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For the second year in a row, I ran the Cheseboro Half Marathon, one of five race that are offered at The Great Race of Agoura. I first signed up for The Great Race last Thanksgiving, when pricing was at its lowest. I can’t remember what I paid, but it wasn’t the $100 price of race day registration.

Thank goodness! Otherwise I’d have to start a cheek-pinching booth to raise funds, starring blondie, no less.

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The view at the T.O. Zoo.

As I said in my Race Recap, the husband and I were super late getting to the race. With most races, we would have been fine, but the folks over at the GR run a tight ship, and I’m pretty sure the race started right on time. Maybe a minute late. I wouldn’t know because I was still sprinting to the start.

Because we were the dead last two runners to start, there was a lot of weaving to get where we needed to be to run the narrow parts at a race pace. That never happened. Because this is a real trail run, there are parts that are single-track and parts that are a little sketchy (not treacherous, but for a non-mule like myself, I’m counting my lucky stars that I didn’t fall on this course.) 

Starting last also meant that  I had to listen to a whole bunch of crappy music blasting from runners’ headphones (and one special individual who was blaring the intro to “Pinball Wizard” on speakerphone as I passed him. He obviously didn’t read my post on trail etiquette).

This year, I decided to bring my handheld hydration bottle filled with Fluid. There isn’t an excess of hydration stations along the course (miles 1, 3, 6, 8.5, and 10.5) since everything has to be biked in. I was weary of the temps rising, so I brought my own hydration, which also happens to be the course drink at the Mountains 2 Beach full mary in May.

I’ll write a post on my race nutrition soon, which is currently undergoing trials to see what will work best in the full, but I didn’t take any gels–only Fluid.

If you’re thinking of running this race next year, train on hills. There are good climbs between miles 6 and 8, and then a really steep but short one around 10, both of which worked my quads like nobody’s business.

The best part of this race were the last 2 miles. They’re completely downhill except for a very small incline right before the finish. LOVE downhill.

Finally, the post-race party is always stellar. There are bounce houses for the kids, music, and tons of food, although I passed on the pancakes because by the time I met up with my amazingcousin and the husband, the line was too long to be worth the wait.

While everyone was waiting for pancakes, I was loading up on Pinkberry and Robecks!

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Foodies for life!

The folks at the Great Race also have live timing, so I was able to check my time at the laptop station after finishing because my Garmin failed.

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That time is going to haunt me until next year.

The most amazing mother in the whole wide world brought my kids down to meet us, which made them super happy:

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And, what’s better than ginormous bounce houses?!?!

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At the end of the morning, I walked away with some happy kids, pride in knowing I finished slow, but pain-free, and a bag full of loot.

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And one happy family:

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Love these people something fierce!

Here’s a list of the good and the things that could be improved, in my opinion:

The good:

  • exceptionally organized; starts on time; professionally run.
  • benefits schools in the area.
  • gorgeous trail run. The 10K is beautiful as well.
  • huge post race party.
  • local.
  • live timing.
  • there’s a race for everyone!

The things that can be improved:

  • It’s kinda pricey, which is fine if the entertainment was all free (see bouncy house sadness below).
  • I know it’s a free country, but it’d be cool if music was not allowed on the trail. People couldn’t hear when I wanted to pass them, which was frustrating and could potentially be unsafe, and while I like a good classic rock song, I prefer listening to the quiet of a trail run.
  • The charge for the bouncy house this year was a bummer! In previous years, my little ones were able to bounce because the husband and I had already forked over a fortune to run the race. This year, while my husband was able to get our kids a couple rounds in the bouncy house, when I took the girls over, the attendant said things had changed this year, and I needed to buy them wristbands. Maybe the key is to have a cute husband. Who brings money to a race? Not me.

Overall, I’d run this race again. I give it a 9.3 out of 10.

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