Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Race Report: Renegade 3 Mile Trail Challenge

Renegade 3 Mile Trail Run Challenge
Bonelli Park, San Dimas | May 17

Renegade Racing does a lot of local runs around here - a TON of which I'm super excited about over the next year. I've wanted to try a trail run/race for a long time, just for a little change of pace and to see what it's really all about.

I thought I had 7-8 miles on the agenda for Saturday (come to find out it was only 5), so my goal was to get up, do a warm up lap around the block (~2 miles), go do the race, and then do another block lap after I got home.

It was cool enough during the morning run that it was enjoyable, but I knew heat was coming on soon and I was a little nervous for what that meant for the race. Bonelli Park isn't too far from my parents' house, so I finished up the run, grabbed all my things and extra water and headed up to the park. I haven't been to this park since I was a kid, and I had no idea how hilly it was - minus seeing the course map, I knew I was in for an interesting time... 

Getting in and settled was a total and complete cluster. The racing company hadn't sent any pre-race communication (maybe I'm used to that too much?) and so I had no idea that parking was $10 - naturally, I only had $5 on me. Awesome. Once I got into the park finally, there were no volunteers to help me find my way. I finally saw a number of runners coming from a parking lot (evidently the wrong one), and ended up parking over half a mile from the start line/packet pick up. 
Ready for whatever was to come... 
Finally, had my bib, and all of 3 minutes to get over to the race start. Super. Nothing like rushing to get settled for a first trail race! I made a few friends at the start, one of whom had done this race before (and the full series), and told me a little bit about what to expect. The race director finally made his way over, talked a little bit about the start (runners-only and duathlon folks all start together). It was a mostly single-track trail (I'm really glad I read blogs of folks who run trails so I knew what this meant), and some (re: about 50 yards) of asphalt along the course. Finish line is the same for all races (trail run, du, and tri). 

I had no expectations going into this, but just wanted to see what I could pull off. The race pretty much starts on the straight uphill. Woof. I struggled, but kept moving forward. That's the trick, right? At least the views were pretty fantastic:

You can't beat running around this place! I'm glad I did this, even if only for the view. Though at some parts, all I wanted to do was run back down the hills and straight into the lake with the triathletes - it looked SO heavenly. Mile 2 was pretty tough, with an even longer uphill climb. I run plenty of downhills, not uphills! Brutal. 

Thankfully, mile 3 moved into the downhill portion of the course - basically the entire last half. Thank god. And thus a really stellar (in comparison) mile 3. And an awesome sprint to the finish! Apparently some earlier trail runners had accidentally gotten some of the Xterra medals that the du/tri athletees were supposed to get - they asked folks to return them if they had gotten one on accident, but looks like a few folks walked away with them. 

I really wanted to go home and get that last block loop in before it got too hot. They made the announcement that trail race awards would be at 10 am, and to go check out the board to see if you had placed. Amazingly enough... boom! I had! 

Pint glasses for 3rd. I couldn't have gotten a cold beer, at least?
Overall, I'm happy. Having no expectations makes it easy, but I'm excited to see what I can do on the race series. The next 3 runs are all at a park in Orange County, and all run the exact same course (5 mile loop, run #2 is in reverse). Here goes more trails! Woo hoo!

Overall: 61/125
Age Group: 3/9

My pre-race experience with Renegade was less than stellar, but the race itself was great. The finish line had plenty of vendors and things to check out, but the wait was super long for the awards. I think I hung around an extra 45 minutes. Under the sun, that was tough. BUT I made it home and ran a last 2.05 miles, for a full 7.63 miles on the day - a total win! And then I wanted to melt and die. 

But regardless... I did it! I didn't eat  dirt, didn't kil myself or break an ankle, and totally survived my first trail race. I'm excited for the next 3, but I tell ya... it takes a special kinda runner to do trails. Oi vey! 

Any tips for conquering the next three trail races?


  1. It's fun to see you have a 5k time worse than mine :) Although I realize I've never done this many hills or a trail run but it makes me smile none the less!

    1. Haha, thanks! Dude, this was tough. I'm glad I went in not really with a plan or anything to expect... or I would have been crushed!