Friday, May 10, 2013

Avenue of the Giants 10K

Originally my plan for the Avenue of the Giants half  marathon was to train specifically for this distance from Jan-May and hopefully run a sub-1:45 half marathon.  To add some excitement to the pot, I challenged my husband to a little race since his PR for this distance is somewhere in the 1:46 range.  I signed us both up last summer and was really looking forward to concentrating on the half distance for the first time in almost four years.

Well, we all know that my body had other plans. My husband did continue training though he might have lost some of his mojo once he knew I wasn't out there to chase down and keep pride over.  But he was still up for the race so we headed north.  I was planning on possibly doing a short 1-2 miler while he was out on the course and setting up for cheer duty the rest of the day.  However, they let me drop to the 10K which I gladly accepted.  I figured I could either go for a beautiful stroll in the woods or get skin cancer in the sun waiting for over an hour and half at the finish.  That wasn't a hard decision.

I decided to run the first mile, walk the middle four miles, then run the last 1.2 miles.  The half marathon got a 15 minute head start over the 10K and I knew it was going to be pretty close for me to make it back to see my husband finish.

This isn't really a race report. More like a walk report.  But, I will say it was so great to be out there with everyone.  I still really want to race this half course one day so I tried to pay attention to the grade of the hills and sized up the course from a reconnaissance perspective.  Just like when I ran the marathon out here, it seemed to be all downhill optically in both directions due to the massive trees.

Maybe I'll just keep walking home to San Francisco

The Avenue of the Giants event has a marathon which runs a different out-and-back segment first, then does the one that the half and 10K runners utilize second.  The marathoners had a 75 minute head start over the 10K.  This meant that a couple of  miles or so into the 10K, the lead marathoners started to pass us.  I have to say, it must have been incredibly frustrating for them.  We were not given clear direction which side of the road to stay on.  The lead man had a biker who yelled out for him, but the poor second place guy was far enough behind that the wave of walking 10Ks had closed in again and he seemed extremely frustrated.  I'd say it took about 10 marathoners coming through before people "got it" that they had to stay to one side.  Civilian marathoners would probably not find it too frustrating, but word to the wise, you will be passing slower 10K and half marathoners the whole second half of the course.  I think as a marathoner I would prefer the Humboldt format (everyone does the first leg together and then only marathoners are on the second leg).

All the races mix heading in and heading out.
It was fun to cheer for the marathoners, returning 10Kers and eventually returning half marathoners while out for my stroll.  The scenery was gorgeous and I appreciated the amazing trees.

I love how they give you a heads-up about aid stations. Also, I don't remember so much of this out-and-back being exposed like this (in my memory the whole first leg of Humboldt was in the shady tall trees) but there were a fair bit of portions like this.  Granted, I only saw 3 miles of the leg so I'm figuring further out was more predominately giant trees.

The first mile things felt a little tight and I experienced that nice tightness in my groin that lingered for a few miles into the walk.  By the time I got to mile 4 I was chomping on the bit to get to mile 5 so I could run it in home.  The last 1.2ish miles were amazing.  My body was so ready to get running again.  I enjoyed passing all the 10Kers who were obviously much better walkers than myself.  I held pace with the returning half marathoners who were headed back to the finish.

As we got closer to the finish the cheering crowds gave me such an adrenaline rush and my pace started to pick up.  After so many months of gimpy running I felt like I was getting to experience the best part of the sport and I was so grateful I was able to do the 10K.  I even clocked a sub-8:00 pace for the last quarter mile.  Nothing hurt and I felt like myself again for 1.2ish glorious miles of running.

I crossed the finish, got my medal, and immediately headed back out to stand on the finish sidelines to try to see my husband.  I knew he would be coming in any minute.  I literally had enough time to set myself up in a good location and not 10 seconds later I saw him sprinting towards the finish around the corner.  I told him later he had the look on his face of someone who knew they were *this* close to making their time goal and was trying desperately to make it.

There he goes!
He was flying and said he did not even hear me screaming for him.  Sad to say he missed a PR by something like 25 seconds.  I'm pretty proud of him because to be honest, his training sucked a big one.  He ran 2.5 days a week, if even.  If I could run 25 seconds off a PR with the type of training he did I would think it was nothing short of a miracle.  I felt bad though, because we all know the sting of missing a time by that short of a window.

I wore my "Boston Strong" tank that was a fundraiser for the Boston One Fund.  I got a lot of nice comments about it and I'm glad I wore it to the race.

All in all it was a fun day and the unexpected race participation for me was a great plus.  I have since taken another hiatus from running while we sort out imaging my pelvis.  Better safe than sorry, I figure in regards to a stress fracture.  I'm really grateful my last run was at Avenue of the Giants because I think the finish line high will carry me for a while.

Hard to tell scale, but this tree was monstrous.


naomi said...

This course looks so beautiful! I ended up running a 10K that day, I should have joined you guys. Congrats to E on his almost PR!

Rabbits' Guy said...

That is a pretty place! Too bad for the way runners are routed.

SF Road Warrior said...

We took a road trip through Northern California & Oregon last summer & spent our first two nights camping there in the redwoods near the Avenue. It was so amazing. It definitely convinced me that I want to run one of these races sometime. Glad you were able to run it in strong & have fun! said...

so beautiful! i remember reading about your marathon there and wishing that i could run a race through those trees. that is the best way to keep one's mind off the pain.

i'm so happy that you got to have a full 1.2 miles of glorious pain free running. feeling joy while running is what its all about. hope you aren't sidelined for too long :)