Friday, May 31, 2013

Uniforms arrive

Like a kid at Christmas, I was super excited when the package with the new uniforms arrived at my work.  I ripped it open and immediately had to run to my office and try it on.  I don't know about you, but putting on a team uniform definitely amps me up.

Zach & John in their new uniforms
I'll be sure to wear the uniform on the trails in and around San Elijo Hills.  If you see me, please say "hello", so I can convince you to run the Post to Pillar.

San Elijo Hills Running Club

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Triple

The third version of the Post to Pillar is the "Triple", a 2.85 mile run with 562 feet of elevation (subject to revision).  This run is the same as the Post to Post, but rather than finishing at the Post, the run circles the Post and returns to the Pillar.  The clock stops when the runner touches the Pillar.

The triple is the last permutation of the Post to Pillar.  The first version touches the Pillar, the second adds a turn at the Pillar and the third adds a turn at the Post.  From here, runners can run multiple circuits ad infinitum, e.g. the "quad" (3.6 miles), "quint" (4.5 miles), or "hexa" (5.4 miles).

The Triple, due to its up-down-up topography, creates a natural interval run and provides an opportunity to extend the stride on the "down" leg.  The Triple also gives the runner a chance to work on pacing, providing two splits for the "up" leg.  Finally, the Triple is also a good tune-up run for a 5K, as the elevation gain more than makes up for the shorter length.

Triple record:

Men's:      23:15  John F. (41) - 5/27/13 Strava link

San Elijo Hills Running Club

Monday, May 27, 2013

Post to Post

The Post to Post, also known as the "Long Course" and the "Double", is a 1.89 mile trail run with 281 feet of elevation gain and no street crossings.  The Post to Post is the out-and-back version of the Post to Pillar.  When the runners reach the Genoa Way Access pillar, they circle the Pillar and return to the Post.  The clocks stops when the runner touches the Post.

POST - return view
Post to Post records

Men's Record:       16:12  John F.  (41) - 5/27/31  Strava Link
Women's Record:  Open
Boy's Record:        16:12  Zach F.  (11) - 5/27/31
Girl's Record:        Open

San Elijo Hills Running Club

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Post to Pillar

The Post to Pillar, also known as the "Short Course", is a .95 mile trail run, with 222 feet of elevation gain (subject to further confirmation).  It has no street crossings.  The run begins on the Copper Creek Trail, across from the middle school, where three posts are located.  

The Post 
The runner begins with their hand on the middle post, the "Post".  The clock starts when the hand of the runner comes off the Post.  The run starts at an elevation of 620 feet.

POST (middle) - Start of Post to Pillar
(Runner view)

Snake Bite 
The trail starts with a gradual ascent, passing the elementary school.  The trail then lurches from 6-8% grade to 13-20% grade, with a hard left and then a hard right at the trail intersection.  This section is known as "Snake Bite".

Snake Bite - the approach

Snake Bite - left turn
Snake Bite - hard right at the intersection

Snake Bite - the right turn
(downhill  view)
The Pause 
The trail continues to rise, with Copper Creek down below on the right.  Further up, the trail makes a wide right turn, before reaching the "Pause", a short flat portion, just before the Brightwood Drive Access to Copper Creek pillar.  The Pause is at 811 feet of elevation.


Brightwood Drive Access
to  Copper Creek Trail pillar

The Plunge
Immediately after the Pause, the trail plunges at 12-15% grade into the Garden Trail.  Runners take a hard left at the intersection onto the Garden Trail.

The Plunge - close view

The Plunge - far view - begins on far left
and intersects Garden Trail (right side)  
From here, it's all uphill, with almost a straight shot to the Genoa Way Access to Garden Trail pillar, the "Pillar".

The Pillar
The clock stops when the runner touches the Pillar, which is at 843 feet of elevation.

PILLAR - Finish of Post to Pillar
Genoa Way Access to Garden Trail pillar 
(Runner view)

The Post to Pillar run was created and first run on May 26, 2013 by Zach and John in a time of 8:56.  John currently hold the club record with 6:50.  The Post to Pillar run is a segment and all record times will be verified via Strava, which is free for this purpose. 

Post to Pillar records


1. 6:50  John Fraher - 6/14/13
2. 7:24  Jeremey Odom - 6/12/13
3. 8:01  Jeremey Odom - 6/4/13
4. 8:56  John Fraher (41) - 5/26/13




1.  8:56  Zach F. (11) - 5/26/13

Girl's:        Open

Post to Pillar history

The "Genoa Way Access" portion of the Garden Trail sign was originally called "Questhaven Road Access."  In 2012, the metal signs from trail pillars were removed and replaced with synthetic signs after thieves began stealing the signs for scrap value.  I guess somewhere in the process the access point name was changed.  I must say, Questhaven sounds much cooler.  Also, notice the gray rock that appears in 2010, has gone missing by 2013.  

Genoa Way Access - 2013
Questhaven Road Access - 2010

San Elijo Hills Running Club

The Colors

To stay consistent, the colors of the team should match the mascot.  The coyote has grayish-brown to yellowish-gray pelts, white throats and bellies, reddish-brown forelegs, sides and paws and black tipped tail. Gray, yellow, white, red and black are therefore the club's colors.

The question then becomes, what color is the primary color?  The away jersey, if we had one, would be white anyway.  Gray is for a practice jersey.  Black is good for Ninjas, but not runners who need to be seen.  Yellow doesn't do it for me.  So I get to "running red" and get a little alliteration.

The red jersey also helps the runner avoid being hit by a mountain biker or car.

San Elijo Hills Running Club

The Mascot, Nickname & Motto

For a few minutes after I had decided on a team name, I had peace.  My mind was still.  Then the questions began.  Mascot?  Colors?  Local?

The middle school mascot is the eagle, but a running club needs a mascot that runs, not flies, so the eagles were out.  Then what?  Pick a local animal.  Represent the community.  So what animals are indigenous to San Elijo?  Desert Cottontail, Coyote, Southern Mule Deer, Dusky Footed Wood-Rat, San Diego Alligator Lizard, and Southern Pacific Rattlesnake are a few.
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
I definitely don't want a rattlesnake mascot, which is like a surf team picking a shark.  Besides, snakes don't have feet.
Dusky Footed Wood-Rat
Not a big fan of rats for a mascot either, too many negative connotations.
San Diego Alligator Lizard
A lizard lives in my backyard, which faces south and gets hot.  A lizard is sort of cool, but I prefer mammal over reptile and the ability to maintain body temperature.

Southern Mule-Dule
That leaves rabbit, coyote and deer.  I can't get over the 'Mule' in Mule Deer, which makes me think slow.  I could just get rid of the 'mule' and pick 'deer' as the mascot, but I'd always know and it would eat away at me.  Down to two, rabbit or coyote?

Desert Cottontail
The "Running Red Rabbits", oh, what an awesome name.  But coyotes are cooler than rabbits.  Rabbits are pace-makers and lose to tortoises.  Rabbits are more sprinters, than runners, not that sprinters aren't welcome here.  My mind battled.  I see rabbits constantly.  The coyotes not so much anymore.  They used to run down my street.  Now I just hear the howling.

Canis latrans

Back and forth the battle raged.  I went to my family.  They said, "coyotes".  Coyotes it is.  I like their scientific name, canis latrans, which means "barking dog" and give us a great nickname to boot.  To top if off, "trans" is a prefix and means "across", "beyond" and "through", which give us a team motto too.  As Hannibal Smith would say, "I love it when a plan comes together".

San Elijo Hills Running Club

The Name

Picking a name took a bit more time than I thought it would.  "San Elijo Hills Running Club" immediately popped into my mind, as it gives the golden trifecta of not only the town name and purpose of the club, but the topography as well.  I could see a jersey in my mind's eye, like the one below, on a t-shirt design website, but a bit better, but they wanted a minimum order of six shirts.  As I stared at the website, my future running life montage flashed before my eyes.  I was wearing the colors of San Elijo, Chariots of Fire was playing, I was running . . .

But then the debate began.  What about "San Elijo Hills Athletic Club?", which could encompass running and any other sport, such as baseball, darts, sailing or soccer.  Too ambitious, I'd immediately need to raise $5M  for a club building and pool.  Instead, we can hang out in my garage, it has an old television with basic cable, tools, bikes and dogs.

Should I limit myself to just San Elijo?  Perhaps, "North County Running Club"?  No, its too big an area.  I don't run all over North County, just the SEH area.  Keep it simple.  Stick to what I know.  Besides, the best running in North County is in San Elijo Hills, so let's promote San Elijo.  

Just when I thought I was done, I wondered about a less traditional team name, like "Hill Eaters" or "Hill Runners?  Maybe something more fun.  I couldn't think of any good fun ones.  No, these names never stick around for the long haul.  I wanted something classic, something that has stood the test of time and would endure as long as the running jerseys last.  

My mind continued the debate and my thoughts drifted to common team names like "Track Club", "Road Runners" and "Racers".  Too limiting, I thought.  The club is for runners, whether they run on the road, track, trail or treadmill, in races or not.  So after hours of thought, I returned to where I began and picked San Elijo Hills Running Club.  

San Elijo Hills Running Club