Caren Ware's Blog

September 18, 2010

FUN n FUNKY Events and Eventers: My Saturday, Sunday Journey with races and race people.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:07 pm



There are a lot of “mix it up, make it different” events out there for the fall. I get a chance to get sneak previews when I meet with the race directors and go over their courses and race set ups. So here’s your sneak peek.  I dropped materials off at Runnergy in Sherman Oaks  for a Dirt Dash packet pick up.  The event is on Saturday, Sept.  25, 2010  . It benefits the Salvation Army and is staged at their camp in the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu Canyon between the 101 Fwy and Pacific Coast Highway.  A participant has the option to run a 5k mud run, 5k or 10k trail run, or do all of them.  It is awesome to have hills, mud, trails, dirt, and ocean vista views so close to Los Angeles, but a vacation feeling away.  I like the instant ‘get away’  that engulfs me when I bounce off the freeway and wind through that canyon. 

After dropping off the packets, I headed out to Conejo Valley and met with the event promoters of the Conejo Valley Halloween Mud Run.  Another not normal, but highly fun event.   Boys will be boys.  These guys are bringing in an excavator to build mud pits.  They are renting out the entire picturesque Dos Vientos Community Park at the end of Bochard Road in Thousand Oaks and making it into an obstacle course of things to go over, under, and through.  They are designing a short course that circles and runs through the park with a mud trough and obstacles.  For the ones that want to run run , they also have a long course with miles of trails that end through the short course mud and obstacles.  Definitely dirty.…/conejovalley-halloween-mudrun-2010 

The event promoters are also a part of the Tour of California cycling stage race and I begged a ride off of them while I was out there.  It is good to ride with cyclists that know how to shift gears, hold back and conserve energy, spin effortlessly and efficiently, climb hills out of the saddle,  and have road savvy bike manners.  There are some nice roads to ride around Conejo Valley.  I appreciated the chance to ride and use the day as a cross training recovery day.  I felt that ‘on a mini vacation’ feeling riding on that end of the Santa Monica Mountains, the same feeling Malibu Canyon gives me.  I liked the wisps of sea breeze air. 

From Conejo Valley I dropped down into Camarillo to meet with the Santa to the Sea event director.  He lives right around the corner from his Santa off of the 101 Fwy.  The neighborhood was a strong majority of hard working farm workers.  There was a vendor pushing a cart full of corn on the cobs.  The front of his home looked much like the others, but a tad more manicured.   Once in the gate it opened up to a fully landscaped acre of incredibly inviting property.  Mike is a retired high rise steel construction worker using his retirement constructively!  He built his property into a pool with a walk in island style bar , a detached work shop , a grassed playground so park style, and a garden that actually had promising produce.

Mike had put together his run SANTA to the SEA, being held Sunday, December 12, 2010  to provide a means for a toy drive to give his neighborhood and ones like his a better Christmas. The idea of the race is to come not only with an entry fee, but a toy to be given to those in need.  Mike put a request out for those in need to toys at Christmas and got thousands of needy responses back! So runners, put it on your calendar to do something giving at Christmas and bring a toy. His Half Marathon course starts at his Santa.  The race is set up so the runners go park at the finish and are bused to the start. I drove the entire course with him and thought; now this is a course worth running.  I chuckled when he prepped me for the two big hill climbs on the course…the two overpasses.  So folks, it is a pretty tame territory, flat course.  His description on his website lets you know that it is purposely designed to show off the area. “The Santa to the Sea Half Marathon course starts at the GIANT SANTA located at 2801 Ventura Blvd. along the 101 Freeway in Oxnard between the Rice Road and Del Norte Blvd. off ramps. We run east along Ventura Blvd. and cross the 101 at Del Norte Blvd. The course goes through the famous strawberry fields of Oxnard then passes through a new business park and heads to downtown Oxnard and PLAZA PARK. The course heads west and goes through the beautiful Historic District with the homes in this area, known as Candy Cane Lane, decorated for Christmas. Then it is straight to the beach and the beautiful Marine Emporium Landing, finish line and festival.  Ps.  If you are intimidated by the half marathon distance, there is a two person relay and a 5K that runs around the harbor.

After watching a sailing ship with full sails cruise in , I was introduced to a lot of the locals at the Rudder Room, a sailor’s atmospheric bar right past the harbor overlooking the sands, the sea, and the Channel Islands.  It was fun to get to know a town from its Santa to its Sea. Thank you, Mike, for making this a possibility to all kinds of runners on December 12, 2010.

I cruised out of the harbor and headed to the Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu.  I was hitting this stretch of road with its rocky beaches, sand dunes, and surf right at my favorite time of the day…sunset.  I had to pull over, roll down the windows, and listen to the crashing waves.  I had to get out and let the strong winds whip my hair and the setting sun touch fill my eyes and tough my heart.  I had to conclude that this was a good day.

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