Wow, what a blast! My slowest 5k ever (just at 1 hr), but a heck of a lot of fun.

The Topanga Turkey Trot was my second trail run event (my first being the inaugural Chesebro half trail/ half road half marathon).

The starting elevation was about 1100 feet at Topanga State Park. It was A LOT cooler there than at our house and I was glad I had a jacket to wear pre-race.

Gatorade (very dilute, just how I like it) was available pre-race.

I saw a couple of people sporting LA Tri Club gear, including the only guy dressed in a turkey costume.

15k, 10k and 5k routes were available. I’d initially signed up for the 10k but opted for the 5k due to a lingering cold (missed yesterday’s gym workout because of it).

All routes started on the same fire road going up, up, up — a start I later read described as ‘notorious’.

I ended up walking the entire first mile (all uphill, gaining about 800 ft, with horribly cramping calves (the only relief I got was when I turned around and walked uphill backwards). 22-23 min 1st mile, by my watch — ugh. Dave, sweetheart that he is, realized I was having trouble and stayed with me.

But I gotta say, we were blessed with some gorgeous views from up there!

The first aid/water station was at 1.3 miles, the top of the crest, and the point where the different routes diverged — the 10k and 15k continued on the fire road whereas the 5k took a left onto a single track trail. Before turning off the fire road I gulped some water and tried a Clif Block (and boy, those things are GOOD! super gummi’s!).

Then it was basically all downhill except for a few uphill ‘burps’. Woo hoo! Downhill is where I (relatively) shine — Steph the mountain goat! bounding from big rock to big rock down the trail! Well, sorta. Anyway, I got to really pick up the pace, and Dave, who hates downhills, hung with me. We basically scrambled down the hillside, past a creek, most of the time in the shade, avoiding loose rocks and horse manure. We took a few walk breaks at a few treacherous points but overall did really well.

A second aid station was at around 2.7 but we skipped it (though later Dave presented me with a bag of Clif Blocks he’d snagged in passing).

Again, my overall time sucked, but then the race director told me the fastest 5k people came in around 30 minutes, so I didn’t feel too badly at that point.

We got great goody bags (Clif Shot, sample size Clif Bar, Fig Newton bar, Montrail water bottle, Trail Runner Magazine), really nice tan heavy weight t-shirts, and finisher medals. The trail was extremely well-marked — I never had any doubts I was going the right direction — and in great shape. Bananas, oranges, bagels with cream cheese, bottled water, coffee, and freshly made (as you watched!) scrambled eggs were available for after the run.

We’ll definitely do this one again, and I’d love to do more of the runs put on by the SoCal Trail Race Series.