Sunday, July 14, 2019

Rundown: Golden Gate Marathon (#33)

Ran this race back in 2012 and did it in 5:42. Age grading that 7 years later gave me a target time of 6:03. 

I am not nearly as well trained now in relative terms as I was back then..e.g. no long runs since March, but I did run the San Lorenzo River half marathon **which is nasty hilly ** as an attempt to get somewhat ready. I ran it in 3hrs and was pretty darn sore for a few days after.

I knew that the GGM course was easier ..i.e. less steep on the hills so I figured 3 hours would be a decent split for the first half then see how we hang on for the second loop. All trail marathons pretty much do the marathon as two half marathons. This is somewhat of a drag if it's a dull course, but for a course like this it's just fine. It's nice on the 2nd loop when the halfers are all done and it's just the few and scatter full marathoners. 

The forecast Saturday was cool (~58) but sun coming out and warming things up close to 70. That's a bit too hot but not totally outlandish, also I knew i'd be up on the high ridges where the seabreeze would be much cooler.

Three days prior to the race I got an email that there was a course change. The beautiful Coastal Trail was closed for construction at my favorite segment: the part that faces the GG bridge and SF views. BOO!  Wendell had a re-route that would make the total elevation the same and would provide some views (from Bobcat trail).  BUT, two days later we get another email and Bobcat is also under construction so we are forced to use the Miwok trail. Ugh. 

This year the park service had us parking at a lot about 1.5 miles from the Rodeo beach start location and we have to take a shuttle bus to the start, which was at 7:15am. The lot was almost full when I got there and at the half start there were about 240+. This is a HUGE turn out.  

I ran into fellow Blogger Paulette Ference and her husband at the start.

The halfers started at 7pm and we all lined up at 7:10 and off we went at exactly 7:15. 

The weather was nice a foggy and cool. The only downside for me, as in my previous run is that the mist settles on my glasses and makes seeing the footing more difficult. So I have to stop and wipe them off when ever the trail is rugged and they have built up too much water.

Most of the course is fire road but some of it is single track and a tiny bit is asphalt. The course profile is pretty simple: a climb right away to 750', a  descent to the Tennessee Valley trailhead/aid station, then a climb to 950' road with same slope the whole way..and then some rolling descent with random ups and downs to the 13.1 mark.

The good news is that the big hills are gone before you hit 20 miles in the marathon.

Because of all the rain this year there were a LOT of flowers, I had to stop and take a snap of these pretty purple flowers ..they were all over (a sweet pea family says Google Lens). 

After the start there was a fair amount of congestion. Of course the young and strong folks were running the initial hill, but most folks were power walking and some not so fast, so this jammed things up.

There are a few places with stairs and these really slowed people down for some reason. I just hung back ...we're in this for a long time so no point getting all type-A about it.

Coastal trail run races are chip timed for the finish, but not for the they are really gun time. So, if you do hang back at the start you are losing some time..but I still don't care 8)
I remembered the trail from 7 yrs ago and when I descended down to the first aid station at about 4 miles it all came back to me. I filled up my single bottle, ate a few potato chips and headed up the long next climb. I had taking one GU 5min before the start, and another after 30min and from then on every 45 min.

After a nice, long runnable descent from the second climb to 950' we hit the last 5 miles of the 13.1 loop that had some small ups and downs (you can see on the profile). As part of the course re-routing Wendell had a 'spur' trail that was used to total up the distance to exactly 13.1. At the turnaround point you had to remember to pick up a rubber band (and another on the 2nd loop!) so that if you were in contention for a prize you could prove you had done this segment. A nice added features of spur trails is you get to see other people as you face each other on the out-and-back. 

As it turns out, the course re-routes did not take away and great views this day: the fog did that! It never totally lifted....and that was great because it kept things cool. With such a long time on the course that's a good tradeoff.

Ok so I hit the half at 3:00-ish and had to stop on a bench to take a stone out of my shoe...perhaps I should get a pair of gaters? There was a lot of loose soil and gravel on some parts of the course. 

Off on the second loop. I could tell I was really pretty toasted and I texted Toni to that effect and also that I thought the second loop would take 1/2 hour more.  The first climb was ~2m/m slower and later the downs were also 2m/m slower because my quads were shot and I had to walk on some places I had run on the first loop.

At this point I ran into a couple of young guys in the marathon that were not doing well. It turned out both of them had got from zero to gnarly trail marathon in just a few months...hmm...the bravado of youth. I chatted with both of them for a time but eventually they faded more than I was. Both of them finished 10-15 minutes after me and it was all lost in the last few miles. Hopefully they'll be better prepared next time. At their ages they could easily smoke me with a little more training.

I was pretty happy that even though I had walking bouts I was still able to run and made steady progress, finishing in ~6:32:30 ....good estimating on my part!

Place 31/39
Sex Place 17/24

What's next? No idea!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Rundown: San Lorenzo Half Marathon 2019

This race was a warmup for my first trail marathon in a long time. My last real hilly trail race was the Big Basin marathon in 2015 (!).  I focused on road marathons for a while after that and then the whole wonky hip wear-out happened...and then  about a year to return marathon capable fitness. 

San Lorenzo has very steep hills so I decided the half would be a prudent first trail race and be good training: three weeks after this race I'm signed up for the Golden Gate marathon.

I am excited to do the GG Marathon again: I think it's one of the most beautiful trail races around.

I have been running decent amounts (with life getting in the way here and there as usual) but not doing much hill work (I live and work in flat areas near the bay). So I hit the stairmaster for couple of 30-45 min workouts two weeks prior and also did more hill running. 

I've run the full marathon at San Lorenzo twice, in 2011 and again most trail marathons you run the half course twice. The basic half marathon course is an out-and-back with a river crossing in the middle. There are 2 pretty steep hills and you hit them out and back: 

 I was a bit apprehensive about the river crossing: would the water be really REALLY high? (I.e. over waist level?) . I bought a small water-tight box for my car fob just in case..and also didn't take my cellphone.....they take lots of pictures for you on the course. 

I was worrying a bit about the downhills: I must not fall!  If I fall on my new hip and break it would be very bad. There are some very rocky sections. 

This year the turnout was seemed huge..the start was very congested....nothing but slow walking. The initial trail is single-track, passing is difficult. It took 17+ minutes to do the first mile.

My goal was to keep the HR up in the 135 range and higher on the power walking uphills. I fell shy on the average (133) because of the downhill stretches but overall I was happy with the effort I was holding on the ups.

The river crossings were easy peasy..I don't take off my shoes but instead put vaseline on my feet (so they don't get softened by being wet and get blisters) and I sprayed my shoes with water repellent (so they would't get heavy). This worked well.

There was a guy sitting and taking off his shoes and socks when I got there on the way back and I just plowed right into the water. Behind me as I got out of the water I heard him shout and fall and....laugh. He slipped and got his shoes and socks wet anyway!

Overall, I found that the hills were not as scary as I had remembered. When I reached the river on the way back I was shocked that I was there so quickly. ....generally the time passed faster than I thought it would.

Writing this up the day after I'm still sore in my legs but not too bad.
On to the Golden Gate Marathon!


Overall : 71 / 131
Males   : 46 /  67
M60-69 :  4 / 12  

2019-06-22 Sat
SplitTimeCMilesPaceHR% WHRElev+Elev-YPB