It seems like I just ran a race here. It seems like I just wrote that too. For the third time in three months, I ran at Lake Chabot, for Brazen’s New Year’s Day Half Marathon. It’s the same as the New Year’s Eve course, but in reverse, which is a great idea. I occasionally reverse my usual running routes close to home; these routes become very different stories in reverse.
I’m not sure I slept better hn last Saturday, with the neighbor’s reveling well into the morning, but I was better rested. I arrived earlier, and discovered why there was an oddly linear line of people waiting together last Saturday—with the very cold morning, everyone stands in a line of sunlight that comes in through the trees and hills. After standing there and taking in solar radiation for warmth for a while, I ran a quick warm-up, and it was time to start.
I ran fast along the West Shore trail, averaging my fastest race pace, despite the small hills. Then I came to the first significant hill, and my calves protested again. So I speed-hiked up it. This would prove to be the theme for the day—speed hiking most uphills and running flats and downhills very fast, often faster than my current speed intervals. After a decent climb and a visit to the aid station at the top of the ridge, we ran downhill, crossed the stone bridge, and into the long section of hills and switchbacks. It got warm in here, and I was having a blast with the much better speed his time around.
After a lot of small hills that gradually climbed up the back of Mt. Doom, and a visit to the third aid station, it was time of the rather steep downhill, formerly known as the rather steep uphill. I’ve run down this on training runs before, but this was the first time during a race, and I was much more aware of being limited by the incline. Views here when running downhill are great. I wanted to hit my time goal this time, so I didn’t stop to shoot photos, but maybe that’ll come later.
Hitting the bottom of the hill, I crossed the oddly bouncy bridge, on my own this time. Then the course went around the last loop/hill, and back along the East Shore Trail. I pushed the pace hard here, and came in sx seconds over my time goal at 2:28:06. I’m amused that this is the second race in a month where I’m within seconds of my target time. 175/362. I set my target time lower than Saturday. Again, I stuck around for a while, thoroughly enjoying post race snacks, while welcoming other finishers. Brazen has a nice series of connecting medals if you run both races.
This was a really fun, but decently challenging pair of races. And a much more upbeat way to bring in the new year than the usual watch-the-clock-and-drink-sparkling-wine thing. This also capped off a personal challenge (that came from a website I read) to run 50 miles during the holidays, which I’m feeling surprisingly good after. I’m still learning to recognize when/how to pace & schedule training runs in different ways, but this week beat a few things home in which I responded to my body telling me one thing, when I should have academically known better.
Finally, an unintended GPS experiment on tho course, having used my iPhone on Saturday and my new Garmin for this race: the iPhone significantly overestimated the distance, by a couple miles. Most of this seems to be due to drop-outs of the signal. It also think I have the ability to teleport. The Garmin underestimated distance by about a half mile, but it was more of a steady drift that accumulated over distance instead of large teleportations. The Garmin path is far cleaner too, which I expected. I'm very happy with it so far.