distance: 9 miles
i started getting emails about a pasadena trail running series in january. i was originally scheduled to run ragnar the first weekend in april so i mostly ignored the emails. when ragnar fell through, i considered signing up for this 9 mile race. it was in my own backyard. it was a decent distance. it just felt kinda expensive.
on february 11th, i got an email saying
Debuting this Spring on Sunday – April 3rd, the Pasadena Trail Running Challenge offers SoCal runners 3 distance options, 3mi – 6mi – 9mi, allowing runners & hikers of all skill levels the opportunity to participate. Register for the Trail Series by Valentine’s Day and we’ll mail you a special gift, the new Pasadena Running Company shirt!
after reading that, i immediately signed up for the race. 2 free shirts? now that’s a deal with a price i can justify. plus they say “pasadena” on them, where i am currently calling home.
i clicked the link in that email that said “free t-shirt with series registration” and it brought me to a page to sign up for the pasadena trail challenge race on april 3rd. i signed up. i waited. i never got the shirt.
now it’s just a t-shirt. (and i know, i haven’t even begun to cover the race recap) but it took me until the race to figure out the reason i didn’t get it. i signed up for the challenge, not the series. the series is 2 races, the challenge (on april 3rd) and another half marathon in october. not knowing what i’ll be doing in october, i didn’t want to sign up for the series. “challenge” and “series” are synonymous in the racing world. there’s the “revel race series” and “rock n roll race series” but there’s also the “dopey challenge” and “doubleheader challenge” (that both also include multiple races). i felt duped.
anyway. the race.
the race offered two options, pick up at run with us or pick up morning of. i’m very appreciative of races that offer the morning of option for those who live far away or aren’t able to arrange their schedules for a pick up. i went to run with us the day before and got my bib and t-shirt. there was no real goodie bag. they did have on the table the large gift bags for those who had signed up for the series. but alas, i had not.
the 9 mile race was scheduled to start at 8 am (and the 6 mile and 3 mile races would follow). 8 am felt like a very late start time, i was almost able to sleep in for this race.
a few days before the race, the event sent out a map of where to park. i looked at decided to try to park by the finish line (instead of at the high school up the hill). when i drove up to enter the park where the parking lot would be, there was maybe 1 sign. no volunteers. it was very much a “fend for yourself” atmosphere. i drove around for about 15 minutes looking for parking with no one directing me where to go. no one telling other cars that the lots were full. after a wasted 15 minutes, i drove up the hill and parked at the high school.
i got in line for the porta potties right away. this line grew exponentially before the race started, so i was thankful to have gotten in and out before the recorded national anthem.
the race started and off we went. the course was very similar to the midnight mission 10k i ran last year. in the 9 mile race, the first half was pretty much straight uphill and the second half was pretty much straight downhill. in the pre-race email, the 9 milers were warned of difficult terrain and limited water stations. there was a water station at around mile 2. we crossed it again at mile 7. then at mile 8, right near the finish line, there was a water station. that was it. i did pass a few water jugs left out (see below) at the “peak” of the mountain. at least there was water, but i was shocked by the lack of volunteers. there were signs throughout the course, but very little human support.
the people running the race were a combination of inspiring and frustrating. certain people would walk and not move out of the way when i wanted to pass them. others would talk and say motivational things as we caught up with each other.
on the very fun downhill, my right contact fell out of my eye. i was feeling so great and didn’t want to stop running, but i had to briefly stop to put it back in. that was a bit chaotic.
there was an announcer at the finish line saying our numbers as we crossed. i was given a wooden medal and then walked around the “finisher village” waiting for my friends to finish. the pasadena pacers had provided food but i didn’t know if it was just for them so i didn’t take any. the second page of the 9 mile race results took about 30 minutes to post (and i was a couple minutes off the first page). once it was posted, i found out i got 5th in my age group (out of 10) and 60th overall.
when one of my friends finished, there were no announcers or even people to give her the medals. she had to go to the table and just grab one. and it’s not like she finished last, there were still others finishing.
i had a really hard time with this race (not the course, but the organization) because i couldn’t see where my money went. the water stations were just water. and there weren’t even 3 of them. it was in a park and the trails weren’t closed (i saw many mountain bikers on the course, most of which stopped to let me go but not all). there was chip timing which i appreciated. but for almost $50 i got a t-shirt, medal (without date or distance on it), chip timing, and a water at the finish line.
now if i had gotten 2 t-shirts…
just kidding. mostly.