The Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon is the first race I was faster this year than last year. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it feels like I’ve gotten progressively slower for a long time. I sound like a broken record, but the last two years of running have not been great. I’ve wondered: will I ever run anywhere close to fast again? That’s dramatic, but one thing after another has made me feel that way.
I finally feel like I’m getting over the flu in May, and my lungs feel more apparent. I mentioned somewhere else (sorry, I can’t remember) that I don’t want to give up things during marathon training. I want to run trail races, swim, and have other hobbies that aren’t “running a marathon.” One of my husband’s favorite races is the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon, so we decided to head back. I enjoyed it too, in a this is very challenging, type of way.
Before the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon:
We left Edwards around 3 pm the night before. We decided to stop locally and get pasta. I’ve been on a good pasta kick at Gino’s since marathon training since I can always count on huge pasta portions. Usually, I get either chicken and pasta or salmon and pasta. That night I decided on chicken. It was a good option.
We got to Camarillo around 7 pm, and I don’t think I went to bed after 8. It had been a long week, and I was tired. The following day was not too eventful. We got to the race around 7:15. We picked up our packet, and Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon started around 8 am.
Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon Race:
- Janji Pack (my Camelbak has broken, so I settled on the Janji. It worked out well, and I have no regrets).
- Speedland SL: PDX Trail Shoe
- Skratch Sport Hydration
- Maurten Energy Gel X 2
My only goal for the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon was not to hurt myself. I thought it would be “nice” to finish faster than last year, but my legs have been tired, so I also didn’t want to hurt myself.
When we started the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon, I noticed I didn’t feel great. I didn’t taper for the race, and I’ve been running high mileage. It was also a long week beforehand, and I was honestly pretty tired. So expectations remain low. It’s funny because although I was 15 minutes faster than last year, the only Strava Segment I was slower this year was about the first mile.
The first mile of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon briefly goes uphill, and then you go down about 300 feet. I wouldn’t say I like extreme downhills, and I held back a bit. I like running in the Speedlands, but they are a little firm, so running on the pavement with them is not my favorite. People passed me left and right, but I didn’t care much.
A guy was chanting and yelling every minute. It was obnoxious, and I told him he could pass me. He said I was going at a “great pace,” but I mentioned I didn’t want to listen to him chanting for the entire race. I ended up hearing him for about 4 miles after that. Finally, he was far enough ahead; I didn’t. The next mile, I ran in about 9 minutes. It goes into single track and rocky, and I was hoping not to fall. It was during this mile of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon that I was pushed into bushes.
Miles 3 and 4 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon have some decent incline. I must have forgotten about them because all I remembered from last year was miles 7-10 kicking my bum. I don’t know, being exhausted for the first few miles. I ran an 11:45 3rd mile, and the fourth mile ended up being my second-to-slowest at 14:53.
At least 10-20 people passed me during miles 3 and 4 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon. I thought for sure I was going much slower than the previous year. I felt kind of defeated. It was also getting fairly hot. I knew it would be good practice for Los Angeles Marathon because there is a great chance that it will be hot and humid.
Finally, we went downhill around mile 5 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon. It was a nice break. Both miles 5 and 6 are either downhill or flat. However, mile 6 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon has a lot of rocks and stream crossings. I call it the rock garden! It was a rainy year in California, so there were stream crossings (last year, there weren’t). I stopped at one of the aid stations and was surprised they didn’t have many cups of water, just a pitcher to fill up your bottle. Thankfully, I had a bottle, although many runners didn’t. Somewhere around mile 6 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon, I used one of the porta potties. I used the same one last year. I also took a gel. It was a busy mile! Then we headed into the rock garden.
As we headed into the rock garden, I found myself bunched up with several people. I wanted to pass, but I knew it wasn’t enjoyable for people to stop. The trails were narrow, and it made it challenging.
We started climbing again around mile 7 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon. I remember the never-ending hill last year that stretched from miles 7-10 (well, 9.8). I began passing many people from miles 7-10 of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon. I started catching many of the people who passed me earlier. I also didn’t feel bad at all. I was surprised. I was mainly hiking and running with jogs on the flatter sections. Mile 7 gained 302 feet, mile 8 gained 502 feet, and mile 9 gained 194 feet. Mile 8 was my slowest mile of the Boney Mountains Trail Half Marathon at 15:25. I felt much better during this section than in the earlier areas.
I hit 10 miles in 1:57. Last year; I ran 2:38, so I told myself I needed to finish the last 3 miles in 40 minutes. Mile 10 was a screeching downhill, but there were a lot of rocks, and it was technical. It was a gorgeous view of Pt Mugu and the Ventura area. I’ve mentioned before, but that area of Thousand Oaks, Pt. Mugu and Ventura is probably my favorite area of California.
I was working hard downhill but also cautious about rocks and falling. Last year I ran a 9:50, and this year, I ran an 8:04. Over the last year, something I’ve gotten better at is downhill. Maybe it was from falling down the Revel Half Marathon, but I’ve been braver when running downhill.
I knew mile 11 had some uphill again, which hurt after running down 400 feet for a mile. A man passed me, and we chatted a bit. I said I was going to try and sprint the last mile. I didn’t know what sprint meant after 2 hours of running. I knew it was a relatively fast previous mile with no-hill surprises.
Around mile 12 of the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon, I just went for it. There was one short hill, and I tried to get my turnover as fast as possible. I felt good. I passed two people in the first .5 and saw my husband. He was surprised I was finishing so quickly. Heck, even I was. I looked down at my watch, and it said 6:20 pace. At 12.5, I hoped I could maintain that for another half mile.
The last half mile goes up another short hill and has some gravel, so I knew I wouldn’t do a 6:20 pace there. I was catching someone and made it my goal to try and see them. As we rounded the final corner, I saw him. My watch beeped at 6:58, and I crossed the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon a few seconds later.
Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon Thoughts:
I’m happy with this race. How could I not be? I ran smart, and while it does stink to have 20ish people pass you early on, it was nice to reel many of them in and finish strong toward the end. Last year I averaged a 12:01 pace, and this year, I averaged a 10:55 rate. I am finally starting to get confident. on the upswing with running (although I don’t want to say that too loudly).
Questions for you:
Where is one of your favorite areas to trail run?
Have you run the Boney Mountain Trail Half Marathon?