Saturday, November 29, 2008

Topanga Turkey Trot 15k (1:14:05) 11th place!

I ran the Topanga Turkey Trot 15k this morning with my college buddy Arnie Camp. There were near perfect conditions with about a 50 degree temp at the start. The race was at Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park, about 7.5 miles south of the 101 freeway.

Xterra puts on a socal trail race series with one race per month and gives out overall awards at the end of the series. They put on a great race including a 5k, 10k, and 15k today. Most people ran the 15k.

The race course was much more challenging than I expected. The first two miles were steep uphill on a fire road. After that we started down hill on a single track trail with switch backs and very low brush that anyone over 5ft tall would have to duck under and this went on for the next 3 miles. I got knocked in the head by branches on multiple occasions and at one point a large branch knocked my hat off and the runner behind me picked it up and gave it to me. I think my hat got dirtier than my shoes. See picture.
There was no room to pass but people were courteous about asking to pull over. A group of three of us packed together with me leading through the dense brush. I was only passed by one runner on this portion. This down hill was so technical that you couldn't make up time from the slow uphill start.

Finally, at the 5 mile mark we got off the single track, and we were all happy to start running uphill again as our quads were pretty shot by now. It was a steady uphill climb for the next two miles to the second peak and I ran with Terry Crocker, who I met after the race. Together we maintained a 7:30 pace up the hill until the last quarter mile which really got steep.

We were caught by two or three other runners at the top of the hill and with 2 miles to go I decided to see what I had left in my quads on the downhill (I will probably pay for this tomorrow). I lead the pack that I was running with down the hill to the finish and never looked back. I even caught another runner right before the finish line.

My finishing time was 1:14:05 (just under 8:00 average pace). I was 11th out of at least a hundred or so runners, and about 5th in my age group. The 10th place runner was 2 minutes ahead of me so I had no chance of catching him and making the top 10 (he was 51 years old by the way). My buddy Arnie finished in 1:17 and change and was 18th place. The winner set a course record and broke 1 hour! There was no one close to him. He must have been a short guy.

To put the difficulty of this race into perspective I should be able to run a 15k on level road in under an hour at my threshold pace. This course took me 15 minutes longer.
I knew it would be slow when I hit my 10k in 54:20!

After the race they put on a nice breakfast spread including scrambled eggs, bananas, oranges, muffins, croissants, and coffee. I would recommend an Xterra trail run to anyone looking for a challenging trail run.

I decided to have my Garmin take 1k splits since it was a 15k race. You can really tell how difficult certain parts of the race were when looking at the 1k splits: 5:24, 5:23, 5:32, 4:56, 4:42, 4:59, 6:25, 6:34, 5:12, 5:13, 4:27, 3:38, 4:54, 3:31, 3:15. The Garmin 305 was right on at the finish at 15k or 9.3 miles.

My 5k splits were 25:57, 28:23, and 19:05.
Total elevation ascent was 2470ft.

It was a lot of fun.
See the elevation profile here.

New local races for the rest of the year posted here.


Anonymous said...

I have never thought to practice running as a 5 ft tall adult male. Did you lean forward at the waist?
Nice last 5K split!

Anonymous said...

VDOT does not take into account the human mind that can transcend ability on any particular day. There is no way I can run 3x1600 at 6:18 pace at my current fitness level. My fastest mile is a 6:06 recently.
I race a few times a year, I train weekly. I had this problem when I was younger also. Race efforts were so much better than training efforts.