Sunday, August 7, 2011

Run OC: A Snail's Pace Laguna Hills and South Coast Road Runners

As a part of promoting the 2011 USATF Southern California Road Mile Championships, I had a chance to meet up with some of the running groups in the greater Irvine/Orange County area. Last week was a double header, with the Laguna Hills chapter of A Snail's Pace Running Club meeting on Wednesday, August 3, and the South Coast Road Runners meeting on Thursday, August 4.

Runners meeting at A Snail's Pace running shop in Laguna Hills.
I wayyyy underestimated the traffic on the 405 as I headed south on Wednesday. After one hour in my car, I had only traveled 6 miles. This is the point when every runner thinks, even on my worst day, I could be running faster than my car is moving right now! I missed the start of the Snail's Pace run, but followed the directions to head out behind the store, and before I knew it I was on the Aliso Creek Bikeway. This beautiful bikepath takes us by Clarington Park to Aliso Park. I started to see runners returning from their run, and soon ran into Bob Morris, manager of A Snail's Pace Running Shop in Laguna Hills. Bob and I headed back to the store, where I got a chance to talk to New Balance rep Monica. Much to my surprise, I also had the opportunity to visit with Rebecca Trahan. Rebecca has been kind enough to volunteer at many of the Road Running Championships races this year. I asked if she knew Bob Morris, and it turns out that Bob is one of her students in her Monday night yoga class! Thanks again for the help Rebecca!

Rebecca Trahan (left) and Bob Morris (right)

After enjoying some mix1 recovery shakes (chocolate) we headed over to the monthly meeting of the Laguna Hills chapter, at Antonucci's Restaurant. We arrived to find plenty of pizza waiting for us, and I had a chance to listen in on ASPRC plans for upcoming races and social events. This club has been around since 1979, and it is easy to see why. They keep an interesting and exciting schedule of events for their members, and they are great folks to run with.

Pizza and Birthday cake at Antonucci's Restaurant, Mission Viejo.
Thursday I allowed extra time for my drive, and got the chance to see mix1 field marketing specialist Natalie Gatrell at the Peters Canyon run before meeting with the South Coast Road Runners at Heritage Park in Irvine. Natalie provided some extra mix1 for the SRCC Thursday run. I again joined Bob Morris for the run, and this time we headed away from Heritage Park, jumping onto the Walnut Trail. Like Wednesday night's run, I was impressed with the ready availability of paths and trails for running in Orange County. When we hit our 2.5 mile turnaround, I noticed we were just across the street from the El Toro Airfield, site of the Road Mile Championships!

South Coast Road Runners August meeting, Grand Prix genius Mike Friedl (front row, far right)
I added the mix1 recovery drink to the well-stocked supplies for post-run refueling. In addition to Gatorade and water we had fresh, warm, home-made cookies! Wow! Then we headed to a large meeting room in the Heritage Park facility. A SCRR meeting is full of current running events: the meeting starts with a run-down of the current leaders in the SCRR running Grand Prix, plus notes on the social calendar, announcement of the runner/member of the month, and more. HINT: hosting a great BBQ can lead to being a runner-of-the-month! After I spoke about the Road Mile, there was a vote for the October SCRR road race, and the winner was the Long Beach Marathon/Half-Marathon/5K. Great choice! The Long Beach 1/2 Marathon is the 2011 USATF Southern California 1/2 Marathon Championships race! SCRR members can participate in any of these Long Beach races, and have their age-graded scores added to the Grand Prix. If this sounds familiar, the USATF Southern California Grand Prix is based on the SCRR Grand Prix, with much help provided by Mike Friedl. As a thanks for their help, Bob Morris, Mike Friedl and Quang Pham received USATF National Team hats, though Quang Pham was not on hand Thursday night.

The ubiquitous Bob Morris wearing a USATF National Team Hat, courtesy USATF
The post-meeting feast was at Lampost Pizza, with plenty of salad, pizza and beer for everyone! Dave Parsel  modeled his fashionable USATF Cross Country Championships t-shirt from February of this year, and John Gardiner and Brad Wobig were wearing their USATF Road Mile Championship T-shirts as well.

Dave Parsel styling the 2011 USA Cross Country Championships T-shirt
I really had a great time this week, and look forward to meeting with the Fountain Valley Chapter of A Snail's Pace Running Club on August 10! Thanks to everyone for the great hospitality!

John Gardiner replenishes essential carbohydrates at Lampost Pizza, Irvine CA.