Over the weekend, I ran the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon. It was a good change of pace and a nice change of pace from the recent road half marathons I’ve been run.
Before the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon:
My spouse and I got to Thousand Oaks the night before. We were going back and forth with staying overnight, but since it was about 1:45 drive, we decided just to stay the night. The day before was uneventful. There was some traffic into Los Angeles, but nothing crazy. It was actually a miracle we made it through LA without much traffic (and it was Super Bowl weekend).
On the morning of the race, we left the hotel around 6:15 am. We stopped at two Starbucks to get oatmeal. The lobby wasn’t open in the first, and the drive-through never moved in the 10 minutes we sat there. So we went to a second which was out of oatmeal and bagels. My spouse ended up making do with a couple of muffins. It seemed to be ok for him since he placed 8th overall.
From there, we got to the race, walked the mile to the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon start, picked up our numbers, and it was time to go. It was already hot before the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon, and I knew the weather was bringing a 88-90 degree day. I didn’t want to “go crazy” and over-exert myself. While I do live in the Mojave Desert, I’ve been running in 20-30 degree days, and I’m no longer acclimated to the heat. My strategy for the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon was to run smart and cross the start and finish line healthy.
Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon:
13.1 miles/2700 feet of elevation gain
At the start of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon, I seeded myself towards the middle. I should have probably seeded myself further back. The Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon went off around 8, and off we went. The first mile was almost all downhill. It was a screeching downhill that probably lost a good 300 feet. I ran an 8:08. I didn’t want to over-exert myself in a downhill mile only to regret it a few miles later. I saw people running in the 5s and 6s, and I was like, that is not a wise idea for me.
The next mile of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon eventually flattened out, and we went on singletrack trails. I was running with a pack of people and felt decent. I never looked at my watch miles again.
The third mile had more climbing, and my only goal for the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon was to keep my heart rate down. There were definitely people passing me, which was hard for everyone on singletrack trails.
During the third mile, a man kept shouting, “on your left.” We were going through singletrack trails with prickly bushes, and there was nowhere for me to go. It was clear this was bothering him, and he aggressively went around me and bumped into me. It caused me to fall into a prickly bush. I wasn’t really that mad and just laughed because if he had waited another 10 seconds, the trail opened up. I ran the third mile of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon at 12:02.
Mile 4 of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon brought serious climbing, and we gained about 350 feet. I knew this was one of the bigger hills of the race, and I hiked up a good portion. I had a couple of Skratch Energy Chews. I ended up taking 2 Skratch Energy Chews about every 30 minutes and sipping Neversecond every mile. I took Skratch Hydration at all three water stops. There was no rhyme or reason to this but what I had with me. My hydration and fueling plan worked out well, and I always had energy.
Mile 5 and 6 of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon went downhill. It wasn’t smooth, and you also avoided rocks. You could tell you were getting closer to Point Magu and could smell the beach. It smelled fresh. I stopped to use the Porta Potty at the mile 6 water stop. After the water stop, we went through about a mile of running on a rocky lake bed. I nicknamed this section the “rock garden.” I ran most of it but also was careful not to twist my ankle or step wrong.
Miles 7-10 of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon were definitely the hardest. Mile 7 climbs 280 feet, mile 8 miles 515 feet; mile 9 climbs 171, and mile 10 climbs another 466. This section alone made Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon one of the more challenging trail races I’ve done.
The heat began climbing in the upper 80s. My body was toasty. My fueling strategy was going well, and I never felt dehydrated.
I just kept telling myself, “get to mile 10,” because I knew we were getting some downhill. One of the volunteers asked if I had a blister, and I said “no” and said, ok, you are running gingerly. I replied, that’s just how I run. I had a few other runners around me during this long climb, and we chatted about various random things. It was nice not to feel alone.
Around mile 10 of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon did exactly what they said, and it started going downhill.
Not just downhill, but a very steep downhill. I could see the aid station about 1 mile away, and it looked like it would never get closer. Some of the downhill had rocks, and I did my best to safely run across them because I didn’t want to fall or get too close to the side of the trail. I began noticing I was feeling fairly good despite the heat and the actual challenge of the course. I actually started passing people (which is rare for me on any downhill).
As we rounded another corner, I thought it would be really funny to take a video passing the race photographer. Since the climbs of Boney Mountain Trail Race had been so steep, I was hiking a good portion. So I thought it would be hilarious to record myself running by the race photographer. My sense of humor is probably *off*.
I hit the final aid station around 11.75, grabbed Skratch and water, and continued on. One more mile to go. Once I hit mile 12, I just floored it. I weaved around walkers and hikers on the trail and passed a few more people. My strategy of just taking it easy and keeping my heart rate low paid off. My last mile of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon was my fastest, and I ran an 8:04.
I crossed the finish line of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon and actually felt the least beat up I have of any trail race. We walked back to the mile back to the car, and I felt good.
I’m happy with how the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon went, and I would run again. It was definitely a fun time, and I’m looking forward to adding a few more trail races and runs back into my racing.
You can see more race recaps here.
Questions for you:
Have you done the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon?
What is your favorite trail race?