Sunday, March 17, 2013

A 3 Minute PR

It has been a couple of years since I've been able to say that I set a PR at any distance, but I expected to set one today at the Emerald Nuts Across the Bay 12k. I hadn't run this race in 6 years, so, even running it at goal marathon pace, as I had planned, would get me a new PR.

What I didn't anticipate was how good I would feel out on the course. I ran 88 miles this week, my highest mileage yet, with 13 miles on Friday and 10 yesterday. Obviously, I did not get any sort of taper for this one and that was the plan. Prior to introducing the idea of running this race, I had a 4 x 2 mile workout at goal marathon pace within a 20 miler on my schedule. I asked Coach Hadley if I could run the 12k at GMP instead, tacking on the extra miles to get to 20. I told him I was really good about running workouts within races at the right pace. He said he thought it would be fine.

The pressure to race hard was relieved when I got to the start and saw several of the top female masters runners at the starting line. I knew that my GMP race was not going to match their speed, so I just relaxed and promised myself I would try to enjoy the scenery. This race course is gorgeous. It is a point-to-point course that starts across the Golden Gate from the city of San Francisco, climbs up and across the bridge, winds along the waterfront and finishes at the Aquatic Park near Fisherman's Wharf. The day was spectacular too, with very little wind and bright sunshine.
The elevation profile.

I whizzed along, trying not to brake on the downhill start with a first mile in 6:09. We then started the long slog up and over the bridge for miles 2-3 (~250 feet of climbing). The only mile marker I saw was at mile 6, so my splits are approximate and generated by the computer. I was really happy with how I felt going up the hills given that I haven't done hill work in ages. Mile 2 was 6:52 pace (200 foot climb) and 3 was 6:10. Mile 4 was a screaming downhill and I really made up some time, apparently running 5:24 pace! I worked hard again on not braking the downhills. That is a bad habit I have. I just tried to let my legs roll along underneath me. Hopefully that will pay off for my quad muscles tomorrow too.

Miles 5, 6 and 7 were flat, and I got into a nice steady rhythm running with one of my teammates (5:56, 6:03, 6:03). We picked off several other runners as we motored along. While the hill at the beginning of the race was the longest, the worst one is the final hill. You gain about 100 feet before dropping down to the finish on a crazy steep downhill. This is the part of my race I was most proud of. I show myself running a 5:49 pace for that last up and down bit. I let my legs fly on the last downhill and was completely out of control. Had a small insect crossed my path at any point in that descent, I would have been eating concrete for sure.

My prize! A bag full of nuts!
Surprisingly, I ended up taking the masters prize with this effort. It was an awesome prize! I got a duffle bag full of nuts and nut products! I also got a huge boost in confidence in my fitness level right now. I know I was supposed to run the race at a slower pace, but I will honestly say that the only times I felt like I was working really hard were on the hills. The rest of the time, the pace felt very in control.

I tacked on another 10.5 miles to call it 20 for the day and wrap up a great week of training. One of the best parts about racing in SF is getting to see many of my Impala teammates. We had a really strong showing today. Definitely a great day to be wearing Impala blue!

I'm interested to see how I feel tomorrow after all of that downhill pounding today. I have two more 90 mile weeks to go before my next race, a 10 miler here in Sacramento, and 6 weeks to the marathon. My confidence is much higher for both races after how well today went.

Weekly Recap
88 miles run
8 runs
12k race and new PR
20 mile long run




  1. Great to hear you are back on song! keep it up!!

  2. Congrats on the PR and the goodies!!!

  3. Love reading about PBs - even obscure distance runs. Wish we had some 5 mile races! Nice training session and 'race' - noticed the lady who came 2nd in your a/g is from Australia!

  4. Congrats! I love reading your posts. Keep kicking a$$!