Raptor Ridge Half Marathon -- Race Report

This was a fun one. The Raptor Ridge 1/2 marathon is a very interesting course and one that can really hurt. The first four miles are flat, then there is this steep mile climb, then you run down the other side, turn around and run back up and over. The flats aren't really easy in a half marathon because of the pace, and then you throw this one long climb into the mix and it can make for a tough second half.

The morning had perfect running weather with a chilly start and some low-lying fog with bare branches reaching out. There was the usual nervous pre-race banter and sandbagging about how this is just a training run and how it's been a long week of training. As the bullhorn sounded and runners jockeyed for position I listened to the breathing, sometimes hard, of those that let their adrenaline get the best of them, starting too fast. My legs felt good with smooth motion, just enjoying the sunrise over the ridge that we would soon be climbing, the sun burning my eyes.

The climb was mechanical, just keep moving, fight off the voices telling me to walk, recuperate for a few seconds, fight off that ultra mentality because I was racing this. It was a training run before the race started, but  there were a few people up ahead that were breathing heavy, looking down at their feet with heads bobbing up and down, struggling, suddenly it was a race.

I held back on the downhills, and tried to recover from the climbs. A flaming red-bearded downhill bomber with a Tough Mudder headband flew by me on the downhill. I caught him later, feeling strong for the last four miles, feeling like this is marathon pace and I can hold this.

This race was a good confidence boost for the December marathon. I finished as fast as I started, I held a 7:15 pace in a half marathon with a couple of long, tough climbs, and I felt like I could have kept going.

The Dirt Devils put on a great race with one of the best race shirts ever and a cool pint glass for all finishers. The race was very well organized and supported. It was a large crowd; I hear it was double last year's size, which is good and bad. I don't think the trail can handle many more people and I love the small feel of trail races, but I am happy for the success of the Dirt Devils and the San Diego Running Institute. I guess if you put out a good product, people will hear about it and it will be popular.

On an unrelated note, my friend Veronica, who is on the Carlsbad School Board, is going to read part of the letter I wrote to my daughter at the next school board meeting. She is going to be talking about teasing and bullying. I'm honored that she would choose to read part of it, and I really hope that it helps in some small way.

Thanks for reading.

This is the elevation profile for Raptor Ridge 1/2

My homemade version wasn't that far off
At this point in the race, I believe I was compliant with the speed limit


Great gear. I just realized what all my other race shirts are missing...raptors.

Ratings and Recommendations