I had the great pleasure today of accompanying Angela to her first trail half marathon. It was the Foxy Trail Half Marathon, part of the Dirt Devil series. The start and finish were at the Rancho Bernardo Community Park and the trails led the runners around Lake Poway. It was a gloomy day with no sun in sight — perfect race weather.
I have to admit, I was slightly nervous for Ang to run this race. Originally, she signed up with the plan to train with me as I prepared for Boston and she’d run this race the weekend after Boston. However, I stopped running due to injury and in turn her running suffered a bit too. She lost her partner in crime and stopped doing long runs. She was still working out consistently (of course) and she was still running, but not nearly as much as she was when I was in training mode. I told her she should be prepared to suffer a little out there and to pace herself.
There are quite a few things I love about trail races. They are way more my scene. The crowd is small, parking is easy and everyone is laid back. There aren’t 30,000 people standing in line for port-a-potties and you aren’t inundated with marketing by corporate sponsors. At the start of your average road race there are thousands of people standing around talking nervously and excitedly, which is totally understandable. Today, everyone was relaxed and just ready to get out there and run. It was obvious these people have been running a long time.
At the start of a road race you have a cheesy announcer sharing his inspirational thoughts for the day and trying to incessantly pump you up. They play that awful music that is supposed to make you feel heroic. I find it somewhat annoying, but I respect it because I know many people enjoy that sort of thing. At this trail race, the announcer basically told everyone to get in their waves and zip it until he was done giving instructions. He jokingly called the last wave “trail snails” and let them know they weren’t going to be winning anything that day. It sounds mean-spirited but it wasn’t. He told people to ditch their headphones so they could hear A.) rattle snakes and B.) people trying to pass them. He made it clear that runners would be disqualified if they littered and reminded everyone that the Foxy Trail Half doesn’t have 20,000 volunteers picking up your trash. He was tough love and I dug it.
As the runners hit the trails I headed back to the car and took a nice nap. I set my alarm to go off with what I thought was plenty of time to see Ang run through the finish line. I stopped at the bathroom for a quick pee break and made my way over to the crowd. I figured I had a good 15 minutes before I saw Ang in her Run Naked tank-top running my way. I was dead wrong. Within 2 minutes she came barreling through the finish looking strong as ever!
Angels somehow managed to finish 3rd in age group despite having taken a wrong turn that took her (and about 20 others) a quarter mile out of the way. I felt like a bozo for warning her to take it easy. I thought for sure she’d barely squeak in under 2 hours due to her lack of training. Rather, she finished in 1:47 and some change in her first real trail race! I was proud, needless to say, and completely jealous because the course sounded beautiful. Next year, this race is