Granite Bay Trail Half Marathon

Div PlacePlaceTimePace @ 13.1Pace @ 12.7
6/927/6201:54:198:44 min/mi9:00 min/mi

Put on by TBF Racing, the Granite Bay Trail Half Marathon is the longest trail run I have ever done. In fact, before that, five or six miles topped my trail running background. So when I hit mile six, I was surprised to feel like I’d already ran ten miles, and by mile eight, I felt like it should be over already. Yet thanks to having Sati with me, keeping me honest, and just my general desire to prep for AZ, I kept going, and enjoyed a pretty decent pace for me on trails.

So how was the race? Mostly, I was treating it as a run, not a race, but even still, I did near to my best performance, and still came near the back of the pack for my age group, and half way back for the race. I’ve learned that trail running is a great way to work on my hips, gluts, and other secondary muscles. All of the ups and downs, twists and turns, and the sloping ground takes a lot out of the joints and muscles. And I love TBF’s runs, obviously enough to work with them for two years on staff. The group feels close-knit, the socialization is great, the trails and locations out at the lake are great, and the post-run beer choices were superb. Oh, did I mention that beer was included in the post-race food?! Black Butte Porter, ftw.

The Distance, and why I have two paces listed

Marking an accurate distance on real trails is tough. If one, say, used a GPS and trusted it, I’m certain the course would be long. Why? 15 foot accuracy, and 1-3 second polling, the GPS will cut off too many of the corners. So your 13.1 per your GPS would be closer to 13.5, maybe. My Garmin told me I ran about 12.4 miles. Someone else had 12.5, and someone with a 310 had 12.7. In fact, 12.7 was the longest I heard off of a Garmin. So if all of them cut it short, then 12.7 could easily be 13.1. The only reason that I think it was short: I was pretty dead on on the mileage except for one mile that cut me .4 miles off, then the rest stayed dead on.

So I think somewhere between 12.7 and 13.1 is the real mileage, because though off, rarely do the Garmins miss by 5%. I think TBF did great, and I think they were dead on for most of the miles,

but I do think somewhere around mile 4, they missed a bit. Regardless, it was close, and better than some other races I’ve done.

Being Sore

Two days after I finished this race, I was still sore. Running Clarksburg, the camber is so consistent, it hurts. Running a road race, my quads and hams are being punished, and yet they’re trained and for this. But running trails like this run, it’s a whole new use of muscles. The camber is omnipresent, but changing, such that it doesn’t cause pain, but just works my hips and inner thighs a lot. The hills are everywhere, but my road training has my quads and gluts ready for that. So I fortunately came out without any pain from doing any one thing a lot, but with all of my secondary muscles sore from never being worked this hard. Maybe adding trails to my regular training would build my hips and keep my knees from pain, while helping me build my running base.

Top 10 Lessons from Foxy

Time Pace Max Speed
07:30 14.0 mph 40.1 mph

I can ride 106 miles

The distance definitely wasn’t an issue. Sure, I’m sore. Sure, I’ve got some chafing in places I’ve never been chafed before, but 60 miles or 106, there doesn’t seem to be much difference.

Not all downhills are equal

The 40 miles per hour on the nice hills felt safer than the 25 miles per hour on the cruddy roads. Downhills are great, nice downhills are better!

Peanut butter and jelly bagels are the best!

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a food item as much as the bagels. Add in the Fritos for some great saltiness, and I really loved the food they had for fueling.

Road quality matters

See the downhills comment, and make it true everywhere. Regardless of the silent uphills and downhills, the same grade on a bumpy road makes 13mph seem tough, while a beautifully paved road without bumps makes 17mph feel simple. Fortunately, most of the roads were well maintained, but for being a “bike-friendly” city, there were definitely some poorly kept roads in the Davis farmland.

650s+Tri Bike < 700s+Road Bike

Not that this was any new learning, but a hilly, long course is definitely better on a road bike than a tri bike, and 650s are much better at rolling hills than long climbs. I did enjoy the drop bars on the downhills; having that much control while down on the bars felt awesome. The main reason I used my tri bike was to make sure I had more saddle time on it prior to Ironman Arizona, not because it was the right choice for the ride.

The Davis Bike club puts on great events

The food was great, the volunteers friendly, the amount of support fantastic… the Davis bike club was fantastic. It definitely makes me want to join a club.

Route arrows rock

I love the arrows from Having the arrows tied to the color of the wristbands was fantastic, and they were easy to spot, seemed to deteriorate, and were the best road guides I’d seen.

I can ride through cramps

The worst part of the ride was cramping up at a few points on the ride. I had to get off and walk at a few places, because my legs were cramping beyond what I could take. I found I could ride through it on a flat, but definitely not on a hill. Either way, I made it back on after walking and stretching out the cramp, and that was a lesson worth learning.

Social rides are more fun

Talking with Josh for the first thirty miles, with the two gals we met around mile fifteen, with the old guy on cardiac hill… what’s really been different for me between running and cycling has been the social aspect. This changed that opinion, and for that, I’m thankful.

I can do Arizona

The most important lesson was that I can do Arizona. I’ve now done all three pieces of an Ironman separately, and I had no problem walking or jogging after the ride. Undertrained as I am, I’m now confident that I can finish Arizona.

The Route – I love my Garmin!

I love this map, so I’m definitely including it. Not part of the “10 lessons,” just something that I want to show off.