Quite the eventful weekend. It all went down in Santa Cruz… the Surfer’s Path Marathon, the Capitola Half Marathon, and CA High School Div I Ultimate Frisbee Championships, all occurring located within a 5 mile radius or so (obviously not the whole course of the races). Below is a Garmin map of the whole course fyr.
– Elapsed: 04:07:21 \o/
– Div Place: 132 of 519
– Gender Place: 39 of 253
– Age Place: 13 of 78 (F 20-29)
A Race of Firsts
– I ran a PR without expecting it. Almost actively trying to avoid it, actually.
– See title… I unleashed my first #2 during a race.
– Experienced chafing for the first time from my bra band.
– I felt like throwing up during a race. Who the hell can stomach that much GU sugary gel and drink? It’s ghastly.
– Started feeling kind of terrible incredibly early, around Mile 10.
– My left hamstring threatened to cramp on me starting around Mile 15 and continued until well after the race. Not great.
– First time recovery happened rather quickly. Walk around and stretch after races, even though it seems impossible. It’s much better than collapsing in a heap, inevitably falling asleep, then waking up not being able to move (what I’ve typically done).
K & I made it to UCSC in time to watch the last game of the day.
We then hustled to packet pick-up in Capitola, where I (kind of creepily, now that I’m thinking about it) recognized the husband of a rather popular run-blogger who goes by ‘Roserunner’ on the street. And surely enough, a couple seconds later I saw Roserunner, a couple steps back. It was kind of fun, seeing a well-known blogger from these parts (Bay Area) in person.
I would recommend going to The Sandwich Spot, which is what we ended up having for dinner.
We left the Airbnb at about 6:40am, but we walk much more quickly than Google Maps seems to think humans being are capable of walking. For 18 cold minutes, we ended up standing in a corner, judging runners who were stretching obnoxiously, clad indecently, etc. Another runner I’d met at a previous race, Paulette, found me in the crowd for a quick chat… later I saw her around Mile 12, cheering on runners.
Miles 1-7: dandy. K left and went on ahead early because he’s fast and such.
Mile 7: awkwardly called out to someone I thought I’d recognized. And indeed it was Chris, a coworker from when I worked at Palantir. We chatted at the half marathon turnaround in Capitola (where packet pick-up was located) and for a while afterward. He was running the marathon distance as well with his 2 buddies (no idea at all what their names are, but one was caucasian and other was asian) and they seemed to want to pick up the pace while I was not trying to over-exert, so I let them go… but oddly, after a mild hill about a minute or two, I caught up to them and wouldn’t see Chris again.
Mile 8-13: this segment started well. I was feeling strong for the first mile or two, then my intestines were like hay we are moving shit out now because of all the uphills and downhills and you are jiggling us too much. I started feeling otherwise uncomfortable around 10 as well. I didn’t feel like I could finish. The number of miles remaining was incredibly daunting, and it really messed with me mentally for the first time, even more than when I was a novice. 10-13 was literally trying to keep up a respectable pace while letting out some pressure-relieving toots in a safe and inoffensive manner.
Mile 13-13.1: we were passing the start area again to start our westerly loop, and I was very much like a shaken soda can at that point. I was plotting to use one of the 20 or so port-a-potties lined up near the start line, and the plan went very well. No lines (I would’ve had to wait at the single portie at mile 11ish). All went swimmingly and I was back out on the road.
Mile 13.1-22: the beginning of the second loop was cruel. around the end of 13, half-ers were directed to the left (finish), and full-ers were motioned to the right, which featured a giant hill. afterward, nice gentle downhill cruising along the cliffs and buffs. Beautiful, expansive views. Surfers. People and their dogs. Roserunner coming back from the turnaround already at my 17, her 22 (so quick… and going on to win 2nd place woman!). But it was also very isolated at times; we were all very spread out. At 20, I decided to distract myself with mental calculation, and was surprised to find that despite all the elevation changes and trail running, I could very well still PR. There were about 5-6 miles of trail (unexpected, as I never look at course maps before races… bad call?).
One woman and I kept trading places during this section (much of it on West Cliff Dr and then a large loop through Wilder Ranch), sometimes with huge gaps to the point of no visibility of the other. After many back and forths, I dropped her for good at 22. And remember Chris’ caucasian buddy? He’d caught up to me around Mile 20, and I caught him again around 21 when I saw him walking on the trail up ahead. Never saw him again.
Mile 22-24: another woman now comes to the fore of my race tale. We ran neck and neck for a few minutes, and without pushing my pace, somehow took the lead on her and thought I’d dropped her very quickly at 23. As I lost her breath and footsteps behind me though, I lost some of my drive. A very fit older man passed me. A couple other guys passed me (including Chris’ asian buddy). But I didn’t feel it in me to fight them. I even stopped to walk a couple times to ease the burn. But near the end of mile 23, she was back. I was not happy… I had to beat her, and there was a little more than 2.2 left. I didn’t know how much juice she had left, and I wasn’t confident of what pace I could maintain for the last two miles. I also typically have a good kick, but the most I’d sustained a finishing kick was for 0.5 mile, maybe slightly more. I’d have to engage the kick, but also keep it steady for 2.2. The battle began.
Mile 24-26.2: I was still ahead of her. But she was gaining. She was working, and she wanted to beat me. The last time I passed her, she kept looking back, but I wasn’t about to do the same. But she passed me (she had very uneven pace, as I made it a point to keep mine as level as possible). I stayed slightly behind her and let her lead the charge and pull me with her, and she kept me engaged to the point where I could see that older man again, who’d passed us earlier (and that I’d lost sight of), among others. At the Mile 25 marker, I decided I had enough energy left for a quicker pace for the last 1.2. Dropped her for good. Dropped the older man. Dropped a few others (including Chris’ asian buddy).
Before: see that purple shoe?
After: purple shoes behind me now, mwahahha. nice capture of that surfer statue behind us.
Though I hated that uphill at 13.1, this meant I would run that downhill into the right turn to the finish (yay). Buoyed by a lady screaming at the turn to ‘bring it in!!!!’, I charged down the hill and into the finish area.
Pic of me looking much stronger than I was feeling
K & I bandied about our races back at the Airbnb. We then headed back to the USCS ultimate fields, where we caught the end of Alameda CLC’s last game, to win third at the tournament. So gratifying, as they beat Berkeley, a team that had prevailed for much of the season. We also stayed for the championship game and pizza.
– Wore Saucony A5 race flats. They are much lighter than Kinvara 5, but I think I might not be biomechanically sound enough to rock those for the full marathon distance. But small sensations like extreme lightness, continuously repeated over 4 hours, are so important to my mentality and may outweigh the increased sore/tight-ness from decreased support after the fact. Who knows.
– I need to run this distance on trails pretty much every weekend between now and Siskiyou Outback to prepare more thoroughly.
– I understand now how rough downhills can be. The combination of elevation change and terrain variation were really killer. I imagine that elevation change on trails only will be much easier on the joints and muscles, but when the miles add up shit will still go down.
In non-running related news
I read Flatland by Edwin Abbott^2, and it is a fantastic book. Interesting sociopolitical messages and the author has excellent capacity for verbal exposition. My boss is a very visual learner, and she will often stop me when I am speaking to a visual representation of a user’s interaction with an interface, and ask to see it on a screen/IRL. I wonder how she would do with this book. Anyway, that is all.