Rockin' The Coto Trail Half Marathon Race Report

The Green Girl did the Rockin' The Coto Trail Half Marathon this morning.

It was my first trail race and my first small race - it was capped at 25 runners. The course was on horse trails in the gated community of Coto de Caza in Orange County.

I emailed the race director, Charlie Alewine, before I registered to make sure a three hour back of the packer half marathoner was welcome. He replied that there was no time limit and I'd be fine.

I was apprehensive about doing my first trail race. I was also intimidated to discover Charlie Alewing Racing races are popular among ultramarathoners.

My fears were put at ease when I saw how relaxed all the runners were as we waited for the race to start. I chatted with another runner, Gail, who mentioned a few of them had done a full marathon yesterday and were doing another today.

They explained the course was an out and back and to look out for an Easter Bunny stop sign designating the turn around point.

The next thing I knew, the race was starting. We headed down a paved path to the horse trail. The trail was well groomed and lined with a white aluminum picket fence.

I wasn't used to running on trails with such loose dirt so it took me awhile to fall into a comfortable pace. Fairly large rocks kept getting into my shoes so I had to stop a few times to shake them out. At one point, I even managed to get a small branch in my left shoe. Despite the slight inconvenience, I thoroughly enjoyed running on the horse trail.

The entire course was surrounded by rolling hills and large homes.

The sky was overcast and the weather was perfect for a run.

It was a good day for me. I felt strong and my body felt good - no aches or pains. After struggling with posterior tibial tendonitis for so long, I don't take my running for granted.

I got a good chuckle when I saw the Easter Bunny stop sign at the halfway point.

I've been experimenting with my nutrition in preparation for the Athens Classic Marathon. I'm one of those runners who prefers real food to sports nutrition but I've been trying different forms of bars and chews to see if I can find something I like.

Today, I ate half a package of Morinaga Hi-Chew Strawberry Fruit Chews and a three Black Cherry Clif Shot Bloks with caffeine.

I brought 10 ounces of water and 20 ounces of Gatorade but I realized I should have brought more water and less Gatorade.

On my way back, I stopped at the unmanned aid station and was thrilled to discover a bag of cheese puffs. I quickly poured some into a paper cup, refilled my water bottle, and took an extended walk break as I happily munched on the salty puffs and sipped Gatorade.

I was making excellent time when it started to heat up around Mile 11. I started taking more and more walk breaks and my pace got significantly slower. A 03:15 finish got further and further away and I finally decided I would be satisfied with a sub-03:30.

Charlie and his wife enthusiastically cheered me on as I got to the finish.

I hung around to cheer on some of the marathoners and chatted with some of the other runners. Everyone was extremely supportive and encouraging. It was a small race with a huge heart.

I thanked Charlie for putting on such an awesome race and assured him I'd be back very soon.


  1. What a great experience for your first trail run! And cheese puffs... That's perfect!
    You go Green Girl!!!
    ~Round Mama (I'm working on my stage name. How do you fell about this one?)

  2. Thanks, girl! Yup, I was so happy to see those puffs. Yummy!

    Hm. I'm not sure about 'Round Mama'. I mean, it will be a short-lived name because when you lose your weight, you won't be 'round' anymore...

  3. Congrats on your first trail run! I've been too intimidated to sign up for one, but I'm considering a 20k in October. This definitely makes me want to sign up for it even more :)

  4. Thank you so much, girl. It was the first time I got butterflies in my stomach after I registered.

    I say go for it. I've never had so much fun at a race!

  5. 25 runners? And you got a medal? Wow, that's fantastic! There's no way in heck that you'd get a medal out here for such a small event. Glad you had a great time...I need to add "Trail running in CA" on my bucket list.

  6. Jill, I loved it. The small race appealed to me so much more than the big races. And the fact that I got a medal was totally the icing on top.

    I cannot wait to hear all about your California trail run!

  7. What a great race as your first trail race! Well done! I love some salty snacks during runs sometimes. Loved the Easter Bunny Stop! Lovely medal too.

  8. Sounds like a great time, but it looked hot. You must have an iron stomach to eat cheese puffs during such a long run; how funny! Great job!

  9. What a cool race. I would have been completely intimidated by the 25 runner limit, but it sounds like everyone was so nice. Great job!

  10. Great race report and nice job on your first trail race!

  11. Good Job!! Sounds like a great race!

  12. I'm glad you had a good experience. People who run CAR races are either real happy or real disappointed. Thank goodness that it's been such a mild summer too - Coto can get hot hot hot!

  13. Johann, the Easter Bunny 'Stop Hare' sign rocked pretty hard. Heh.

    BeckyK, I have an iron stomach in general and can pretty much eat anything, anytime, anywhere. I can only attribute it to traveling a lot as a child and eating all different kinds of foods?

    Tracy, going into this race, I was really intimidated. I'd never gotten butterflies in my stomach like that before.

    Thank you, Kovas and Runners Fuel.

    Glenn, I looked at the reviews before I registered and I did notice that people were either huge fans or - like you said - really disappointed. As a true back of the packer, I'm used to minimal crowd support and doing long runs alone so a low key race like this is perfect for me. I'm really glad it didn't warm up until I was almost done. I had planned on doing another two miles but the heat was too much for me.

  14. Wow! This is AWESOME! Now I think you might have to bring me next time.. I need some new scenery! I laughed when I read "as I happily munched on the salty puffs" cuz I totally got a visual with a happy lil you:).. AND WOW does that medal rock! Glad it was so successful!

  15. Fun Metal! You know I just like the shiny... GREAT JOB! Kick butt!

  16. That sounds like a terrific race. Congratulations!
    Is that Cota the same place that features the Real Housewives of Orange County? ( I know...I watch too much reality TV. Help.)

  17. Thanks, Rad Runner Girl and micalia!

    Her Name Is Rio, you crack me up! I've never seen that show before so I had to look it up but you're absolutely right - it takes place in Coto de Caza! How funny. I learned something new today!


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