This race was a last minute jump into it kind of thing. I had been traveling for work the week before, and we were in Hawaii before that. I knew the course went up and over the bridge – so I let all those factors be my reasons to let myself off the hook about pace and just race. Some call it sandbagging, I call it mental preparation LOL. This is going to sound a little negative, but I do not like racing over the bridge. For an early weekend run – I love it. But when you are doing it with 4,000 of your closest friends, it can be a tight squeeze. More on that later.
I drove into the city (I got there too early as usual) and parked just under 2 miles away from the start and finish lines. That way I would be able to get out and drive home once my race was over, and it would force me to run my 2 mile warm up & cool down.
It was really cold and windy in the morning, so I kept my pants and jacket on for as long as I could. After I ditched those, I did keep my arm sleeves and gloves on, and did regret the gloves later. But it was SO WINDY!! So it was hard to talk myself out of thinking I needed them. The race had a 10 mile, 10k and 5k option. The 10 mile was the RRCA national championship, and went off first. After that start, I did some strides and drills, had a Huma gel & got in line.
The race started out going up a hill from Crissy Field to the bridge visitor center. I have gone up that hill fast in the past and blown up many a workout, so I decided to take it easy. That was probably too conservative in hindsight.
Once we were on the bridge, the 10k course merged with the 10 mile course and it started to get crowded. You had the front of the 10k race and the back of the 10 mile race all trying to run in the same place at different speeds. Plus there were some tourists out on the bridge taking photos. I did a lot of “on your left” trying to pass people. I told myself to stop being a grump about racing on the bridge and just enjoy the experience that so many people would LOVE to have. Once we got to the other side of the bridge, I was in a good rhythm, and we turned and went down a flight of stairs, under the bridge and up a flight of stairs. Admittedly not the most graceful, the stairs definitely slowed me down. But we got through those and went back up to the other side of the bridge. That was that slower mile 3. When my watch beeped, I internally thought “UGHHH go faster!” Haha.
I was able to get in a really good spot after that and worked on passing people. In most races, I am running a plan and being more tactical with my pacing. For this race, I didn’t have that, so I just tried to pass as many people as I could. If anyone came up behind me, I tried to throw in surges to shake them off.
In the last mile, the 10k and 10 mile courses converged with the 5k walkers. A lot of races do this, but they usually have cones or lanes so that no one is crashing into each other. There weren’t cones or lanes that I saw, so it was definitely a little nerve wracking to run into a crowd of walking people at a 6:30 pace. But I was able to pick my way through and kick to the end as much as I could – which admittedly, wasn’t the prettiest!
- 30th place overall out of 1,472
- 4th woman overall out of 906
- 2nd in the 30-34 age group out of 178
This was a really fun way to test my fitness and get out and RACE, instead of running my own pace to achieve a time goal. I hope I can do more 5k & 10k races this summer and get a little quicker too!