Wow I need to do some more hill running during training. Because today the hills killed me.
But other than that, this was fun race. It didn't start until noon, which was pretty awesome. But truthfully, it was not as awesome as I had thought it would be. There is something to be said for rolling out of bed at 4:30 or 5 AM for a 7 AM start time. You get up and get focused on the task at hand. Today, I had plenty of time to get side tracked with other stuff, and ended up leaving later than I wanted to. Thankfully, traffic was light and parking was easy so it all worked out.
The race was held in the El Moro Canyon back country of Crystal Cove State Park. There where 147 people who finished. I came in 55th overall with a time of 33:35. My racing pace for a 5K has been sub 24 minutes lately. That said, this race had over 670 feet of climbing with a 10-14% grade. And even though you have to run down what you climbed up, running down a 14% grade isn't as speedy as I had hoped. By the way, the guy who won ran the race did in just over 20 minutes. That's pretty amazing, I think. That guy probably just kills it on the road.
I haven't done much running in El Moro before but I've done plenty of hiking. Actually, this is where I came to walk when I first started losing weight but before I was ready to run. So I knew the course. It was basically up and down, and then up and down again. The second "up" between mile 2 and mile 2.4 is especially brutal as you are climbing pretty much straight up the canyon wall. Funny enough, this is where passed the most people. And we where ALL walking. So it's good to know I am quite the strong walker, never mind it's a running race.
The course itself is great. It's mostly fire and/or old ranch roads, but it can get pretty rough. Footing was dicey at times and there was plenty of skidding on loose gravel here and there. I like that kind of stuff - you need to kick up another dimension into your concentration. I also never get sick of the California coastal hills, especially in the spring, and also after a fairly wet winter. The park was in full bloom and the scenery was fantastic. I've also seen plenty of wildlife in here over the years. Nothing today, but I suppose that makes sense with 100's of people huffing and puffing away on the trails.
Still, I wish I finished 2 minutes faster. That would have put me in the top third, which is where I am shooting for with all my races this year. And since I don't see much room to improve going down (I was running the less technical sections of the downhill at about a 6:45 pace), the extra speed next time is going to have to while I climb.
They also gave everyone a finishers medal, which is always a bonus for Ian. I gave it to him when I got home and I'm not sure where it's gone to at this point.
All things considered, it was a nice run, but Sunday is typically a longer training day. So I ended up running some later in the day.
That's it for now, see ya soon.