I only really knew I'd be doing this race for the past week or so. I was lucky enough to win a free entry through Zola. They sent me some free swag along with my race form. Though I haven't opened up the bottle they sent me, the free sample after the race today was so yummy I went back and got seconds (the guy at the tent said "feel free to come back for more!").
Right now I'm in pure endurance building mode so haven't been doing any sort of speed training. My plan was to tackle this like a training run and enjoy the change of scenery. I have to say, every morning of a race when my alarm goes off at dark o'clock there is always a moment when I regret being a runner who participates in organized races. But I dragged my groggy butt down to Ghiradelli Square.
I think I've mentioned this before but I have some sort of aversion to checking a bag at races. I guess I think it'll be my luck that it gets lost. Before I left my apartment the weather was reported as being a "light rain mist." It didn't seem too chilly, but I grabbed a pair of gloves to wear pre-race and figured I'd stick them in a pocket once I got warmed up. It wasn't raining too much as I headed down to Aquatic Park, but once I was out of the safety of my car it definitely started raining.
I met up with the majority of the RoHo's and Michaela pre-race. They were all decked out in layers and I regretted not grabbing another layer as I had headed out. We spent some time huddled under a tent before heading out into the elements to stand in line to catch a bus to Sausalito. I will go on record as saying I don't mind running in the rain. In fact, as long as the run isn't 10+ miles I probably even enjoy running in the rain. But I do not like standing around pre-run or post-run in the rain. It was freakin' cold & miserable!
I had a first wave bib and took advantage of the earlier start to get myself moving away from the direction of hypothermia. I don't know how the rest of you ladies managed to stand around another 15 minutes in that weather for wave 2! I must be getting old because my hips were achy the first half a mile or so from the cool temps. The race had a blazing downhill start followed by a monster of a climb up towards the Golden Gate Bridge. I have never seen the GG Bridge from its base from the Sausalito side and I really regretted not having a camera to capture the scene. Even with the rain and clouds I wanted to stop and enjoy the view.
If not for the rain the temperature was actually not that terrible. I was afraid there would be horrible wind on the bridge and Crissy Field. But there was never anything I'd categorize as stronger than a breeze. I may have been in a race zone, but I think it stopped raining shortly after I started running. Even then, I kept my gloves on the entire race which wasn't planned.
Every good ascent deserves a good descent and the San Francisco side of the bridge offered some nice downhill sections. Once at Crissy Field I started to push the pace and my 10:00+ splits started turning into sub-10:00 and even low 9:00 splits. I guess I got carried away by the race atmosphere. Somewhere around mile 4.3 runners from the wave behind me started to pass me (I had a 15 minute head start on them!). Towards the end of the race this made it hard for me to keep my pace as I was constantly getting passed by much speedier people. I tried to lock in on a few runners who I knew were in my wave to try to not get carried away.
I never really felt like I was truly racing but I did kick it up for the final turn to the finish. There is something great about that push to the finish and crossing a finish line. That's the stuff you have to remember at dark o'clock race morning.
My garmin splits were (I have it set to auto-lap every 0.5 miles):
11:26 Big-arse steep hill -- yes I was running, maybe I should have just power-walked!
Total (unofficial) 1:13:07, 9:45 pace.
In general, running in the 9:00's is always a grand accomplishment so I feel pretty good about the run today. I'm glad I can pull off a pushed-pace mid-distance run. I managed to get through a 16 mile run Friday so am starting to feel like I'm back on track for Big Sur. I'm really happy I was able to take part in this race and may even do it again in the future.