XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail Run Race Preview


This past Sunday I went out for a run/hike at Malibu Creek State Park, next to Calabasas. No I didn’t see Justin Bieber but I did have a fancy Porsche tailgating me as I tried to find the park entrance.

I had run into the XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail Run race in a magazine and thought I’d check out the site. Once I got to the Park I found out that parking was $12 and that they didn’t take credit. If you go to a park and have cash on hand, pay it. They need the revenue. I didn’t have it so I parked up across the street. More on this in a bit.

If you’re more of a visual person, you can check out the short video of my excursion. Oh, and I composed the entire video on my iPhone using iMovie.

Once I walked into the park I tried to find the trail head but it wasn’t obvious even though I had the official XTERRA map of the 22K course. This has happened before where I show up to a site and get lost for a bit. My brain’s GPS is like the iPhone in that sometimes I have to swerve around some before it gets locked in then I get my bearings straight.

This process took a bit longer than usual and I ended up at a couple of dead ends but saw some nice parts of the park. One special feature were the little metal legends throughout the park but they had NOTHING in them, they were just the frame. Not very helpful. There were a lot of other people walking around as lost as I was and I asked one group if they knew where the main trail was and they pulled out an equally useless map (their words). Anyways, after taking the long way to the trail, and passing a nice creek and pool of water I finally got on the course path.

By the way, if the park had taken credit, I could have driven along the multi-segmented parking area and have driven almost right up to the trail head.

Once on the trail, I settled in and followed along at a decent pace, taking photos and short videos of the run. The hillside looked familiar but that was probably because I had seen a gazillion episodes of M*A*S*H as a kid and recognized the setting. There is actually a site there with a couple of old jeeps and the famous sign pointing to all the different cities. This used to be my favorite show so it made me happy to see the relics.

A little later I got to the start of Bulldog Road but decided that after being lost/exploring for a good 40 minutes that I wasn’t ready to jump on a trail for the next ten miles at that point in time. Plus I had to get my honey do’s done in time so I could catch a portion of the Mayweather/Maidana fight on my Twitter stream.

I turned around and hauled it back to start of the trail, feeling pretty good. At one point I heard a young and somewhat fit looking couple and the woman said something like “He’s running?”, then said something about a “heart attack.” It was high noon and it was getting toasty. But if they were trying to jinx me then it didn’t work.

So I only actually did 3 miles (3 miles in then 3 miles back) of the XTERRA course but that was a piece of cake. From race reviews I’m sure that was by far the easiest part of the course but with less than two weeks to the race I probably won’t have a chance to run through the whole course. I have to hope that my last hilly half marathon has me at least in decent shape. And, after preparing for the Bandit Trail Race which is a 30K (I got a fever just before the race and got a “DNS”, Did Not Start), this should be a totally doable race for me. Mentally, I can’t imagine this being much rougher than scaling Rocky Peak then going on for another 15 miles. We’ll see. I’m trying to finish it in a decent time and to help toughen me up more before I look for a full road marathon.

I don’t think I’m underestimating this race. I know that XTERRA races are all pretty brutal and the elevation chart certainly reflects that.

elvation chart

After the run I did decide to sign up for the 22K race to be held on May 17 and made sure to pay the extra $15 for parking so I don’t have to hoof it the extra half mile to the start. By the way, once I looked at my Nike Sportswatch map of the run, things lined up perfectly with the XTERRA map.