Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Race Report: #Across the Bay 415K

This is a little late coming, but life has been busy. I found a few minutes to write this morning while I enjoy coffee in our breakfast nook before work.

I planned on running the 415K — my first 12K ever — for months and even convinced my future sister-in-law, Megan, and college friend, Kathleen, to run with me because it was my birthday weekend. Well, I also registered them for the race without there consent, so there's that... The running group is in a base-building phase (several people will train for the PDX marathon this fall) so I've been running pretty regularly, on top of hot yoga, a couple weight training sessions and some dog walks. Yes, life has been so busy that I've come to count dog walks as exercise.

But anyway, back to the race. We hustled down to Aquatic Park to pick up our packets (Kathleen actually got mine because I left for the city too late). This wasn't easy and the next morning, when we saw race-day packet pickup happening, we were a little frustrated (though, as a race director, I understand the reasoning for not promoting morning-of pickup). Oh well. We were there and ready to go, and that's all that mattered.

I love these two girls. They're tough. And that was important because neither has been running.

"I've run three times since February 1," Kathleen declared as we waited for the bus to the start line in Sausalito.

The race goes like this: three waves start from Fort Baker, climb a hill, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, then snake along the bayside through Fort Point and Crissy Field, finally finishing at Fort Mason. It's about 7.5 miles and almost entirely flat. We didn't get the wave start plan because the race didn't seem that big, so we snuck Megan into Wave 1 with us.

Waiting for the 8 a.m. start felt like forever. I really wanted some water, which was no where to be found at the start line (or the bus loading area in San Francisco, for that matter). I guess since so many people carry hydration systems -- even for short-ish races like this where you would never really need that much liquid -- races are cutting back on what they provide. I really don't want to carry a waterbottle unless I'm trail running, so I guess I'm outta luck.

OK, but the race. The first 1/2 mile was downhill and super fun. (Kathleen zoomed this! She was so happy!) After a little bit of flat, we started climbing up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Later I would say this was not that hard of a hill, but I really did want to puke a little on the up. Megan gutted it out and crested the hill first of our little trio. We ran together for a moment on the bridge and then separated.

Running the bridge is ALWAYS cool. I wanted to take photos but my pace felt strong and I couldn't bring myself to stop for a pic. Thankfully, the race photog was up there and took photos.

Mile 3 comes somewhere in the Fort Point area, after the bridge and the downhill to get bayside. From there, the race was a bit of a slog. Flat. Straight. I got bored and tired and regretted not bringing music. Around Mile 5 I ate the Gu I was carrying in my RooSport Wallet, which helped sooooo much. There also were some Taiko drummers -- my favorite -- that boosted my spirit. I even passed some dudes.

The race ends with an uphill, steep downhill, hard right turn and -- boom! -- you're there. Had I checked out the course ahead of time, I might have shaved a few seconds off my finish. Coming up to that last hill (you can see it forever and it looks bigger than it is) was demoralizing, but the finish actually is fast.

My official race time was just over 70 minutes, a 9:20 pace by their clocks. My Garmin told me I ran a little more than 12K (as you always do in a race) and averaged 9:11 miles throughout. I feel pretty good about that. It also motivates me to run more and get back into some speed workouts, because I realize I've run marathons at a faster mile pace than that. But for a lazy Sunday run, that was great.

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