I must admit to some ambivalence after I agreed to participate in the track club's El Cajon 20k race, but I knew it would be a good half marathon training run since it's almost half marathon distance, complete with some kick-ass hills. This was also the same day as the train run, which is one of my favorite runs because we take the train* 16 miles up the coast and run back along the coast and a few of the coastal towns along the way. I love running along the coast. The El Cajon 20K is inland, which is usually a good 10 degrees (or more) warmer than it is on the coast. I've never run this race before, but EVERYONE kept talking about the hills. In the few days leading up to the race, I was concerned about the weather. It was warm in my 'hood, which is by the coast, so I could only imagine the warmth in El Cajon. I was not looking forward to running an almost half marathon with hills and heat.
Race day comes and it's rather overcast and a little humid. It's not cold out, but far from hot. It actually drizzled a little when we arrived at the race venue, at Granite Hills High School. This isn't a big race, perhaps about 200 people. A lot of the people I normally run with were at the train run. After the usual formalities it was soon time to race, and I wasn't ready. Waking up at 4:30 AM didn't help. I felt tired. Since the air was on the humid side, a bit of asthma kicked in, and I needed to get a forced breathing pattern down right away.
Into the first couple of miles we all noticed plenty of road kill and eau de skunk in a few areas. We also encountered a dead snake on one of the uphill climbs. As with most races, it started out with everyone running somewhat clumped together until we arrived at the first steep hill, then the clumps of people thinned out. Several people walked up the steeper hills. People who were well ahead of me were soon behind me and never passed me afterward, which surprised me. At times I was running alone. As slow as I was going up those steep hills, I was still running. I was still moving.
I have not much to say about the route, other than it was hilly, but we did run through some beautiful areas along the lush countryside, past some huge custom homes with horses, and (of course) rocky hills. This race was not on a closed route, and we all had to be mindful of bike riders and car traffic. What goes up must come down. The thing about running up hill is that there's a little relief coming down. The last 3 to 4 miles were mostly at a slight downhill, and I was able to make up some time, and was able to pull out whatever I had left in me to jam to the finish line.
Notice the elevation gain?
Those kick-ass hills kicked my ass. My hamstrings and glutes were screaming when I was done. It was hard to stretch, but I managed a little stretching without falling over or screaming. After grabbing the usual post race muffin and banana, I walked around the high school a bit just to keep my legs and butt from locking up or cramping. I also chatted with a few track club members and met a few new people. Hubs ran this race too, and wasn't that far behind me.
Soon after hubs finished his run, the race coordinators began announcing the over all winners and age group winners. I though I might have a chance at something this year due to the fact that everyone who usually wins my age group were probably at the train run.
I WON THIRD IN MY AGE GROUP!
Me and my prize for 3rd in my AG. I actually had a choice between socks, running shorts, t shirt, coffee mug and beer glass with the track club insignia. Of course I selected the beer glass. I have my priorities! Cheers!
For all I know there were probably 3 women in my age group. It doesn't matter because I showed up and I took on those kick-ass hills. You can't win if you don't show up. Oh, wait, I take that back. *cough* This time I earned my prize. Everyone who ran this race deserved some sort of prize because it truly was not an easy course.
According to Lucy** moving time was 02:15:30 and elapsed Time was 02:16:19. I'm still waiting on the official time, but it was in the 2:16 range. This race did not use timing chips or D tags. Posted race results are pending.
EDITFinal results 70 IRENE M 33 51 3/6 F 2:16:19 10:59
No Scrubs - TLC - Run-DMZ
*What's not to love? You get to take a train ride with friends and run along the Southern California coast.