Xterra Snow Valley Trail 21K Race Recap


I ran the Xterra Snow Valley Trail 21km today and got my ass handed to me. And now I’m here to tell you all about it, so at least you know I survived.

Spotted this on Saturday, shoulda took it as a sign. Ha! Works on so many levels.

snow valley in the summer (800x450)

First, Road trip!



We drove up to Snow Valley yesterday and arrived around 1pm. Hit up the packet pickup which was a breeze. This is a small race so we were in and out.

snow valley xterrra race packet pickup (800x450)

There was a triathlon on Saturday that was just wrapping up when we got there.

snow valley xterra race (800x450)

Then, we had a picnic lunch

picnic lunch in big bear


jelly belly (800x450)

and took a hike.

trail in big bear (800x450)

hiking in big bear (450x800)

Finally it was time to get the party started with Steve. We went to Murray’s…

murrays in big bear (800x450)

But, Steve refused to do karaoke?!?!?!? That is super out of character – I should have known something was up. Foreshadowing of his very serious approach to the race (ie. he was out to get me).


Not the best idea before a race, but not the worst either Winking smile

vodka soda in big bear (450x800)

From here we had Himalayan food – there is an amazing Himalayan restaurant in Big Bear Village! We were hoping it would help us trek the mountains Sunday. It didn’t.

IMG_2372 (600x800)IMG_2375 (800x600)

Camping! It’s not just for bears any more.

snow valley camping (800x450)

morning in snow valley (800x450)

snow valley xterra half marathon morning (800x450)

I met Christine from Oatmeal in my Bowl and Rebecca (not pictured). How’d you ladies do?


Race time!

xterra start race recap (800x450)

Note to self: Check the course profile before just showing up like a tonta.

Race – It was gorgeous. Small field, 120 runners. Well organized. Snow Valley is beautiful.

Course – Climb 2 miles, sorta flattens out 2 miles, go back down 2 miles. Repeat

big bear view (800x450)

xterra half marathon (800x450)

xterra valley half marathon recap (800x450)top of the mountain in snow valley (800x450)

Xterra Trail Race 21km – 2:29:56

snow valley xterra trail race series recap (800x450)

Don’t let this picture fool you, I was crawling. It’s all about the angles.

xterra snow valley race recap 21k (800x450)

xterra half marathon finish line (800x450)

Steve finished in 2:03 and won FIRST place in his age group!!! He rocked it!

finish line in half marathon in snow valley (800x450)

Monican, on the other hand took so long that the first thing the guys asked me when I was done was, “What happened?!” They figured something went wrong. Nope. It was just hard, thanks.

someecard i am going to die

I’m just glad I stayed alive for the post-race watermelon.

xterra half marathon in snow valley recap (800x450)

Post race I saw Gillian! I missed her at LA – hello!!post race with gillian half marathon xterra (800x450)

xterra half marathon in snow valley recap race (800x450)

Post-race Xterra provides burgers and chips for all runners. Supporters can purchase food too.

post race hamburger xterra half marathon in snow valley recap (800x450)

Overall: It was a HARD race. Since I am very new to trail running I realize I need a lot more practice and training. Trail running is an entirely different beast from road racing.

You have much to learn young grasshopper…. snow valley xterra half marathon recap (800x450)

but I had a BLAST!

Question: What did you do this weekend?


  1. Meg says

    Looks like it was so beautiful and so much fun! I know you’re a trail newbie yourself, but do you have any tips for trail running??

  2. says

    Yes-there is nothing comparable about trail and road running-except the running. I run a lot of the trails in Boulder and actually look forward to running on paved bike paths a lot of the time just to even things out!

  3. says

    This weekend I ran 9 slow miles yesterday and 3 refreshingly wet miles (it was pouring) today. Other than that i basically did laundry and spent a lot of quality time with my dog. Funny about realizing trail running is WAY different than road running…. I just joined a local running group for a 3 mile trail run last weekend and almost had a meltdown at one point….between the bugs swirling and buzzing around my face and my effort level that of a speed workout just to keep the next slowest runner in my line of sight so i wouldn’t get lost. (this wasn’t a race so there were no markings on the trails). I felt SO accomplished afterward. It was a nice change of pace from the pavement but not something I could do 100% of the time. I think a nice balance of pavement/trail would be good.
    That burger looks so yummy! Even the lettuce looks perfect.

  4. says

    Sticking it out is the most important part! I don’t particularly care for trail running because I have to pay attention to too much so I don’t trip and kill myself – I like to just relax and run haha but GREAT Job!! I worked this weekend but got a good speed workout in along with a long run today!

  5. Heather says

    Dude. I ran 14 miles of trails out my front door today and it kicked my ass. Trails are the hardest. Nice work!

  6. Andrea says

    I had an off day Saturday and then ran 8 miles today. My longest run EVER! It felt great, and the weather made it so easy to get out there. I’m training for my first half-marathon on August 31st.

  7. says

    Trail running is the bomb. I do it once a week as part of my training for a half. The woods have a way of humbling you by making you think you’re dying, and then you fly outta there feeling like you’re reborn. You did amazing on your time, remember trail running will always be slower than road running, due to hills and rocks and roots and insane birds that attack (yeah, it’s happened).

  8. says

    Dang, you two were cranking it! That fire road – b*tch. and we had to do it twice. LOL. This was my 1st trail race and official 21K. ha. I’m just glad I finished. I was shooting for under 3, but hit 3:15. I say not bad my first “I’m a glutton for punishment”. ha. 2 hours? and 2:29 for you. Dang. One day maybe. Was great meeting you, Monica!

  9. says

    Monica, It was a difficult race. I didn’t wear a Heart Rate monitor because I didn’t want to keep pulling back up into place from all the bouncing. Plus, my heart rate was so high the entire race it didn’t really matter. That was the hardest I have run for 2 straight hours in the last 7 years. On the second loop I was just doing everything I could to hold some type of ChiRunning posture. My core strength was giving out. I’ll post my Garmin stats and the video tomorrow. I think you did well for only your second trail race and yes Born to Run 50k is long, but the trails were not as technical, climbs as long and downhills as steep as Snow Valley. There is a Trail Runner in you!

  10. Gillian says

    It was great to see you! We had a fun weekend getaway in Big Bear Lake. That race was hard! but we got top 10 for 30-34 😉
    Lessons learned:
    1. Just because I can run a sub-4 marathon doesn’t mean I can do a trail half without training. Duh.
    2. Check out elevation and course profile ahead of time. Oops.
    3. Go slow and try not to tumble down the hill. Check.
    4. Carry water. Seems so obvious now…
    It was humbling yet fun. I think I can see myself doing more trail runs in the future.

  11. says

    That looks beautiful! You did so well. We went to North Yorkshire, a 300 mile trip by car, but it was worth it. It’s a new part of the country to me and it was stunning. Cute villages and rolling green hills. Back to work today. Sigh.

  12. says

    Oh em gee this race has my name all over it!! I kill it in trail running since one of my favorite workouts is running through the mountains here in AZ. However, I die on the road. Seriously, so weird how different terrains change your ability to run.

  13. says

    I too got my butt kicked this weekend. Went to North Carolina and raced the US Pro Criterium National Championships. On the plus side, I actually got a placing in my race (35th). On the negative side, I wasn’t allowed to finish more than a third. Talk about humbling!

  14. says

    Looks tough, but the scenery is gorgeous! I rode 34-ish miles through country roads on Sat and ran around 9 miles on Sun. Other than that, I ate a lot and bummed around a lot. Good weekend :)

  15. says

    I have recently started trail running after 15 years of running almost exclusively on sidewalks or paved park trails… and the word that I use, and one I see here in so many comments, is HUMBLING. It truly is. Trail running will knock the ego right out of you! Also, it inspires me to buy new shoes – trail shoes always come in such great colors. :)

  16. says

    Just imagine how easy running on the road will feel 😉
    I went to the beach after an 8 miler and jokingly ran a bit. I told my mom that for my next half I am doing most of my runs in the sand so that running on the road will be a snap :)

  17. says

    I have a new love/addiction to trail running, I think mostly because it’s a challenge. This weekend I had a ~10k trail run around Emerald Lake (in Field, BC) while taking a mini-vacay with my mom. It was lovely with the exception of landing hard on a couple rocks in the middle of my foot, which got nicely aggravated by all the hiking I did. Still worth it though.

  18. Karen says

    I have alot of respect for distance trail runners. I did an Xterra back in march, the Hickory Knob in South Carolina. Mine was the 7 mile option, the longest distance I have ever run – in 40 degree pouring rain. I felt really out of place among the pro’s – but while some of them quit just because of the weather, I took second place in my age group. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done and it really pushed me outside my comfort zone. But I’m so glad I did it, and once I’m un-injured I will probably be doing more trail runs.

  19. Sandi says

    Hello. I enjoyed reading your blog. My daughter also participated at Snow Valley… Is Steve the one that was “video ing/interviewing ” her while they were running? I would love to see the video. Proud of you that you did this race…:) blessings. SA

  20. says

    I was in Indianapolis for my first, beautiful Jewish wedding. Shalom! Great time :)

    Mixed in there were a couple runs, 8, 5 and 4 miles. I need to run in new cities more often…

  21. says

    I agree with the other commenters: trail running is nothing like road running. I had my ass handed to me a few weeks ago in a trail series. Next weekend ran a half on the road and PR’d. All I could think of was, damn, this is a piece of cake compared to a trail race! Great job, Monica!

  22. Denise P. says

    We were supposed to go to Big Bear to celebrate a friend’s birthday, but fiancee was really determined to move into my place this weekend. And he did! So it really turned out to be a great weekend, cause I got to wake up next to my love.

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