Monday, April 18, 2011

Presidio 10

I signed up for the Presidio 10 at the last minute, not sure if I was better off just doing my coaching duties at the tent or actually running. As an RRCA 10 mile National Championship Race and Western Regional Championship 10k, I knew I wanted to be there to represent the SFRRC in some way. However, I’ve spent the past four months nursing a nagging hamstring thing – not a full blown injury, but right on the edge of one – that was keeping me from running too hard or doing too much hill work. I’ve been feeling good for the past few weeks thanks to PT, but since I haven’t been doing the speed training, I wasn’t sure about signing up because I didn’t want a crappy time on my athlinks account!

Finally, Coach Matt convinced me to take it easy on the first half of the 10-mile course and then kill it on the downhills/flats in the later miles of the race. That sounded more reasonable than trying to gut it out in a 10k (which probably wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere near my PR). So I signed up on Thursday for the Sunday race. I had done the 10 mile course in 2008 in 1:22:28, which wasn’t particularly fast, but was a good start for where I was in the season. Given my recent setbacks, I didn’t think I could get anywhere near that time, but that was the lofty goal I would be aiming for (or at least near!!!).

On Saturday morning, I went for a nice, fairly hilly bike ride in Marin with some SF Tri friends: SF – Mill Valley – Panoramic Highway – Stinson – Hwy1 – SF. It was a gorgeous day, I felt great on the climbs, and I didn’t really feel tired afterward, so I was very happy with the ride. I spent the rest of Saturday with the RRCA crew at the Sports Basement. Ultrarunner NancyHobbs gave a couple of trail running seminars, and Jean Knaack (Executive Director) and David Epstein (Western Region Director) of the RRCA were in town for the Presidio 10 and California state meeting. After the meeting, we all had dinner together. Coach Bailey and I shared a bottle of wine, which probably wasn't the brightest idea, but we called it a night before it was even dark (stayed out just long enough to catch the end of the Giants game at the restaurant's bar), so there was plenty of time to sleep it off.

Dinner with the RRCA crew (courtesy of Simone Adair)
Coach Bailey picked me up bright and early (and she even brought me a latte!!!), and we got to the race with plenty of time to spare. I was feeling a little bit tired, a little bit gross from breakfast/coffee/the previous night’s wine, and totally unprepared, but because I had pretty low expectations for the race, I stood at the start line feeling ridiculously calm. I ate a Gu, and before I knew it, we were off and running.

Listening to the National Anthem before the race start
A short little jaunt out Crissy Field, and then we headed right into a long uphill mile. I felt pretty strong until we got to the top of Lincoln, and then I had a moment where I thought “Holy crap, I don’t think I can keep this up!” Fortunately, I saw some fellow SFRRCers at the first turnaround and they got my head back in the race. We came back down through the batteries on the Coastal Trail, which I flew on. It was obvious that a lot of the runners weren’t used to running on trails because I passed a ton of them. I guess all the trail running has definitely been paying off – thanks, M2!

From there, we ended up on the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge, which felt like a long slog. That first uphill section on the bridge was pretty painful after the previous hills, and I spent most of it wishing I were flying across it on my bike instead of trudging up it on foot. I got passed by a few people, but I told myself I’d catch them or someone else on my way back down the hill. After crossing under the bridge, I regained my kick going up the other side, and used some psychological warfare to leave a couple of people in my dust. This kept me entertained and I gained some extra confidence by passing people, especially the guys!

Flying down that last hill from the bridge
I really kicked it into high gear on the downhills from the GGB down to Crissy Field. This is where I finally managed to catch the annoying Lululemon chick that I’d been tracking since the beginning of the race (nothing against Lululemon!). I’m not sure what she said at the start, but something about her made me want to kick her ass, so I spent several miles trying to catch her, then blew right by on the way down the Lincoln bike path. A few seconds later, I hear this breathing behind me, and I’m thinking, “Oh great, now she’s going to catch back up!” Thankfully, it turns out, it was my friend Anne, who had apparently been trying to catch up with me since the first little out and back in the Presidio. I had seen her wave to me at that point, but I didn’t know who it was (I was so focused that I just saw the arm stick out, but didn’t have time to catch the face that went with it!). Anne and I chatted on the way out to Fort Point, but I let her go ahead after the turnaround. I knew that I just needed to keep my pace and I would be in range to finish in about 1:22.

The last two miles were totally flat, along Crissy Field to the Little Marina Green, around the lagoon, and back to the Sports Basement. The wind was at our back while we were headed east, but as soon as we turned around, there was a nasty headwind. Again, to take my mind off of things, I surged ahead of the woman that was running next to me with about a half mile to go. I knew it was early, but I decided that I had to crush her mentally before we got to the final kick so that I wouldn’t have to outkick her at the finish line. I knew I would have an advantage if I could stay ahead in the wind. That would surely kill her spirit, on top of getting passed! (I sound so mean in this post – I think I was just using other peoples’ suffering to drown out my own!) At one point, I remember that I couldn’t hear her breathing over my shoulder anymore, so I knew I was safe. The finish line was just ahead, so I started my sprint, and even managed to chick a couple of guys (who I never thought I would catch!) on the way into the chute.

I didn’t quite beat my previous time, but I was only 17 seconds off, with a finishing time of 1:22:45. Considering the lack of training and yesterday’s long bike ride, I was more than happy with my performance. It was tough, but it felt really good to run hard, and I look forward to more runs like this (and faster!) in the near future!

After the race, I hung out in the RRCA tent, chatting with fellow RRCA members, and recruiting for SFRRC. It was absolutely freezing out there – the fog rolled back in, and we were pretty much in a wind tunnel where our tent was set up. RRCA rep George leant me his Dolphin Club swim parka, so I managed to stay warm. I’ve gotta get me one of those…I’m almost considering suffering through the icy swims just so I can get one! Can’t forget to mention that the post-race breakfast burritos, pancakes and cocktails were amazing – one of the many reasons why the Guardsmen rock at putting on this event!
We stayed a while to listen to the awards ceremony – lots of great performances out there, in our club as well as others – but it was too cold to hang out much longer than that. Unfortunately, the cold drove most of the crowds away – gotta love that unpredictable SF weather! Fingers crossed for warm weather at this race next year because I’d love to come back to enjoy my Bloody Mary and some sunshine afterward!!!

No comments: