Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reservoir Dogs 35k

Last race for the summer!  Some time during the long slog that was Rodeo Valley, I decided to take a couple month break from races.  But this would be a good one, on fairly remote trails I’ve wanted to run for a while.  

Photo by ITR volunteer
Starting at the San Pablo boat launch, the course follows single track south and the east, making a counter-clockwise loop of Briones Reservoir.  I ran the first few miles at a good pace, but started hiking the uphills at the first big climb, since I had a tight tendon in one foot that was irritating me.  That turned out to be a good call for later in the race, as I was really able to pick up the pace the last five or so miles.

The south side of the reservoir is mostly wooded single track, with very few people out who were not in the race.  Heading north, it follows a fire road on the eastern shore before heading uphill onto a ridge, where everything got very hot.  Reaching the ridge, I stopped for a stretch break before taking an easy pace until the long downhill started.  This part of the course feels like a more secluded version of Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, running along a ridge that lets you see half the east bay.  I’ll have to come back and run the loop part of this course in the winter/spring to see it in the rainy season.  

Once making it to the downhill, I really picked up the pace and passed quite a few people during the last five miles, forcing myself to relax and run through the irritated foot muscle.  Ironically, this helped loosen it up, and by the end of the race, it wasn’t bothering me.  I sprinted most of the last half mile, finishing tired and beat, which is the best way to finish.  It’s freeing knowing that I don’t need to race, or even plan to run a long run, for a while, since it gave me no reason to hold anything back the last part of the course.

Photo by ITR volunteer

I finished in 4:13:22, 53 out of 79.  Slower relative to the overall group of runners than usual, but a half hour faster than my prior 35k.  Another highlight, I had none of the calf stiffness that’s annoyed me for the last few months; regular massage, heat therapy, and strength training seems to be working.

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