MALIBU—I am happy to be reporting that I just ran the course that will be run by the participants of the Malibu International Marathon in just over a month on Sunday morning, November 15. As always with new courses there is a bit of reworking involved in order to achieve the exact distance.
When I first conceived the route, I had a few things in mind: the obvious beauty of one of the most untouched coastlines in Southern California, the flat elevation and potential to be a very fast course and a point to point course where you would actually run to Malibu, instead of just through it. This is where we got the line, "Come run with us to paradise." I ran the course solo on a Monday afternoon in the sun with no support but six water drops of Zico, our electrolyte sponsor, in a time of two hours and 48 minutes. This is my experience.
The start is at the Camarillo airport and in the first mile you loop through the airport streets before coming out and bearing left on Pleasant Valley Road. A short quarter mile or so brings you to Las Posas where you swing right and start down a good straight away. I got a little head wind and passing mile three I was doing around a 5:55 per mile pace. I knew this was faster than I wanted to be going but it was very hard to hold back, it is just so flat and the farms of Ventura Valley are so wide open. Turning Right on Laguna Road, I had my first Zico at 3.8 and continued with a bit of wind a couple miles to a left at Wood Road. Wood has a wonderful row of trees that block any winds and it is straight until mile eight, where you pop out at the awesome Navy display raised planes. Here you take a left and start the journey south. I felt great running along Navy road and dropping onto the Pacific Coast Highway. The first 10 miles had flown by in 60 minutes flat.
The second 10 miles are the gem of the race for me. You get your first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean around mile 12 and pass through the slot at Point Mugu, which puts you right on the water. Approaching the half marathon starting point, I looked down the untouched coastline towards mile 18 and saw nothing but the bluffs, the motorists, the sea and the sky, what a wonderful sight. Just after this moment I hit an unusually early wall. The kicking from the first half really zapped my steam and I had to catch my breath. But I wanted to see what I could do on this course so I kept shuffling along for a good time. A series of turns and slight rollers go pretty much unnoticed for the most part as you make your way through this beautiful zone. And then just before mile 19, you come to Neptune’s Net, the famous surf spot and restaurant/diner, and the civilization begins with the first of the hills!
The next seven miles is a series of good rollers through beautifully landscaped bluffs along the coast and I was greatly challenged, not so much by the size of the hills but mostly because I had burnt so much fuel so early. The last two miles you can pick it back up and stride out for a good finish as you drop downhill from the bluffs to Zuma beach. The view is incredible, and though it had become dark when I arrived, I imagined what a sight to see in the morning after running 26.2 miles. Welcome to paradise, I thought, how good to be here and what an experience.
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