Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Playful Start to 2007: XC Revolution

I registered for XC Revolution 2007 hoping for a rugged, muddy, laughter-filled start for the new year, and I was not disappointed. Race Director Josh Spiker mapped out a fun, challenging 4k loop around the Olivas Park Golf Course, near Olivas Adobe Historical Park. A 4k race took place at 9 a.m., and the 12k race (three loops) started at 9:30.

At the clang of the cow bell, following British cross-country tradition, we rocketed off the start line, striding past bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment (the golf course is undergoing some significant renovations). It was not long before we encountered a swamp (complete with fat brown cattails!) No choice but to run straight through it. Squish, squish!

Already laughing pretty hard at this point, I continued along the course, which followed gentle hills and, at times, the golf cart path. Other obstacles awaited: three or four scrambles up sandy hills (just try to make any forward progress in these sand traps!) as well as some romps through muddy, reedy lowlands. Cattails, stiff grass, branches, and tall reeds thwacked against my arms and legs as I ran through the narrow passages, but it was all part of the adventure.

The first loop was fun, and it only got better with the second and third pass. I'm accustomed to running longer courses, and was surprised at how tired I became on this 12k course: you use a lot more energy when you're leaping over logs, struggling through sand, and dodging branches than you do just running down a trail. Exciting as the course was, I was delighted to see the finish line in the distance as I crested the final hill on the last pass.

Official results haven't been posted yet, but I finished around 1:14 -- much speedier than I was expecting, given the terrain. But on a course like this, finishing times are almost beside the point. Around the snack table after the race, I heard a number of runners giving our race director a hard time. "That was a nasty trick!" I heard one runner say as he ribbed Josh about the course, but his wide grin betrayed the fact that he'd loved the whole experience.

Walking back to the car with my race crew, Elliott and Christi(left) I couldn't stop saying, "That was so much fun!" Which is why, if the Olivas Park Golf Course is still a torn-up mess next January, you'll know where to find this runner.

Thank you, Josh Spiker, for putting on such a great race!

See you on the trail!
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Blogger matt said...

sounds like a blast! how many runners did the 12K? i will definitely try this out if he puts on again. i bet those sandy hills were almost comical to run.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Hi Matt, thanks for visiting!
I'd say around 30 runners did the 12k: a small but dedicated bunch. About a dozen people ran the 4k, including some of the 12k runners.
I'm hoping the race will be on again next year. The golf course authorities claim the course will be open for golfing this spring, but gossip around the gatorade tank following the race seemed to indicate they've been saying that for years.

5:36 PM  
Blogger matt said...

let me look into this. i might have a contact at work that knows about this project. sounds like they had a great turnout, ashley. i am sold already!

as for my hope is to keep up the 50Ks throughout the year. i am not an elite runner, so there is no need to rip it up out there. anyway, i am looking for someone local to join me on the Bulldog course. would you be interested in trying a 25K loop as a warmup for jessica's race? my plan is to run it on Jan. 14.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Glad you had fun! Nice to know that Elliot is as wrinkly as ever, too.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Ah, yes. Elliott is as wrinkly as ever, and Christi says he had lots of fun at the race. There's a mushroom farm next to the golf course where we ran, and a strawberry farm across the road, and both of these fine agricultural institutions had recently spread manure when we were there Monday. In other words, the air was perfume to him! As the sun came out, the "fragrance" dissipated -- a good thing for those of us who spent the morning breathing heavily.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Jessica Deline said...

That sounds like so much fun. I'd love to run that race if it happens again next year.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

My dog Fred would be all about running this with you. He is so looking to move beyond the algae-filled pond at home...

6:00 PM  
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