I’m on my way to run my first 50k on March 19th, and as I started my tapering phase I got the bug to run a race. I was looking at my tapering miles and saw that on March 5th I was supposed to run 14-15 miles, so I checked Ultrasignup.com to see if there was a half marathon around then and discovered the Chino Hills Trail Run Series offered 10k and Half Marathon distances. Knowing my friend Stacie had ran the 30k back in November I asked her how she enjoyed it and she told me that it was a great race. Based on her recommendations I decided to signup . I also convinced my friends Mike (Stacie’s Husband), and Erick (who I just finished marathon training with) to race the Half with me. Father and Son, Bob and Owen (friends from my local run club) also joined us and ran the 10k.

Week Before The Race

Mike and Stacie let me know that they where going down Friday night and staying with her mom if I want to join them. At first the Idea sounded funny to me. I mean, I’m 36 years old and haven’t stayed over at anyone’s parents house in a long time, but I agreed to ride down there with them and stay the night, which ended up being a great idea in the end. Not only were her parents super nice, they had cold beer, lots of Stacie memorabilia, more then a handful of turtles, and I had my own room complete with a collection of Bob’s Big Boy figures.

Race Day March 5th,

5:34 am and I'm wide awake

5:34 am and I’m wide awake

I had my alarm set for 6:00 a.m. but on race day I have a hard time staying asleep. I got dressed and made sure all my running gear was ready for the day ahead. We left Stacie mom’s house and drove the 15 minutes to the start line. Upon arriving we see Erick, Bob, and Owen. We all get checked in receiving our Goodie bag, bib number, and tech shirt. Since the 10k people started before the Half we had some time to kill and asked Stacie to go over what we should expect out there, since she had ran parts of this course before. She pulled out the parks map and gave us a point by point run down. This was great knowledge and helped out there on the tougher miles.

8:00 a.m. hits and its time to see Bob and Owen off. Bob is in the Salmon shirt and Owen is just to the left of him in black.

After the 10k runners got going Erick, Mike and me did some stretching and talked a little game plan. Erick was for sure faster then Mike and me so we told him that we would see him at the finish line. This was Mikes first trail half and he was feeling nervous, and worried about the cutoff time. So I told him that I would stay with him the whole time and make sure we finished under the 3 hour cut off time.

Mike and me Just before the start

Mike and me Just before the start

The first 1.5 miles was pretty flat, but once we hit the first turn the climbing began. Mike and me had already talked about how we where going to walk most of the inclines and make up the time on the downhills and flatter stuff. As we took on these rolling hills we continue to chat the whole time about all kinds of fun stuff it really made those climbs not so bad. We arrived at the first aid station right around 3.4 miles. Mike wanted some water but forgot that the pre-race instruction told us to bring a handle held for water refills. I grabbed a handful of jelly beans and the first one I tossed into my mouth was cimmon. Which totally hit the spot! Right passed that aid station we hit more rolling hills. Keep our same mind set as before we knocked through those hills. By mile 5 Mike and I where getting tired of these rolling hill and just kept looking for this awesome single track that Stacie had told us about. We hit mile 6 and there it was. Both of our faces lite up and Mike told me to take the lead on this part. We need to make up sometime so I opened up just a little bit through this mile of single track. It was by far the best part of this whole course and well worth the price of admission. Here are 2 videos I took during the mile of single Track.

Right after we cleared the single track there was a fully loaded aid station: sodas, electrolytes, water, chips, cheese balls, gummy bears and M&M's

Right after we cleared the single track there was a fully loaded aid station: sodas, electrolytes, water, chips, cheese balls, gummy bears and m&m’s

Mike grabbed some electrolytes and chips, and I grabbed mountain dew and a handful of M&M’s. After we drank our drinks we got right back to the trail. We knew the worst was over and the rest of the race was pretty flat or downhill. As we where cruising along we took a few walk breaks just to get down some water and what not. We still where chatty and in great spirits. That single track put us in such a great mood it was amazing how much energy we got off of that mile! Right around mile 10 there was water drop I stop for a second just to eat my CLIF® Organic Energy Food. I prefer the Banana, Beets with Ginger its the only fuel I carry with me. After the quick break we picked up the pace a little bit. As we turned a corner We saw Bob and Owen around 2 miles to go. Bob asked if he could run us in and we both said yes. It was great to have a fresh set of legs towards the end. I was looking ahead of us and there where 2 people just ahead that had passed us earlier in the race. I looked at mike and said we can totally take these two. We picked up our pace and one by one we passed both guys telling them good job guys! We took the last turn and see the finish line in sight Mike and I finish side by side! Erick Finished 24th overall – 2:01:30, Mike Finished 50th – 2:26:43, and I Finished 51st – 2:26:46. In the 10k Bob Finished 13th overall – 1:02:41 and Owen Finished 42nd – 1:15:33.

Photo By Skip Rogers

Mike and Me Finishing Strong – Photo By Skip Rogers

Post Race

After we crossed the finish line we were handed a coffee cup and our medals where placed around our necks. We both felt great but knew when need to focus on recovery. So we went straight for the post race food. Which there was a bunch of stuff to chose from: Pull Pork Sliders, Fruit Cups, Water and Gatorade. Mike and I where totally down for the fruit cups. We grabbed them and seat down to eat. Stacie, and Bob were right there making sure we had everything we needed.

Conclusion

The Chino Hills Run Series is a well organized and well planned event. The course is clearly marked, aid stations fully stocked, awesome views, wonderful course, and amazing staff/volunteers. If I was asked about this race I would highly recommend you go out and give this one a go. You will have a lots of fun.

I’m still in love with that single track…

Here is a collection of photos I took on the course using my HTC RE