post run festivities included Rocky Road Ice Cram on Nilla Wafers, amazing burgers at Counter Burger, more chocolate, and some shopping (I didn't get anything). A perfect Saturday, if you ask me!

However, I was extraordinarily tired after this trail run. On Sunday and Monday, I was exhausted! I was able to work out pretty hard on Tuesday, but since I had been planning to have an "easy" week anyway, I decided to make this week the one. And besides, I got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. Nothing like being put to sleep and teeth yanked out after a physically challenging weekend to force you to rest! hahaha. But for real. I am hoping to make a speedy recovery.

Again, thank you so much for continuing to read my blog. I promise as soon as I figure more things out in the next month or so, to continue a more regular posting schedule. But I really do appreciate your continued support~

Until next time~ keep on keepin on!


  1. Love the pics girl!!!! It looks like u and James had lots of fun!! It's so beautiful!!! :-) hope all is well!!!!

  2. Definitely a dun double date! Sounds like a CRAZY race, but it looks like you had a blast. Lovin' all the pics! Had to laugh at your friend with the shades, makeup and her "glisten". (I wish, haha).

    Hope you feel good after your surgery - enjoy the rest!

  3. awesome! Love the pics, it looks like SO much fun!

  4. Man! that looks verrry impressive and very fun! way to go :)

  5. Glad to hear you are still here! I was beginning to wonder!

    A newer, yet still devoted reader.

  6. Wow!!! That trail looks tough! I'm contemplating doing a 3mile run in a few weeks to try out trail running..(yeah, nothing compared to a 14). waiting for a sore hip to settle down though.
    Nice work and great pictures:)

  7. That looks like one tough race. It sounds like tons of fun, though! Great pics. I love The Counter!

  8. Awesome pics. You look so happy, strong, and legit!

  9. I love your carbo loading diet before a race :) I can't wait to hear about your changes!!

  10. wow, congrats, I've always wanted to race a trail run! It looks like fun and YOU look great!

  11. WAY to GO!! Love your blog! Loving the blog name!!!


    Love the pictures!

    What an excellent run!!



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