Harding Hustle 15K – Recap
Well, after a long break from racing and finishing my track season in April with a 17:47:33 for the 5,000 m, I finally decided to get back out there and start running again. I say running again very lightly because even now, I seem to be cycling and swimming more than running. I guess it has more to do with convenience — I’d rather head to our community pool or jump onto the Santa Ana River Trail which is right behind my house than drive to a trail head.
Adding a 100K in October to my racing schedule, I have no choice but to get out there an log miles on the trails. The easiest way to do this (besides sighing up with my friend Ashley), it to sign up for other ultra-like distances that can be used as training runs, a no-brainer. First on my list was the Harding Hustle at Modjeska Canyon. With options of 15K, 30K and 50K, I selected the shortest distance since it was similar in length to El Moro, a course I had been running about once a week.
Not really looking at the race course, I found out immediately that the course went up halfway and then straight back down. (In retrospect, I am glad I didn’t look at the elevation chart or else I would have run much slower on my way up finish with an even slower finishing time.) Running in first for nearly 3.3 miles, I was finally passed by a woman as I stopped to walk in the shade along the ridge line. This woman was bad ass, seriously, I found out before the race that she had actually rode her bike to the start which is a hilly climb by itself! I should have known not to mess with her! Anyway, getting to the halfway point I was relieved to head back down and fly into finish.
Apparently not only am I the biggest rookie when it comes to trails, I am also lousy downhill runner considering I made it to the top averaging 9:48 and finished with a 9:11 average. (I have run this course again and my downhill skills have dramatically improved.) I finished in second place and swore I would do more trail running to be better prepared. All in all, a great, challenging race!
5th – Overall
Complete results HERE.
Garmin Connect statistics HERE.