Yesterday I ran the Canyon Meadow 50k at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. As you all know, I don’t do the typical race reports, since I don’t want to spend the time rehashing every mile. However, here’s a summary of what I can remember.
The day started off well. It was overcast, but not too cold. The last time I ran this course was March 17. During that race, it had threatened to rain the entire day, and while it never ended up raining, the whole course (save for the paved roads) was covered in mud up to a foot deep. Not fun nor easy to run in. This time however, the weather was dry and the course was 99% mud free. This mad a HUGE difference in the runnability (I love making up words) of the course.
Since I was familiar with the course, I knew how hard to push myself. There were a few long climbs, but mostly it was rolling hills which meant that I was able to run almost the entire time. Like many Coastal Trail Runs, this course was 2 large loops (13.1 miles each) and one smaller loop (5 miles). After running the first loop at about 2:36, I knew I was going to beat my previous time on this course which was 7:25. I also was fairly certain that I would get a new 50k PR. This made me very excited; I have been training harder lately and have been working on my climbing and my speed. Given that this was one of the easier courses I’ve done, I knew it’d be ok to push myself. The weather was sunny, I was hydrating and eating well, and overall feeling great.
So push myself I did. It wasn’t an all-out race effort, since I wanted to limit my recovery time, but I did feel comfortable running fast. In fact, I found myself flying down the descents. I was really enjoying these downhills, not a care in the world. Until…….SMACK! Bit the dust. My first thought after falling was Oh gosh, I hope I’m not hurt because I sure as heck want this PR. Thankfully, I fall like a ninja and managed to roll in just the right way that I did not get cut nor did I bruise any important body part. This occurred a little more than halfway through the course (at around mile 18) so I continued on, covered in dirt. The one annoyance I had with this fall was that I got so dirty. The dirt mixed with my sweat and before I knew it I had mud aaaall over myself. Not cute.
Towards the end of the second big loop, I was passed by a couple. They looked so fresh and great! I hate being passed, especially since I pace myself so well, but I had to hand it to them for looking so strong towards the end of the race.
After completing the second big loop, I set off for the last five miles. All 3 loops started by climbing a big hill. As I hiked up the hill, I saw the same couple up ahead. They kept looking back at me, and I’m guessing they had a little competitive spirit in them. I closed the distance, but was a little hesitant to pass them. There’s nothing more annoying than leap-frogging with someone towards the end of the race. I don’t like the unnecessary competition, but I found it hard to ignore. Finally, I decided to pass them and told myself that the only thing I cared about was my PR and not about how many people I passed/passed me along the way.
4.5 miles into the loop and I’d passed the couple, 2 more women, and a guy. I figured it was smooth sailing from here on out. I felt great, my legs felt fresh, and I was running at an 8:30 mile pace. With confidence, I sped up a little and enjoyed the breeze blowing through my hair and…..BAM!!!! I fell again. This time a little more spectacularly. I had to look around to make sure I still had my sunglasses on my head. And I had an audience. The way this family rushed towards me made me realize that the fall looked bad. I assessed myself: strained neck, probably pulled butt muscle, but no cuts or sharp pains. Still good to go. “Are you ok? Do you need any help?” they asked. “Nah,” I said, “I’m fine. Not the first time I’ve done this today. I’m almost done anyways!” and I ran off, not wanting to be passed right before the finish.
Needless to say, it was an eventful day in many ways. I finished with a PR of 6:13. It was also the first time I finished a 50k within the first half of the group! So now I can consider myself a front-of-the-middle-of-the-packer.
Since I’m not so great at incorporating pictures into the story, here are a few to end this post.
Scratched Garmin (distance/time is off because I started it late):
Any readers PR this weekend?