Malibu Creek 25k Race Report

So I preface this report with the fact that I’ve run trails once before. I really enjoyed that trail run and felt really good after it. That was a 10 mile out and back. The Malibu Creek Trail run was one giant loop. I don’t really do to well on looped runs but I figured what the heck, and I got conned into the race by Billy. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with Sara, and we went out dinner with some friends before the race at C & O Cocina, and they had amazing food!


At dinner, remind me never to wear that vest again. Thanks.


Here’s the elevation chart. Yea, possibly should have looked at this before the race.

Onto the race. Sara and I woke up early and ready to go. I just didn’t have the worlds best feeling about my knee but I knew I would hopefully be able to tough it out. I liked the last trail run. I was excited to run 15 miles, a new race distance pr for me. We drove to Malibu Creek and it was freezing. We had checked the weather beforehand and it said it would be 45 degrees. When we got there it was 33. That’s a pretty big difference! I actually walked over to the race check in wearing my blanket that I slept with the night before wrapped around me. I got a few funny looks but I’m not a cold weather lover unless I’m prepared for it.


Hi, I’d like to check in to get annihilated now. Thanks.

Then I went back to the car to put down my blanket and get my bottle and everything, and yup, as I’m walking back I totally missed the start. Cool. I would have normally FLIPPED out, but I was like whatever, I’m going to take my time and make sure I’m prepared and then take off. I finally left the starting area around 5 minutes later. I quickly caught up to the last of the packs and I was SUPER annoyed. There were random people yehawing? I was already dead at mile 3 and I had 12 more to go. My love for trail running was slowly dying. I climbed a few hills and on the first downhills my knee immediately was killing me. I knew it wasn’t smart to push myself and just figured I would run when I could and walk/jog when I couldn’t.


This was the start. I missed it. See that mountain in the background? Pretty sure we climbed it.

It was then when I met up with Yolanda, which I will go into more tomorrow, she was so inspiring and I can’t wait to tell you all about her!!


It was pretty, but I don’t know about worth it.


Another totally funny part of the race. We were running along and some guy told us to follow up to the road. Now this was a busy road and we had to hike up a little mini hill to get to the top and travel down the road, I felt like the race directors wouldn’t have us run down this road, but I followed him because he seemed to know what he was doing and I didn’t know the route. WELL I MISSED THIS RIVER because of him! How funny and GREAT… I would have flipped. So yup, this race I technically cheated as well. Well again I was told that this was the path but seriously, how funny.


The hills, yup, no joke here. This one wasn’t even that bad at all.

So I slugged along, the hills were BRUTAL. I have NEVER experienced something like this before. They kept coming and coming and coming I would think that the next one would be the last, but no it wasn’t. It was like you got to the top and then you could see the next path you were about to travel. Hard-freaking-core. Then as it always happens, what goes up must come down. Yikes. So the downhills were pretty hard for the knee but it held up, but the toes are a little hurt from being squashed into the front of my shoes, especially with two already beat up toenails. I hopefully salvaged them last night and this morning and they are looking okay. I’m in a wedding this weekend and my feet look like those of an ogre. Cool fashion statement.

Back to the race. I continued to slug along. I asked someone how much farther and they said about 3.5 more miles according to their garmin. I realized that my nike plus just stinks it’s pretty much worthless. After I found out how much farther I thought okay, YOU CAN DO THIS. My whole body was aching. My quads were killing me from so much hill work, my toes and feet hurt and I was positive that I was getting a huge blister on my heel, but I thought it’s only a 5k more. We were running on a pretty flat surface and I was fighting to finish the race, when I fell. I just twisted my ankle and went down. It was a straight down awkward slow motion fall. I think a weird incomprehensible sound flew out of my mouth and I oddly heard the thud as I fell. I just was like wow, this was just the icing on the cake. The women in front of me and the guy behind me were immediately asking if I was okay and I totally was, I walked off my ankle and almost started laugh crying. It was a weird, weird feeling. I tried my hardest to slow jog the remaining 3 miles and re-met up with Sara and she encouraged me, it was nice to see a friendly face. Then FINALLY after three hours and forty minutes of running, hiking, jogging and PURE TORTURE I finished.

Things I learned from this race:
1. I need to stop listening to Billy and allowing him to con me into races
2. I NEED hill work
3. It’s okay to be slow. It’s more than okay to walk.
4. Clip your toenails SUPER short before any type of running activity
5. An elevation change of almost 3,000 feet may not be the best idea to climb
6. It’s okay to get your BUTT KICKED every now and then
7. Sometimes, it’s okay to be happy with just finishing the race

I did enjoy the race, I learned a lot about a totally different type of running and I have SO much respect for trail runners now. It was a trying experience to say the least. Today my butt is KILLING ME, and so is my lower back. Tonight I’ll be doing some hardcore stretching while relaxing since it’s thankfully a rest day for me.

I think that this post goes to show that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Thank you Malibu Creek 25k for bringing me out of my comfort zone and just kicking me when I’m down.


PS: Thanks to Billy who ran with a camera and stole all his pictures from his site. :)

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73 Responses to Malibu Creek 25k Race Report

  1. RunWithMe says:

    Wow what an adventure. So impressive that you made it to the end despite some setbacks. It does look beautiful, but I can understand not really feeling like enjoyng the view during all that climbing. Great job!!

  2. RunToFinish says:

    holy cow no way in the water at 33 degrees!! good for you on life sending you a little messenger to avoid that!

    great attitude and I am amazed at that elevation, you rock

  3. Alisa says:

    Um…I woulda been more than OKAY with walking that race! Yikes!

    I am not a hill runner nor am I a trail person.

    Great job on finishing and kicking that trail in the ass! Sorry to hear about your fall, that’s pretty much the reason I don’t do trails =).

  4. Jess says:

    Haha hot damn what a race! Congrats on finishing!

  5. X-Country2 says:

    Wow, that’s HARDCORE! I hope the race shirt was sweet, because you earned it.

  6. Kristin says:

    I will agree that Nike+ basically just blows. I had one before I got my Garmin and I am sooo relieved to actually know the correct distance when I’m running now!

    Way to fight to finish! That’s great and all that really matters — especially in a race that you’re new to.

  7. MOMMY-MOMO says:

    whoa! that looks like a gnarly race! fun.

    I too live in the OC and ran college track. Getting back into running after having my first baby a year and half ago. Love your blog! I’m now following… nice to meet you :)

  8. Billy Burger says:

    Danica – you ran one of the toughest trails that the Santa Monica Mtns has to offer. And you got through it (relatively unscathed).

    I don’t think trying to get in your head and scaring the crap outta you was the right course of action however. Glad you came out, glad you mentally and physically pushed yourself out there and I promise you, the next race I ‘con’ you into doing will be much more enjoyable.

    Great seeing ya again Danica!

  9. Wearing Mascara says:

    Girl you rock and are such an inspiration! Right now it’s more than okay for me to just finish :-) That is a success in itself :-)

    What’s the longest you’ve ever run? Just curious.


  10. Oz Runner says:

    great race report…way to tough it out in the end….this is a race you will remember for sure….I can’t imagine running on those mountains like that, in freezing weather, through trails like that..yikes. props to you..

  11. Denise says:

    Wow, what a race. I don’t think I’m cut out for trail races, but maybe some day just to kick my own butt. Great job!!

  12. aron says:

    wow you are AMAZING!!! CONGRATS on your first long trail race, that just sounds crazy intense!! you are awesome girl!

    ps I think its time for a Garmin!

  13. Rachael says:

    You inspire me! Keep up the great work!

  14. Candice says:

    Ok, so I guess maybe it’s possible that you had a worse run than I did this past weekend. Mine was just an average 16 mile road run…but was by far the most painful run I’ve ever been on in my life!

    I’m so proud of you for finishing and for having such a great attitude about it!

    I never realized how unhelpful my nike+ was until my husband got a Garmin. When you’re running upwards of 15 miles, you definitely want to have an accurate distance!

    I hope you recover well, and again – way to go for finishing it off! You’re an amazing runner!

  15. Fair Weather Runner says:

    Wow that is incredible, excellent job! Just amazing, at least you had a good attitude and incredible views. I would have fallen far more than once by the way.

  16. Christine says:

    Great job! Those hills give me the chills! haha I woulda died…way to “rock” it out girl :)

  17. Runner Leana says:

    That river is insane!! Talk about blister city after that. Congratulations on your race. Sounds like you learned some great things!

  18. maria k says:

    my butt is sore just looking at those hills. congrats on making it out alive.

  19. Nessa says:

    Bless your heart! You finished and lived to tell about it!! yay. lol

  20. Stuart says:

    Nice job, like Billy said, Castro Peak is not an easy walk let alone run and the descent was tricky after all the rain we had recently. Congratulations on finishing and keeping going for all that time goes to your mental toughness which is gonna be great training for San Diego which you are totally going to rock out!

    PS I can’t believe you skipped the river! Oh yeah and the guy plodding up the hill hands on hips…that’s me!

  21. Lacey Nicole says:

    i really like the what you learned list! i am scared now… i signed up for a trail running SERIES over the summer and into next fall. it’s 7 races total. but i figured… if i have to stop and walk i will. but i wlil also be doing something to get stronger!

  22. Naturally Caffeinated Family says:

    Wow, what a race! I’m so sorry you twisted your ankle! The venue looked gorgeous and now you can say you did it! Love the playlists below! I’m going to have to pass those onto a friend whose been asking for running music! I’ll have to save them for after I’m preggo!

  23. Run Saraah says:

    Wow, that looks like a brutal course! I cant believe you kept running with an injured ankle, that is determination! You have an awesome attitude.

  24. Niki says:

    You are awesome! I’m really impressed:) I probably would have fallen more than once! Haha. Think it’s time for you to get a Garmin. I love mine!

  25. *~! megs !~* says:

    Holy cow girl. You are awesome that you finished!

    I was exhausted just reading about it!!

    Your blog so makes me want to go outside and run. =)

  26. Aaron Cunningham says:

    Sounds like a ‘fun’ run. :) Good on ya for keeping’ going!

    I’d debate the super short nails thing though. I’ve found that If I cut then super short, then they actually cut my toes, and I bleed. Your milage may vary. :)

  27. Amy says:

    Wow! Good for you to finish and still have a great attitude about it!

    Awesome job!

  28. kristen says:

    wtf? Crazy. I hope you don’t give up trail running forever. Those pictures were amazing, and your even more amazing for finishing! Good job!!

  29. Ms. V. says:

    I'm sure you had good music though…right? (Your post the day before was fab)

    I cannot believe it was 33 in Malibu! & 3000 feet! HOLY COW!!

    Way to finish, girl.

  30. Marcy says:

    You big cheater! HAHAHAA! Nah girl that’s freakin awesome! You a crazy one (or gullible :P). When is the next one? ;-) Awwwhhh come on you know you’ll do another!

  31. Marathon Maritza says:

    Congratulations!!!!! You did amazingly well. I ran a half that gained 2000ft and I thought THAT was nuts! I admire you taking this one and finishing! Whoo!

    This was my favorite part of your post: “I’m in a wedding this weekend and my feet look like those of an ogre. Cool fashion statement.”

    All I can say is pumice stone and LOTS of moisturizer! LOL I’m sure they’ll look fine!

  32. BeachRunner says:

    Wow! What a beautiful, fun, amazing and challenging race. And I laughed that you brought your blankie with you. LOL. Great job and great post.

  33. Tom Ritchie says:

    Loved your race report and especially the pictures. I really can’t wait until I can run with no snow around. I can’t wait for winter to be over! That run looked awesome. You are right, sometimes you need to be happy that you are out thier in the elements and finish. Really loved those pictures!

  34. Tara says:

    awesome job on pushing through!! that was seriosuly hardcore and the elevation chart is no joke! Congrat on your distance PR as well :)

    Also I agree with Aron get a Garmin you will *heart* it :)

  35. Sarah says:

    Wow…sounds like a tough race! I have never done a trail race. Sounds very challenging!

  36. Emily says:

    Way to stick with it!

    I’ve been keeping up with your blog for a while now, and after Christmas it inspired to me to lace up my shoes and get back to running (or in my case, very very slow jogging.) I just completed my first 5K in years a couple of weekends ago.

    Keep up the great work!

  37. N.D. says:

    wow!! this looks like a very challenging course! good for you sticking it out!! Glad you missed out on that river, jeesh!!

  38. D10 says:

    Well done. I am so jealous of your race report and Billy’s. I love the challenge of the trails. You did great.

  39. K says:

    You can always paint your toe nails with OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark for the wedding. Then no one will ever know about your runner toes. You should definitely be proud of finishing that race. I don’t think I would have even started!

  40. The Laminator says:

    Congrats on your race! It sounded pretty painful, which probably meant it felt that much greater to finish.

    And I definitely agree – there is no shame to walking a trail race, and sometimes the greatest reward is just finishing.

    Great job!

  41. USJogger says:

    Great race report! I’m glad that you survived. Sometimes, that’s the only goal that counts.


  42. Emily says:

    Woah- I am so super impressed with all the work you did! That you had all these little things that normally would have freaked you out and yet you kept rolling with the punches… I can’t wait to read more about Yolanda tomorrow.


  43. runjen says:

    Wow! I am completely impressed! This looks hard core! Good for you, girl!

  44. Running Around Acres says:

    Sounds like an awesome run. We have a few trail runs around here and I LOVE them!!! Nature is so much nicer to run (though, it can be harder) than city neighborhoods. Good job and hope the ankle is ok.

  45. J says:

    Wow sounds like such an intense race! I hate hills too but they are so good for you!! Great job – love the little comments with the pictures!

  46. Jamie says:

    YOU ROCK! Don’t be down on yourself one bit! I can’t even IMAGINE doing what you did! Congrats on finishing!

  47. ilovesteaks says:

    I think you’re too hard on yourself! That was one mean course and we did it! Sometimes surviving is good enough. I’ve learned that I’m just not quite ready to hang with the big boys and girls. Once the pain subsides, I know that I’m going to go out and run some more trail races preferably with two good Achilles. :D

  48. says:

    dang girl, i could never do that! way to finish! i would have curled up in a ball, started sucking my thumb, and maybe even cried a little.

  49. Kristen says:

    I think I would have freaked if I had to run through a river!

    What a TOUGH race but you totally nailed it.

  50. joyRuN says:

    Great job on your trail run, girl!

    And yes – get a Garmin already!!!

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