The Sun Strides Foundation puts on a series of trail races that raise money for sustainable, renewable energy in the developing world. I paid $60 for the four races and as entry fees skyrocket (my wife just paid $95 for a half marathon), $15/race was a great deal. They also kept the interest up by giving points for the top fifteen finishers in each race and the people with the highest point totals at the end of the series would be awarded a prize. I have never won a prize for running, aside from sanity, blood blisters and stinky clothes, so I registered for all four races.
Lake Hodges 5K Trail Run
This was a beautiful out and back course along Lake Hodges in Escondido. The trail was mostly flat with a couple of really small hills, so it was a fast course. My strength is in the hills, so it was really hard for me to stay with the lead pack in this race, but I was happy with the result.
The finish at Lake Hodges
Black Mountain 7K Summit Run
This is my type of race, an out and back course, not too long, really steep and favoring a steady pace. Basically, if you can do the thing without walking, you are assured a good finish. The downhill was fun and rocky and there was some blood left on the trail at this race. It was tough watching the high school cross country team show up weighing about 100 pounds, all of them together, and leaping up the mountain, turning around and flying down. I totally outsprinted a 12- or 13-year-old kid at the finish, so notch one for the old, bald, shameless runner and as I crossed the line, I held up both hands and let out a stirring "Get off my lawn, bitch."
I totally beat that 12-year-old
Mission Driven Eco Run 10K
Unfortunately, I had to miss the third race, the Chollas Lake 5K, due to my son's birthday party, which I tried to get out of, really hard but at the end of the day, my five year old couldn't understand that I needed at least two points to win the prize and if I missed race number three I would probably finish in fourth place in the points series. I even charted it out for him and his response was "let's watch Scooby Doo," which in itself is ironic because I had recently seen a bumper sticker that said "What would Scooby Doo?" and the answer was clear. So, with no chance to win the points series, I set out to run the Mission Driven Eco Run 10K last weekend.
My plan was to try to stick with the lead group, but not lead the run because the course map was a series of concentric circles and I get lost on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I like to put my head down and run, so that is what I did until I realized that after about seven miles, the lead group didn't know where they were going either, so we formed a tight pack, turned around and headed for the finish. The feeling that comes when running fast in a pack is pretty amazing. I didn't think I would be able to hang, but you really feed off that energy, the silence of breathing and footfalls and sweat. It was another sprint finish, and again the older guy won, but it wasn't me, it was a guy with a Tom Selleck mustache and a few more miles in the legs.
The pack heading towards the finish
The winner (of the race and the mustache contest)
I went on a great hike last week with my brother, brother-in-law, mom, her husband Ric, and our friend Steve. I'm getting ready to trek to Everest Base Camp and realized I haven't done much official trekking, unless you count losing my lunch at about 1,700 feet on Catalina Island, so I'm a little worried about 18,200 feet in the Himalayas.
We drove up the Ortega Highway through the Santa Ana Mountains and did the 10 mile hike to Sitton Peak in about five hours. The views from Sitton Peak were beautiful and with that 3,200 foot peak under my belt, I think I'm ready for Everest.
Sittin' on top of Sitton Peak (I know, pretty f'ing funny)