Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bay to Breakers Race Report

Top 3 Bay Area (Prize $$)
A Goal:  sub-6:00 pace
B Goal:  sub-5:50 pace

2.5M warmup
12K Race in 43:49 for 10th place overall with splits of 540, 555, 635, 603, 542, 530, 530, 2:29
1M cool down 

Can I really say that my "spring season" kicked off with my first race in seven months at Bay to Breakers?  I sure can!  But, let's be real.  I obviously didn't really have a spring season.  Due to many factors, such as getting a minor achilles flare up in mid-January or a two-week trip to Europe or hitting my knee cap on my car console, I didn't up end starting the races I had planned to compete in earlier this spring.  I've also been traveling quite a bit with work, which doesn't typically put a damper on my training, but there's something about the Plano, Texas scenery that really drains every ounce of motivation out of me.  So, yeah, a lot happened, but I still got in some pretty decent workouts despite some hurdles along the way.

I came into this race fresh off of a work trip, and also with a fresh pain in my knee.  I really wanted to run B2B this year, and I wasn't going to let a silly smack to my knee prevent me from starting -- and finishing -- this race.  So, I took a day off on Friday and hoped that some time off the legs would make it possible for me to race.  

I really wanted to run Bay to Breakers, no matter what, for numerous reasons.  First, I haven't raced in forever. I had a couple of key workouts leading into this race that indicated I was pretty fit.  Maybe not fast, but definitely strong.  Also, I wanted to represent the Strava Track Club / rabbit team.  I haven't worn the gear yet and Coach Dena has done so much for me, even though I don't even go to the Tuesday evening track practices.  I really wanted to race as my way of giving back and saying thank you for all that both groups have done to support my passion.  Finally, this is BAY TO BREAKERS.  San Francisco's oldest race.  With the MOST personality.  I mean, people run naked.   And you get to run across the entire city and end at the ocean.  In the end, my knee held up just fine and I raced hard.  

Everything leading up to the race was made seamless with the help of friends - Ozzie and Silvia who kindly gave up their apartment so Peter and I could stay there the night before, and also Athena, who let me shower at her place afterwards.  Race morning, Peter and I woke up, jogged three blocks from the apartment to the start line, where I met Heather and Tania to get a warmup in.  We jogged to the elite tent to drop our warmups, grabbed Amy, and did a mile out and back.  After some strides, a couple of bathroom breaks, we were finally at the start line.  Tania, Heather and I got interviewed by a news station before toeing the line.  

After the gun went off (was there actually a gun?  I don't know), after about 400 meters, I realized zero women were near me.  Crap.  I asked a dude who was part of a centipede what their goal pace was.  "5:20" he responded.  Crap Crap.  I immediately backed off and suddenly all the other women who should be running faster than me zipped by.  A handful of Africans, Jen Rhines, and a couple others.  I let them go. I needed to save my energy so I could haul past people on the downhill in golden gate park.  

At some point, Heather caught me and said, I'm here.  We ran together through the hardest part - the infamous Hayes Street Hill.  After cresting the top of the long hill, I urged my legs to move faster, but they refused.  The lactic acid build up was intense, so I realized that it would be best to be patient and wait for them to settle down and then start moving.  Around this time, I said let's go girl to Heather and continued on the ascent up to the top of Golden Gate Park.  
Running alongside heather on hayes hill
During this climb, a couple of guys were instrumental in helping me pick up the pace, and I latched onto them until the pace slowed.  That happened around the downhill portion through the park, so I moved on to find the next one to latch onto.  I noticed that an older gentleman was running the tangents like a champ, so I picked it up a bit to run alongside him and commented on his abilities.  We ended up finishing within seconds of one another.
trying to push the pace on the downhill
With about 2 miles to go, I noticed that I was gaining on Amy, but also Jen Rhines.  Jen had raced Bloomsday just 7 days before, so that explains why I was so close to her.  I knew that it was possible to catch Amy, but highly unlikely to catch Jen.  I set my sights on Amy's back, and with 1000 meters to go, had reeled her in.  I said some encouraging words to her, and continued on my way down to the finish.  I was pretty damn happy to finish because I was beginning to HURT and I was also happy with the result.   

Ultimately, this race brought several new experiences to me and now holds a very special place in my heart.  I completed my first Bay to Breakers, which is  a race that I've dreamed of running since I was in high school.  And, for the first time ever, Peter and I toed the same start line of a race and crossed the same finish line.