Out on the home turf, the course is beautiful, the run lightly challenging, the logistics well executed, and the weather and timing were perfect. While my performance might not have been superb, the course definitely met and exceeded my expectations. Would I do this run again? Absolutely. Will I beat my time next year? I better!
Friday night, I had my first Master’s swim class. Now, that’s something for my training logs, not here, but it definitely affected my pre-race readiness; my calves cramped up badly in the kicking drills, and by Saturday morning for my warmup jog, they were still hurting. Sunday, as I got ready to run 4B, I could still feel the pain inside my calves. Not the right way to start a run.
Harry told me ahead of time that he wasn’t going to be making the run, but I was still expecting Amanda. Looking around, I did run into Mark E, a few STC fellows (Frank, Hiroshi, good to see you both!), and Micki and Paige, but by start time, I was alone. Oh well, I was here to train, and train I shall do!
Beautiful, scenic, hilly… altogether a great location, which is why it’s a great place to train. The mile markers were amazing, 25 foot tall poles with large banners. The new experiences on a course like this? Not being able to see the people beyond right in front of you, and not seeing the mile markers until your on them. And the worst of that, not seeing the next water station… which has big gu timing impact.
Thankfully Micki warned me ahead of time to save some energy for the last mile, or I’m not sure I would have been ready for such a long uphill, but as the announcer said as I sprinted across the finish line, I saved too much. For anyone doing this, the last half mile or so is all uphill, from the lake level up to Natomas St, and not the gradual version that you have during the start. A few switchbacks, and a steeper ascent, and you’re quite glad you’re done after that.
I underperformed compared to my last two races, but I didn’t taper off in prep (10.5 miles on Tuesday, a Master’s swim on Friday, and five miles the day before), and I didn’t push myself to the limits, so I’m not disappointed. In fact, I got exactly what I expected out of the race; a little worse than my normal, but not horrible. And considering the knee injury, the hills, and my cramped calves, I probably performed better than previous races.
I tried using Clif Cran-Razz electrolyte drink in my water bottle instead of water, and I believe I’ll go back to the basics. Electrolyte tabs, Hammer Gel, and pure water for my personal stock of fuel. I’m still not comfortable sticking to
race-supplied water, even though that seems the norm. I like to fuel when I need it, and to take gel, that means having my own water. For this race, not being able to see the water stops ahead, and thus gu in time to finish before the stop, that was probably a good thing.