The Bulldog race at Malibu Creek State Park is not easy, whether you attempt the 25k or the two-loop 50k ultra. If you do things right you reach a certain level of pain as you negotiate the seemingly interminable Bulldog Rd. that goes on for 3.2 miles and nets you over 1,7oo ft of elevation gain for an average grade of 10%. Basically, Bulldog Rd. haunts my dreams and it’s because of that that I always look forward to the challenge of taking it on during a race.
I originally signed up for the Ventura Marathon to join my nephew on his first 26.2 run. But after my nephew got injured and my lackluster training post-Bulldog 50k/25k I decided to drop down to do the half marathon.
To get ready for the half I hit the roads again but my muscles and breath asked “where’s the steep stuff and the nice power walk breaks?” Unfortunately that question came up again during my race.
Over the past year I’ve run over 800 miles and raced three half marathons, three challenging trail races over 11 miles long and in several 5ks. I also dedicated a lot of training time to increasing my climbing and logged over 24,000 feet in elevation gain. I trained on several mountain ranges in Southern California and feel like I can knock out a half marathon run at any time, so I did.
It’s been a couple of weeks since running the Santa To The Sea Half Marathon in Oxnard on Dec. 18. I was excited to tackle the course and try to set a PR for the half. The flat as a pancake course would be the perfect opportunity to run fast.
I ran the XTERRA Malibu Creek Challenge 22K Trail Run on Saturday and it was hot. The good news was that it wasn’t as hot as it had been all week (high 90’s and low 100’s) but it was still plenty hot in the high 80’s.
The Ojai Half Marathon was my second half marathon, the first being the Santa To The Sea race in December. The Santa To The Sea was on a very flat course with an elevation loss but the Ojai race features a bounty of rolling hills.