Like all races I’ve ran the past year or so, I did not feel prepared for this race. I stopped running in the mornings and started going to the gym after work (if it’s not too late and I feel motivated to go..) At the gym, I’ve been doing the same routine: 1 mile warm-up on the treadmill, 7-minute workout on my Pebble watch, 3 sets of dumbbell chest press and crunches and one set of 12-15 reps of pull-ups (my worst/favorite workout). It’s good enough to put me in a sweat and keep my in decent physical shape, but definitely not good for race training. I usually run long(ish) on the weekends, which seems to be good enough. Here are the results of the Xterra Black Mountain 16K trail run: 1:17:48, 9.40 mi (8:16 min/mi), 10/22 AG, 51/326 overall. Placing doesn’t really mean much to me when it comes to smaller/trail races, you can never predict how well you’ll do in these types of races. What I was happy with was the overall time and pacing. I ran this race 2 years ago, the course was more or less the same, rolling hills throughout the race, noticeable ones around miles 5 and 6 as well as the 1-2 mile uphill to finish the race! My time then was 1:20:03 which is pretty good, especially considering I had ran 4 half marathons and 2 10K’s that year prior to the race. This was only my 3rd race of the year, I definitely need to catch up!
The course started downhill for the first 3.5 miles with some slight uphills in between. Then came a 150 foot climb around mile 5, a short downhill followed by another smaller uphill. I remember cresting the first hill passing another runner then looking up and seeing the next hill and muttered, ‘ugh, really?!’ A rule I’ve had ever since I started running cross country in high school was to never walk during a training run or race. It was typically frowned upon on our team, usually done by slower runners. So when the varsity runners would be coming back from a run and the slower runners were still coming up, they would just yell as they ran by, ‘no walking!’ I’ve done a pretty good job following that rule, with the exception to a few abnormally hot runs on a few summers. This trail race isn’t as tough as others I’ve ran, but was still a challenge. It didn’t help that most of the other runners on the course were walking up the hills, I felt like it was ok to do the same. But I did my best to run longer than they did and only walk for 10-15 seconds and then continue to run up to the top of the hill.
The final hill could not have come at a worst time. About 475 foot climb across one mile, obviously it’s a gradual and steady incline, but very long and painful at the same time. It was hard, but not as bad as I expected it to be which is good. Once you get to the top, you come back downhill to the finish which is encouraging after that painful climb. You know you’re not in race shape when you are sore the same day as the race. But it also could have been the fact that it was a trail race. If I had the choice between a trail race and road race, 9 times out of 10, I would choose a trail race. They are just more exciting, scenic and challenging (not that a road half/full is easy).
Next on the schedule is a back to back race, which I’ve never done before. I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego half marathon in 6/1. My brother’s friend registered for a 66-mile bike ride in SD, but decided to move up to Nor Cal and won’t be able to do the ride. The race happens to be on 5/31, the day before my half marathon! I’ve done a long ride on a Saturday, followed by a long run the next day (both training workouts). The most recent time I did that, I was pretty tired after the ride, so I took a nap that afternoon. I was also tired after the run, so I napped Sunday afternoon too. I think as long as I get enough rest between each event, I’ll be fine, it’s not like they’re on the same day! I’m also thinking about going for a swim after the half and say I did a poor man’s triathlon!