Last Saturday I ran the Chesebro Half Marathon. It’s one of several races on the same day that make up the Great Race of Agoura Hills and it was my first race in California last year. It is not a PR kind of course, but it is a scenic course and a well-organized race, so I decided to run it again with the goal of beating last year’s time.
They offer race-day packet pick-up as well as an expo on Thursday & Friday. I was able to get to the expo Thursday afternoon, which was worth it, to allow me to sleep in for an extra 30 minutes and save that extra little bit of running around on race morning.
Road Runner Sports also had a booth there with barely worn shoes for $50. I do not at all need new shoes right now, but it’s worth a look. Lucky for me, there weren’t many shoes in my size to tempt me. I did, however, come home with a stick to torture my calves and quads. I had been eyeing one since last summer when I worked at the running store.
The morning of the race I found parking quickly and easily. The race organizers provide you with a long list of parking options, noting which lots are best for people running the half marathon vs. the 10k or 5k - and the times various streets will be closed. Very helpful. I parked in a Vons parking lot a little over a half mile from the starting line.
Here’s the deal:
The Chesebro Half had a 7am start; we were off by 7:05. The race starts downhill (you had to walk up that hill to get to the start), then through a neighborhood around a park where you will eventually finish. I started with a friend from my running group, we said we’d start conservatively then it turned out we ran an 8:20 for the first mile. Whoops.
I don’t know what happened, but I look so twisted. Note to self: work on stride.
It was roads up until mile 3, then we entered a park and started running on a wide path/fire road. We passed some park rangers on horses, a couple aid stations, and a few groups of teenagers who were unenthusiastically cheering us on. I’m sure they gained much from those 2 hours of required community service. Somewhere in there the wide path turned into single track; the dirt surface became more sandy and rocky; and the grass and trees turned into desert-scrub and sage plants.
The anticipation of the big hill was killing me, though when I actually got to it, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered last year, thanks to getting a year of mountain trail running under my belt. After mile 8, it was glorious downhill on a fire road for 2 miles. Unlike last year, I was prepared for the hill that came around mile 10 so I didn’t totally destroy my legs on the downhill stretch leading up to it.
^View from the Top; Pictures from event’s facebook page.
Around mile 10.5 we were back on roads with one more mini hill then gradual downhill until the finish line in the park, where runners from all races were finishing. On that note, there were two women shoulder to shoulder, happily walking their way to a 10k finish in front of me, less than a quarter mile from the finish line, just before a sharp right turn in the course with a curb to not trip over. I turned on my race rage and got around them, then picked off a few runners who had been maintaining their distance in front of me.
I finished in 2:02:58, shaving 11 minutes and 30 seconds off of last year’s time.
Stats: 339/913 Overall, 96/435 Females, 15/41 in my Age Group.
My split paces in table form and a graph for the visually inclined: