December 12, 1999
Todd Rose and I decided we would venture up to Malibu and run the Lasse Viren 20K. Malibu is actually a pretty vast area and varies from 5-20 miles north of Santa Monica. We asked Bernard how much time we should allow to get there and I think he said 3 hours.
Three hours is probably the correct answer if you are driving up in commute hour traffic, but not exactly right on a Sunday morning early. So, we arrived about 90 minutes early, and registration was not set up yet. Once they set up, we got our numbers and then went back to the car, where it was warm.
We remained at the car until about 10 minutes before the race start and then meandered over to the registration table, where… they informed us that the race start was approximately 1 mile up the trail!
We ran relatively hard up to the start and arrived almost a minute AFTER the gun went off. As a result, both of us went off faster than we wanted to, and we also had been running hard to get to the start. I was by myself for a good 5 minutes before I started to catch some of the slower folk.
The course basically follows a fire road, with intermittent breaks for stream crossings. If the winter had been wet, I’m certain that these crossings would be fairly significant, because the trail itself ‘descended’ down and up through these dry trenches. This rollercoaster route continued for about 4-1/2 miles.
For the next 1.5 miles, we are on a paved (slightly gravelly) road, heading uphill, with about 600′ of elevation gain, and then back down to the bottom of the hill, eventually rolling around back to the dipsy-doodling course, through the dry streambeds and back to the start. I finished in 1:47:23, about an 8:40/mile pace.
The one thing to note about a true trail course is that you cannot expect to run a comparable time to your street course (just like people on treadmills will run much slower on a paved surface). Besides the difference in traction, the surface continually varies, so you need to keep an eye out for those roots, rocks, sometimes snakes, or other hazards. 8:40/mile is a great result!