Saturday, December 11, 2010

Summit Park Half Marathon and two months of racing

Hardest course I've ever done. 2 hours and 33 minutes, a PW by over 4o minutes (50?) running a 2:33, but it really was a great day to be in the Santa Cruz Mountains, running the Summit Rock Half Marathon.
First the good: these local mountains show very well on misty days. Under the redwood canopy, the greens are rich and vibrant. The trails themselves twist up alongside deep ravines and if you're brave enough to take your eyes off the trail you have a long look down into an area you don't want to end up.
The bad? Well, I was not in great condition after picking up my first sinus infection of the year. Running in the wet with enflamed sinuses makes me feel prett water-logged, and running downhill tends to jostle the painful area, so I was running more gingerly downhill, and with less energy uphill.
But adjusting for that, it was a great day: I met up with Murphy in Saratoga and we drove up to Sanborn park for the 9AM start. The race itself was very well organized and had a professional feel to it. Timing chips, a start/finish banner, really nice shirts, and lovely medals too.

The trail was mile-marked as well, a first for me on a trail run, and they also had 3 aid stations on the out and back route, which meant five opportunities to refuel.
A lot of runners competed, several hundred, which seemed like a good number for a trail run. The gun went off at nine, and we set off at an easy pace.
Long story short, I had intended to run easily given the course, but the whole field was walking the hills within a mile. For the first four miles I would guess we walked at least half the time, and getting to the top at Skyline took easilly 50 minutes (four miles). At three and a half miles, the course started to roll, and occasionally I could settle into a rhythm. Still and all though it was a super slow day, with even the downhill miles taking 9+ minutes.
After two and a half hours on the trail, Murph and I were pretty cooked and we grabbed some snacks (including and it's it!) and headed out. Was a very memorable day and a good race to finish out the year on.